O U R H I S T O R Y
The Willamette Valley was just establishing itself as a significant wine region when Portland Winemakers Club held its first meeting. The year was 1968.
That fall, a group of winemaking enthusiasts gathered to pursue a common vision of making wine from Oregon grapes. They called themselves “1541 Westside Wine Club” in reference to the federal form winemakers are required to submit. Charter members included Dick Erath of Erath Winery and Marj and Ron Vuylsteke of Oak Knoll Winery.
With no model to follow, these young winemakers had to rely on their wits and shared experiences to advance their skills. They used Stanley F. Anderson’s book, “The Art of Making Wine” for more technical information.
It wasn’t long before their efforts paid off. By 1978 one out of every three bottles of Oregon wine sold was from Oak Knoll Winery and Erath Winery was on its way to becoming an industry standard.
Though the name’s changed, Portland Winemakers Club still holds the distinction of being Oregon’s oldest winemaking organization. Since its inception, PWC has had hundreds of members, produced thousands of bottles of wine, received numerous awards and seen several individuals take their winemaking to the commercial level.
The club’s philosophy of welcoming and supporting winemakers of all levels remains as true today as it did in 1968.