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Looking Back

In the 1920’s, agriculture was booming in the lush Willamette Valley. Plum, pear, apple, walnut and hazelnut orchards quilted the hillsides, and dozens of independent fruit and nut drying facilities produced a lot of fruit to be dried. As transportation of fresh fruits and vegetables became possible, agriculture became agribusiness. By the late 1960’s, many of the independent driers in the area had closed. One on Rex Hill in Newberg, Oregon became home to a pig farm and a commune before it was finally left empty in the late 1970’s. Paul Hart and his wife Jan Jacobsen discovered it in 1982 and fell in love with that poor building and beautiful surroundings, perfect for a new kind of Willamette Valley farm: the vineyard. They cleared out the barn and planted Pinot Noir. Over time, they added a little here and a little there and the winery grew along with the vines. In 2007, when Paul and Jan were ready to retire, they didn’t sell to a big wine conglomerate but chose founders of A to Z Wineworks– another family-owned Oregon winery and Bill Hatcher, Deb Hatcher, Cheryl Francis, and Sam Tannahill took over as stewards of one of Oregon’s early wineries.

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