Producer Profile
The Eyrie Vineyards
Oregon, USA

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The Eyrie Vineyards

Oregon, USA

A living testament to the birth of Oregon’s wine industry.

Up until 60 years ago, Oregon was not known for its wine. It was not until David Lett planted the first vine in 1965 that things began to change. The Eyrie Vineyards has been leading the way ever since, establishing a region and leaving a lasting impact on American wine history. This family-owned estate is renowned for its dedication to sustainable viticulture and its exceptional Pinot Noir wines.

Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA

Total area under vine: 24 hectares

Viticultural standards: Organic certified


Interesting fact: The Eyrie Vineyards played a pioneering role in establishing Oregon as a serious wine-producing region. In 1979, Eyrie’s South Block Pinot Noir was the first American wine to compete with renowned French Burgundies in the Gault-Millau French Wine Olympiades, earning accolades and putting Oregon on the global wine map. This historic moment helped shape the state’s reputation for producing world-class Pinot Noir.

The Eyrie Vineyards’ Wines

The Eyrie Vineyards

David Lett, a 24-year-old graduate in viticulture and philosophy, founded The Eyrie Vineyards. After extensive research in European wine regions, he concluded that Willamette Valley had the optimal climate for growing Pinot Noir.

Armed with only 3000 grape cuttings, he left California with the firm conviction that Oregon’s Willamette Valley was the perfect location for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, second only to Burgundy.

In 1965, David established the foundation of modern wine growing in the Willamette Valley when he planted his first vines in Dundee Hills. His pioneering spirit and belief in the region’s potential laid the groundwork for Oregon’s wine industry. Today, Jason Lett, David’s son, is the winemaker of the estate, continuing his father’s legacy at The Eyrie Vineyard.

The Eyrie Vineyard

Eyrie’s dedication to sustainable viticulture is evident in their vineyard practices. They prioritise organic principles in their 5 vineyards, ensuring the health of their vines and the surrounding ecosystem. The vineyards are meticulously tended to by a passionate team, with a focus on minimal intervention. Eyrie’s careful vineyard management results in grapes that express the unique terroir of the Willamette Valley.

The Eyrie Vineyard vintage Willmes Basket press
The Eyrie Vineyards employ traditional techniques to bring out the finest expression of their grape varieties.

For instance, they use native yeast fermentations for red wines, skin contact for white wines, and natural malolactic fermentation. Their 60-year-old Willmes basket press is still in use today, and a fraction of their wines undergo gentle and prolonged contact with the grapes through this press.

The winemaking team adopts a hands-off approach, allowing for minimal racking, spontaneous malolactic fermentation, extended lees contact, no fining, and minimal filtration. This gentle treatment results in wines that are easy to enjoy when young while also optimising their potential for cellar ageing.

The cellar only uses a small amount of new oak. Today. The winery is still making wine in 12 of the first barrels they purchased almost 50 years ago. Most of the barrels in the cellar date back to the 70s through the 90s, making them some of the oldest barrels in use in the New World.

Jason Lett

The Eyrie Vineyards is renowned for its Pinot Noir, which showcases vibrant red fruit flavours, elegant structure, and signature minerality that reflects the region’s volcanic soils, Jory, now Oregon’s state soil. These wines are known for their balance, finesse, and the ability to age gracefully.

The Eyrie Vineyards stands as a true Oregonian wine pioneer, with a history profoundly rooted in the state’s wine history. Their wines are a must-try for wine enthusiasts seeking the essence of Willamette Valley terroir.