Notable Contributors


David Lett (1939-2008)
of Eyrie Vineyards

David and Diana Lett founded Eyrie Vineyards, which was named after the red tailed hawk, in 1970. He was reportedly the first to plant Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley. Lett graduated in dental pre-med from UC-Davis, then was hit with a “cosmic brick” (so his son Jason says) and returned to UC-Davis for an enology degree.

In 1965 he moved to Oregon with 3,000 starter vines. In 1966 while working as a textbook salesman, he and Diana planted a 13-acre vineyard in the Red Hills of Dundee. Diana said it wasn’t easy being a “pioneer” back then. The weather was miserable, with little company.

The hard work paid off when Eyrie’s 1975 South Block Reserve Pinot Noir out scored all but a handful of prestigious Burgundies in the 1979 Gault/Millau “Wine Olympics” in Paris. The same result was achieved in 1980 at the Drouhin tasting in Burgundy. Now Lett, Eyrie Vineyards, and the entire Oregon wine industry had achieved international acclaim. Since then Eyrie Vineyards wines have become well known for their long cellar life, their finesse, and food friendliness.

David Lett passed away October 9, 2008.

Eyrie Vineyards winery is located at 935 E 10the Ave, McMinnville, OR 97128.


Fun Facts

Oregon Pinot Pioneer David Lett is affectionately known as “Papa Pinot”.