Our story dates back to the 1970s, when Dieter, our founder, made it to Eugene from the then communist East Germany, despite the Berlin wall. In his early years in the US, he was a tree planter; he let go of his computer analyst skills to play in the dirt. Driven by his passion for nature, and inspired by the landscape of the Elbe River Vineyards, and the romance of the wine villages which he experienced while he attended university in Dresden, Germany, Dieter planted his first vines at High Pass Vineyard in 1984. At that time, it was initially a 20-acre parcel of land and he saw the potential of this area, at a time when no one else did. Most people thought he was a crazy immigrant with a crazy idea!
A few years later, he started producing some of the premium wine grapes that gained Oregon international acclaim. Local wineries were willing buyers of his early crops, but he always made sure that there were enough grapes left for him to learn about wine-making himself. High Pass Winery’s first commercial crush occurred in 1994. Dieter has established more vineyards in the area and sold them, or at least helped the new-comers to establish their vineyards. Since then, we have continued producing exceptionally high-quality wines that have earned wide acclaim.