We have been family owned and operated since 1984; producing prime wine grapes with respect to the earth. We are an example of handcrafted. Our artisan approach to wine making ensures that every year the wine is unique. We do not make the same wine every year, we make the best out of what every vintage has to offer. To us, wine is an art and you can taste the difference in High Pass wines. We believe that handcrafted, sustainable, unique and boutique should be affordable to all those who enjoy fine wine! We believe that wine is more than a drink! We love creating memories for families and friends, and bringing the community together through our events.
Our story dates back to the 1970's, 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, initially on a 20-acre parcel of land. He saw the potential of this area, at a time when no one else did. Most people at that time thought that 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 winemaking 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.
Dieter and Fridah married in 2013. Fridah brought with her a new energy to High Pass. She now manages the tasting room and has added a distinctive culture to the wine industry with her now famous “African Night in The Vineyard”. This event sells out almost a year in advance.
And most recent.....
After years of growing Pinot Noir, Dieter believes in the centuries-old theory of terroir, which refers to how a region’s soil, microclimate, and exposure affect the wine that it nurtures. Pinot Noir, like no other grape variety, expresses the unique combination of characteristics inherent in where it is grown.
Yes, we are in the Willamette Valley, but Dieter believes this area deserves its own recognition. For this reason, he petitioned for a sub-AVA, initially under the name Prairie Mountain (as proposed by the Prairie Mountain Wineries marketing group); however, this name was rejected by the TTB. A few months later, Dieter resubmitted the proposal as Lower Long Tom sub-AVA. This petition was accepted by the TTB on January 5, 2018. If approved, this becomes the eighth sub-AVA in the Willamette Valley.