Lange Estate Winery is a pioneering maker of Oregon Pinot noir, producing its first vintage in 1987.
Don and Wendy Lange got the wine bug while living and working in Santa Barbara, where Don pursued his career as a successful musician. Don is quite the renaissance man, graduating from the University of Iowa's Writer Workshop with a Master of Fine Arts degree and pursuing a career as a songwriter/recording artist. He won a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and recorded three albums before falling in love with winemaking.
More About Lange Winery
Don and wife Wendy explored the entire west coast, looking for the right spot. In pursuing possible places, they first flew into Eugene, then drove south. "We got to know the state that way, but it didn't take us long to realize that Northern Oregon was Pinot Noir country," Wendy said. At last on the right track, they headed into the Dundee Hills, found 30 acres on its southeastern edge, and never looked back.
From the outset, Lange recognized the potential of Pinot Gris and the winery built a reputation early on for excellent examples of the varietal. Crafting small lots of Pinot Noir further enhanced that stature. In any given vintage they offer as many as 10 separate bottlings, both individual vineyard designates and selected blends.
The majority of grapes come from three sources--their own estate vineyards, Yamhill Vineyards in the adjacent Yamhill-Carlton AVA and Freedom Hill Vineyard near Dallas.
In recent years, Jesse Lange has joined his parents full time at the winery. They're all involved in day-to-day operations, with Don and Jesse sharing winemaking duties and Wendy and Jesse overseeing management responsibilities. At right, Jesse, Wendy, and Don Lange.
New-world pioneers in the production of Pinot Gris, Lange Estate was the first to release a barrel-fermented reserve--an effort Matt Kramer of the Wine Spectator calls "a bench-mark bottling." Don Lange's work as a winemaker has been termed "brilliant" by Hugh Johnson, and Wine Enthusiast proclaimed Lange Estate to be "one of the great Pinot Noir producers in the United States."
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