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In my first post I talked about the Pinot Noir seminar I attended at Charleston Wine and Food Festival last spring.

Alison Sokol Blosser presented wines from Sokol Blosser Winery. Her parents, Susan Sokol and Bill Blosser, were among the true pioneers of the wine business in Oregon.

Susan authored a book called At Home in the Vineyard that chronicles their journey to becoming a successful winery, against all odds. As Susan puts it, “Bill and I were such unlikely candidates for success: two liberal arts graduates with no experience, planting a grape variety with a poor track record in a state with no wine industry.”

I look forward to visiting their vineyard on October 14 during my much anticipated trip to Oregon and have already learned some interesting facts about their growing region.

The first post-Prohibition vinifera vines (this means wine grapes as opposed to other types such as table grapes) in Oregon were planted in 1961. Susan and Bill purchased 18 acres and planted their first vines in 1970. At that time, there were 5 bonded wineries and 35 acres of planted vinifera vineyards. By 2005 the growth had boomed to 350 wineries and 14,000 acres of vineyard.

Susan credits determination for their success and made it known giving up was never an option. They battled weather, insects, and local politics (the idea of growing grapes and producing wine was not popular at first!). All of this while raising 3 children on their way to becoming one of Oregon’s most successful wineries.

History and personal inspiration make this a worthwhile read and if you’d like to judge for yourself, At Home in the Vineyard is available on the Sokol Blosser website and at Amazon.