Oregon Wine History Archive Cleans Up Good With a Grant from the Trust

The archives world can be a dirty place – especially when you’re collecting something that comes from the earth.

The Oregon Wine History Archive (OWHA), founded in 2011 at Linfield College in McMinnville, deals with this every day. The OWHA’s goal is to document all aspects and preserve historical materials from all regions of the Oregon wine industry, whether they be from winery or vineyard owners, growers, researchers, marketers or sellers.

Although the OWHA is less than two years old, it already is home to some of the biggest names in Oregon pinot noir, including Adelsheim, Amity, Erath, Eyrie, Ponzi and Sokol Blosser, as well as the International Pinot Noir Celebration, which is held in McMinnville every summer. We have collected photographs, manuscripts, maps, charts, oral histories, wine labels, magazines, newspapers, personal correspondence and, of course, bottles of wine. 

However, many of the irreplaceable artifacts coming in from wineries and vineyards are dirty, dingy, dusty or disintegrating and it’s our job to make sure they survive intact for preservation and research.

The OWHA has been the beneficiary of a grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust that has greatly aided this process, enabling us to purchase supplies for cleaning, preserving and rehousing materials and fund student hours for the painstaking processes. A particularly dirty collection from a local vineyard came in recently which required hours of cleaning and preparation – with help from supplies purchased through our OCT grant – before we felt it was ready for the archives. As much as we love getting our hands dirty and digging into a fresh batch of materials, the end result of a completed collection is the ultimate reward.

The OCT grant also helped us as we created finding aids and digitized highlights of each collection. Our student technicians handle much of this process, including cleaning, sorting, choosing representative images, digitizing and completing finding aids. The final product, in both physical and digital form, helps play a part in our larger goal of a comprehensive documentation of the Oregon’s wine history and lays the foundation as we seek to expand into other parts of the state and every aspect of the winemaking process.

We’d like to thank the Oregon Cultural Trust for its support of the burgeoning Oregon Wine History Archive and encourage potential donors or researchers to contact us. We are excited to show off the progress we’ve made as we work toward a flourishing archive filled with dynamic collections.

--Rachael Cristine Woody and Rich Schmidt, Linfield College


Some fun and informative links for Oregon wine lovers. All these organizations have been involved in this project:








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