The McMinville Winery in the U.S. state Oregon
was founded in 1966 by David and Diana Lett. The name came from a falcon that Diana saw flying up to the top of a tall fir tree, where it had built its nest (Eyrie). A falcon also adorns the bottle label. Lett is considered one of the winegrowing pioneers of Oregon because he was one of the first to venture fully into European varieties and was the first to plant Pinot Noir and later also Pinot Gris in Oregon. The Utah doctor of philosophy wrote himself at the University of California
for a viticulture degree. He then spent a year in Northern Europe and studied the methods of growing Pinot Noir there. Still in California, he studied the climatic data of the last five decades of the Willamette Valley in Oregon and decided to plant there against the explicit advice of specialists from the University of Pinot Noir.
The first vintage produced in 1970 caused a sensation. At one of the Burgundian winemaker Robert Drouhin held blind tasting in Paris in 1979, his Pinot Noir in 1975 was only 0.3 points behind Drouhins Chambolle-Musigny
the second place. David Lett became internationally famous. This aroused Drouhin's curiosity for Oregon and later prompted him to start his own winery called Domaine Drouhin there. The vineyards in the Red Dundee Hills cover 20 hectares of vineyards. They are planted with the varieties Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. The house specialty is above all the Pinot Noirs, whereby according to Lett's philosophy the wines are vinified so that they have less alcohol and tannins with a lighter garnet color.