The Pfeiffer Winery Story Starts with One Question:

How Much Do You Want for Your Land?

The Pfeiffer Chicken Ranch

Pfeiffer Vineyards used to be the Pfeiffer chicken ranch and sheep farm.

Back in 1947 this serene parcel of land located at the end of a lush, narrow valley in the foothills of the Coast Range beckoned the Pfeiffer’s with the promise of a wholesome country life for their family.

But working sheep and thousands of chickens for decades was backbreaking. Life made even more difficult when their small farmhouse burned down and the family of six to was forced to “temporarily” live in the Quonset hut. (Picture a tin can cut in half lengthwise with no insulation, a wood stove for heat, and an outhouse for a bathroom.)

That short-term arrangement lasted 25 years.

When a proposal came from a French company to purchase the Pfeiffer land in the late ‘70’s, second son, Robin Pfeiffer, was intrigued.  What did the French want with a 70-acre south-facing sheep meadow? It wasn’t for cheese.

Textbook Microclimate

With a little research, Robin discovered the French wanted to grow Pinot Noir grapes. The Pfeiffer land offered a fertile Bellpine soil, an ideal elevation of 500 to 750, a textbook micro-climate of warm days and cool nights, and a relatively frost-free zone with a small creek running below tugging frosty air off the hillside and downstream.

From Sheep to Grapes

Robin had returned to Oregon from South America where he had lived for several years. He was now a Spanish teacher in Eugene, Oregon. By 1983, after convincing his father that grape-growing was a better exercise than sheep shearing, Robin eventually planted pinot noir, pinot gris, chardonnay, muscat and merlot on the meadow, establishing one of the first premium vineyards in the South Willamette Valley.

Ten years later, through a newspaper ad, Robin met Danuta, a broadcast journalist and author. Love quickly flourished and within 12 days they decided to marry. More than 26 years later, Robin and Danuta had built a home, created the winery, established a cozy Tuscan-style tasting room, a lush 4-tiered Water Garden, and a hospitality Fireplace Pavilion.

With a vision for environmental balance, they established one of the first solar-powered vineyard estates including an energy efficient home. While Robin managed the vineyard, Danuta published an award-winning book and audiobook, Chiseled, A Memoir of Identity, Duplicity and Divine Wine, in which she describes their early years.

Today, Pfeiffer Winery’s reputation is renowned for their exclusive, small-lot, estate-grown and produced on-site Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris sold only through their winery. Now, Robin and Danuta host their wines on exotic shores around the world, serving as ambassadors for the heralded New World wines of Oregon.

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