The Pfeiffer Winery story starts with one question: How Much Do You Want for Your Land?
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 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.
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 feet, 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.
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 20 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 award-winning book and audio book, Chiseled, A Memoir of Identity, Duplicity and Divine Wine, in which she describes their early years. Danuta has continued to write and has published two fiction novels, Libertas and Firmitas, the first two books in her Pocket Full of Seeds trilogy. Stay tuned for book #3!
In 2022, Robin and Danuta made a difficult decision to sell the winery and vineyard in Junction City to King Estate and refocus their energies to traveling and spending more time with friends and family! They host their wines on exotic shores around the world, serving as ambassadors for the heralded New World wines of Oregon.
Throughout their four decades of operation, the Pfeiffer's gained a reputation as community leaders and activists. Their 2006 pinot noir was served at a pre-inaugural dinner for President Barack Obama, and in 2023, Robin and Danuta were recognized by the Oregon Wine Board by receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award for their success, leadership, and longevity.
Their legacy lives on in each bottle, a reminder of the love and devotion that built their dream - and you can still purchase those wines at their downtown Eugene Tasting Room at the 5th Street Market Alley while supplies last.