Jim Bernau - Willamette Valley Vineyards

College of Agricultural Sciences Hall of Fame

Jim Bernau, Oregon wine pioneer, entrepreneur, and industry champion, founded Willamette Valley Vineyards in the 1980s, one of a handful of visionaries who saw potential in Oregon’s nascent wine industry. Today, Willamette Valley Vineyards is recognized as one of the top 100 wineries in the world, and the wine industry Jim helped establish is worth billions of dollars.

Jim has championed legislation to support research and development through industry-funded programs of viticulture and enology research. And he gave the College an initial gift of funds and equipment that helped us build our own world-class fermentation sciences program here at OSU.

Even today, Jim’s approach is to grow by hand the highest quality fruit, using environmentally sustainable techniques that he helped promote across the state, and to achieve wines that express the character of the place where they are grown.

Thank you, Jim, for making all of us proud of where we grow, and to be a part of Oregon’s agricultural legacy.