MELROSE — In 1961, Richard Sommer, an agriculture student at the University of California, Davis, took a leap of faith. His professors told him Oregon would never be good wine country. Sommer ignored them. After scouring Southern Oregon for a suitable site, he chose a Melrose farm where he planted 13 acres in the era’s most popular wine grapes — Riesling and pinot noir. About a year from now, the state agency Oregon Travel Experience will erect a marker at the edge of the HillCrest Vineyard on Elgarose Road, acknowledging it as Oregon’s oldest estate winery and its founder as …
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