The Mathiot Family
The Champoeg hillside, named "La Butte" by early settlers, has been home to a vineyard for some time. In 1852 French immigrants by the name of Mathiot claimed 139 acres of land encompassing a portion of "La Butte" located in Butteville Oregon. Wanting desperately to once again produce his own wine as he had in France, Jean Mathiot and his sons began clearing the land for what was to become their American vineyard. "La Butte" was heavily covered in timber and underbrush and it took the family 4 years of back breaking work to finally have the space for grapes. In 1858 the first plants were purchased in California (for around $600) and planted on "La Butte" that same year. It seems that the grapes did well, and the next year it was decided that more were needed. On this trip to California the Mathiots purchased nearly $800 dollars worth of grape vines and set them out on "La Butte".
In 1870 Edward Mathiot (Son) was indicted for distilling without having paid special tax and given bond by the United States. [1 Sawy. 142; 11 Int. Rev. Rec. 158.] According to the Oregon District court, Edward and his father were producing grape and apple brandy as well as wine. Some 900 gallons of wine and 212 gallons of distilled spirits were seized along with the still by the government. Edward was sentenced to one year in the county jail and was required to pay a fine of $2,000 and costs.
An 1880 farm census referred to Butteville and the neighboring community as the wine capital of the Oregon Territory. The Mathiot family were amongst those who helped usher in Oregon's love and passion for all things wine.
Pierre Mathiot Autobiography
United States vs. Mathiot
Mathiot Vital Records
Champoeg Vineyard was planted in 1974 by Jack Myers and is one of the oldest wine-grape plantings in Oregon. During the process of clearing the land for the vineyard, Pinot Meunier grapes were discovered in the woods; possible remnants of the old Mathiot vineyard.
Jack began by planting Pommard and Wadensville Pinot Noir varietals. Riesling and Chardonnay followed shortly thereafter. In 1990 Pinot Gris was added to the hillside.
Ted Ottmar (current winemaker and vineyard manager) and Jack Myers, 2001.
Champoeg Vineyard Today