Silvan Ridge Today
Eugene’s first winery opened as “Hinman Vineyards” in the 70s, becoming one of approximately 35 operational wineries statewide. Its stellar wines propelled the novice winery to the forefront of Oregon’s burgeoning wine industry, securing its place among Oregon’s top producers by the 80s.
Today, the winery has been renamed “Silvan Ridge” and is owned by Elizabeth Chambers. Led by their exquisite Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, a delightfully effervescent early Muscat, and other micro-production varietal wines from the Rogue Valley region, Silvan Ridge presents a portfolio of elegant, distinctive and stylish wines.
Crowned by an iconic clock tower and overlooking its own grassy amphitheater, Silvan Ridge Winery is a prime gathering place for social entertainment, families and fitness-minded enthusiasts who run or ride the scenic back country roads. Relax on the pet-friendly patio or cozy up around the indoor fireplace. Each year Silvan Ridge Winery hosts summer concerts, special events and the Annual Twilight 5K; as well as partners with neighboring wineries for the Grapes of Half marathon.
Back when the South Willamette Valley was awash in grass and hops, but very few vines, Doyle Hinman, a Eugene weatherman and high school teacher believed Oregon was perfect for wine grapes. Banking on his theory, he planted five acres (2 ha) of grapes just outside Eugene. With no background in agriculture, he then commuted to the University of California Davis for viticulture courses so his venture could be optimized. Several years later he had both a Masters of Science degree from the University of Oregon and a thriving vineyard. He formally established Hinman Vineyards in 1979 and it soon became a top selling winery.
In 1993, Hinman Vineyards was purchased by Carolyn Chambers, a prominent Eugene businesswoman. Carolyn had established Chambers Communications Corporation, Oregon’s first ABC television affiliate in 1959. Known as a pioneer in television, she was a multi-industry visionary and managed a diverse portfolio from construction to real estate. The Chambers family was also recognized for their sizable contributions to the community from health care to the performing arts. Upon acquisition, the winery was rebranded to reflect Carolyn’s maiden name “Silva,” a Latin word that translates as “forest” – aptly suited to describe the fringe of woodland embracing the estate.
Carolyn’s eldest daughter, Elizabeth “Liz” Chambers, harking from a background in finance, managed the winery’s daily operations starting in 1995. Liz narrowed the winery’s focus to higher quality releases, further strengthening its solid reputation. Upon her mother’s passing in 2012, Liz became the winery’s sole owner. Liz has also delved into her own label “Elizabeth Chambers Cellar” with a boutique winery in McMinnville. Since 2013, Liz’s oldest daughter Julia has joined in the operations, marking three generations of female management, a rare lineage in the wine industry.