Our History


Dan planting the first vines

Dan planting the first vines

It was summer in 1981; Dan and Helen Dusschee were looking for the site for a vineyard and for their lives together. The adventurous young couple climbed up the hill – with baby in sling – and discovered something looking to the southeast along a ridge of beautiful pie cherry trees.  It was a long way up from the bottom of a gravel road – a broad expanse of rich soil and warm sunshine. Immediately, they felt a sense of future and real living…so they bought it and gave a name that captured what they had felt on the first day: “Freedom Hill”.

Helen working in the fields

Helen working in the fields

Dan and Helen moved to the farm and planted 13 acres of Pinot Noir in the spring of 1982.  They enlisted friends and family to help with those self-rooted, baby plants and started their new life in a small, but very supportive, young wine community.  The first harvest came in 1985 and was 6.5 tons.  During that first harvest, Dan made Pinot Noir under the tutelage of Terry Casteel at Bethel Heights Vineyard and opportunities began to develop for Freedom Hill fruit. Most of the first harvest was sold to Amity Vineyards, where it found it’s way into Amity’s 1985 Nouveau.

In 1986 Dan and a very pregnant Helen stopped at a little old train station in McMinnville and met newcomer Ken Wright; presenting him with a bottle of the wine Dan and Terry had made….The rest is a blessing and history.  More possibilities began opening up for the Freedom Hill fruit with Ken as he established Panther Creek and many other burgeoning wineries of the 80’s.


Helen, McKenzie and the grandkids


The third generation loves grapes!

Today, Dan and Helen have three children and six grandchildren. Their family is deeply committed to the dream that Helen and Dan began.