Friday, July 24, 2020

French Ambition Comes to Fruition on Oregon's 45th

The Beginning

Left Coast Estate is a family owned vineyard, winery and working farm located in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

37 miles from the Pacific Ocean, the flower filled Estate sits in the Van Duzer Corridor with gorgeous coastal range views. The location is an enticing combination of mineral rich soil, sunshine, rain and cool breezes.

Founded on 30 acres by the Larson Pfaff family in 2003, the farm has grown to 500 acres, with 142 planted. Initially a grape growing operation, Left Coast today supports a wide selection of award winning wines.

The family aims to create diversity in everything they do. The farm evolved from childhood life experiences: Suzanne Larson in Southern California and Robert Pfaff on a Wisconsin farm. Left Coast reflects their voracious love of learning, world travel and sparkling personalities.

Suzanne enjoyed a transformative college year abroad in Italy, describing the discovery of local Italian wine as a near “religious experience”. After marriage, Suzanne and Bob began their careers in France. They worked hard, learning from exposure to diverse people, wine and cuisine. A few years later, they returned to the States and settled in Colorado where they put down roots and started a family.

The vineyard dream incubated for years. Snowboarding and family ties lead them to Oregon. The name Left Coast is a homage to the geographic location, but also to a majority of the family who are left handed.

The property is a dream located in an agricultural district protected from commercial zoning. The farm’s water and soil had the potential to create great wine. Left Coast abides by the tenet that there cannot be good wine without good grapes - guided by the French idea of “cepage and terroir” or variety and soil. The climate informs the wines you make, so they play to their strengths. Suzanne notes they are on the 45th parallel, corresponding to France’s northern Rhône region.

The Left Coast team has thoughtfully restored native old growth oak forest and grassland. They have turned turnip and clover fields into vineyards with hazelnut trees and truffles dotting the hillsides. A working estate, the “farm to fork” concept is realized in the food paired with their wines.


Great wine is Left Coast’s finest expression. The team, geography and day to day work controls the process from vineyard to bottle. Iterative changes are a substantial advantage when the aim is to create desirable wines - the best of a vintage.

A sentimental French restaurant expressed in Bob’s herb garden is just one of many European vignettes scattered around the estate.


The Pfaffs aim to create a family legacy and appreciate being a part of the Willamette wine community. Attracting talented people has been essential to creating excellent wines.

A long term crew knows the vineyards so intimately that they take responsibility for guiding the contract labor required at harvest. Winemaker Joe Wright has grown and diversified the Estate. Taylor Pfaff, their son and CEO, leads the team. His sister Cali Pfaff, an accomplished landscape architect, recently joined Left Coast as the Creative Director. These moves have positioned the estate for the future.

Amuz strongly encourages you to visit magical Left Coast Estate [link] where the wine is delicious, the people are infectiously gracious and the vistas welcoming!

- Nancy Zellmer

Listen to a conversation with Suzanne and Bob.

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