With two decades involvement in the internationally renowned South African winery Hamilton Russell Vineyards, Olive Hamilton Russell together with her husband Anthony Hamilton Russell, wanted to explore winemaking possibilities in the Northern Hemisphere. After an initial exploration of Burgundy, their search for world class, cool-climate Pinot noir and Chardonnay led to the Santa Rita Hills and eventually to Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Regular visits to the area when showcasing Hamilton Russell Vineyards wines, reinforced the believe that the Willamette Valley is best suited in the US to produce Pinot noir and Chardonnay fruit capable of expressing these varieties in a more refined classical style.

Serendipitous relationships enabled access to Pinot noir grapes from the very best vineyard sites from the beginning. With the Southern Hemisphere vintage safely maturing in the cellar, Hamilton Russell Vineyards winemaker Emul Ross was able to travel to Oregon to make the maiden vintage in 2018. Working initially with two famous Pinot noir vineyards in the sub-AVA’s of Eola-Amity Hills and Ribbon Ridge, the decision was made in 2019 to settled on a single Pinot noir from the Zena Crown Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills, adding an exciting new (2014 planted) Chardonnay vineyard, Maple Grove. Today Emul is still making the wines, with Olive assisting.


Hamilton Russell Vineyards founded in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa.


First Hamilton Russell Vineyards wines released.


Anthony Hamilton Russell takes over from father Tim Hamilton Russell.


First Hamilton Russell Vineyards wine shipment to the US, followed by annual visits.


Anthony buys Hamilton Russell Vineyards.


First visit to the Willamette Valley, Oregon.


Winemaker Emul Ross appointed at Hamilton Russell Vineyards.


Decision to make wine in the Willamette Valley.


Anthony, Olive and Emul tour the Willamette Valley to decide on vineyards and AVA’s to focus on.


2 Maiden 2018 vintage Pinot noirs made - Zena Crown (Eola-Amity Hills), Bramble Hill (Ribbon Ridge).


Decision to focus on Zena Crown Pinot noir and make a Maple Grove Chardonnay.


Maiden 2018’s released into the US market under the Hamilton Russell Oregon label.