About Victorian Summit

Who We Are

Proprietors, Ralph and Victoria Luchterhand had both fostered ideas of owning and managing a vineyard for a number of years, but had arrived at that notion by completely different paths.

Growing up in a family where adult beverages were never served and during an era sometimes referred to as the culinary dark ages of the American 1950’s, Ralph really didn’t discover fine wine until after graduating from college and beginning his professional career. Purchasing season tickets to the Oregon Symphony classical concert series in 1975 led to regular fine dining experiences before each concert. This is where his exploration of wine really began.

The first visit to a winery and tasting room occurred in 1978, almost as an afterthought. While passing through Woodinville on a road trip, he decided to stop at the new Chateau Ste. Michelle winery and tasting room. That visit ended with a purchase of a mixed case of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Riesling. There was no turning back!

The first thoughts about the possibility of wine grapes on Spangler Hill occurred in the folowing years while visiting some of the early vineyards in the Dundee hills, back in the days when one could visit pretty much all of Willamette Valley wine country on a Saturday afternoon.

“What? That junky red clay dirt that I grew up trying to grow stuff in is acutally good for wine grapes?”

From early adulthood, Victoria had always enjoyed fine wine rather than the beverages chosen by most of her peers. Her interest in wines continued to develop through friendships with others who shared that passion.

The idea of owning a vineyard first captured her imagination while driving the back roads near Calistoga to visit a friend while on a road trip from Oregon to Santa Rosa. She had been contemplating purchasing land in Yamhill County at the time that she and Ralph first met.

The two were married in 1997, and Victoria quickly became an integral part of the family farming operations. In the following years, they enjoyed exploring Willamette Valley wine country as well as other wine regions. They have enjoyed building relationships with others in the industry. They also enjoy spending time with friends and family over a meal prepared in their home on Spangler Hill. Both have always considered fine wine to be a significant component to enhance the food, fellowship and celebration at the table.

The Farm

The farm on which Victorian Summit Vineyard is planted has been in the Luchterhand family since 1956. Over the years, there have been a number of farming activities on this land including cane berries, raising cattle, growing hay, boarding horses and a Christmas tree growing operation. In addition to the nearly 70 acres of open farmland, the property includes some forest land of second and third growth timber which also includes a few beaver ponds and natural springs that feed into Buckner Creek.

After moving away from the farm to finish college and to begin a professional career, Ralph often had thoughts of moving back to the life he had enjoyed growing up in the country. In 1992, he moved back to Spangler Hill and built a house across the road from the old farmhouse in which he was raised. Now, five generations of our family have enjoyed living on this land.

In 2012, the last Christmas trees were harvested from a 25 acre field on the summit of Spangler Hill and the work began to restore that land and plant the first 10 acres of vineyard. Following the final harvest of the remaining Christmas trees in 2014, the farm has now been restored once again to beautiful open fields growing wine grapes and hay, with plans to expand the vineyard in the years ahead.

Spangler Hill

Located in the north Willamette Valley, just south of Oregon City on what, at one time was the eastern shore of Lake Allison, Spangler Hill is considered one of the oldest of a collection of volcanos scattered throughout the greater Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area and the surrounding countryside called the Boring Volcanic Field. The soil is Jory, a crumbling, mineral-laced volcanic structure with a distinctive deep red color. The Jory soil series is the state’s official soil and is associated with some of the most classic examples of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and more recently, Willamette Valley Chardonnay.

The position of Spangler Hill is a bit farther to the west of the Cascade Volcanic Arc than most of the foothills, resulting in a longer and dryer growing season than much of the east Willamette valley, yet retaining the cool nighttime temperatures.

Spangler Hill is catalogued by the USGS, United States Board on Geographic Names.

Here are the details:

Feature ID: 1136769
Name: Spangler Hill
Class: Summit
Latitude: 45.2537343 North
Longitude: -122.5773115 West
Elevation: 659 Feet above MSL
USGS Quad Map: Oregon City

Spangler Hill Geodetic Survey Marker Oregon

The US Coastal and Geodetic Survey triangulation staton summit marker now sits in the middle of one of the vine rows in Block 4.

Summit: A prominent elevation rising above the surrounding level of the Earth’s surface; does not include pillars, ridges or ranges.

US Department of the Interior, US Geological Survey

About The Name

Summit has a nice ring to it. Since Spangler Hill is actually classified as a summit, why not use that for part of the name?

So what to pair with that? Well one of the owners is named Victoria . . . . . . . .


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