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Oregon's first Korean-American winemakers buy land for vineyard, tasting room

Dave and Lois Cho started CHO Wines in 2021 and bought land in October for a vineyard and tasting room, which is set to open in spring 2023.

HILLSBORO, Ore. — It’s been a 10-year journey for winemakers Dave and Lois Cho. During the pandemic, they finally decided to start their own vineyard and tasting room. 

The couple purchased land for the future site of CHO Wines in the Willamette Valley's Chehalem Mountains American Viticultural Area last October. They’re in the process of making wine a full-time commitment. 

Before jumping into the Oregon's wine industry, Dave and Lois were musicians in California. 

“We actually started in the wine industry playing at wineries in Southern California,” Lois told KGW. By performing at different places, Dave admitted “their wine was better than the stuff I had at home.”

Credit: Lois Cho

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From there, the couple came to Oregon to pursue viticulture, and the dream has had legs ever since. They started by sourcing grapes from other local growers, but soon they're planting vines of their own. They plan to open a tasting room on their new property in spring 2023. 

Korean-Americans by birth, the Chos are proud of their heritage. Their website says Dave is the first Korean-American winemaker in Oregon. But they’ll also tell you it goes even deeper than that. The name of their winery, CHO Wines, is much more than a label.

“CHO also stands for carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. So the carbon, hydrogen, oxygen being the makeup of all living things,” said Lois.

Credit: CHO Wines

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“That we chose to represent too because we want to celebrate the current commonality, the table we share our wines with or food and the friends we share with,” Dave added.

Starting the winery has made it possible to spend more time together as a couple and with their three kids. They hope to share more than a bottle with visitors, but life together too.

“It's all made of the same elements,” Lois said. “So that's what we really wanted to highlight, that work in the wine community. We all are united in our love for wine.”

Visit GetChoWines.com for wine selection and updates on future plans.

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