Pioneers of Oregon Pinot Noir. In the late 1980s Steve and Carol Girard, seduced by the Pinot Noir grape, left Napa Valley to pioneer the remote southern Willamette Valley. They found their perfect estate, a 145-acrean expansive sheep farm that was free from chemicals or prior plantings. They knew this land was capable of growing silky, elegant and complex Pinot Noir. Today, Benton-Lane wines have received more top 100 Wines of the World than any other still wine producer in Oregon and Steve continues to farm his now-legendary estate using a blend of organic, biodynamic and sustainable practices.