In a scant two weeks, we'll be attending the Wine Tourism Conference in Portland, Oregon. It will be our first visit to Oregon, though we've tasted and enjoyed many wines from the state. The Wine Tourism Conference agenda gave us hope that we'd get to taste wines from the Willamette Valley, as it starts in Eugene and moves north for the actual conference in Portland. Alas, the pre-Conference excursion is not to be, so we'll be in Portland for the duration. The missed opportunity did whet our interest in the Valley, though, so we decided to do some research.
More than 100 miles long and spanning 60 miles at its widest point, the Willamette Valley is the oldest AVA in the state, having achieved that designation in 1983. The main AVA has six sub-AVAs and spans 3,438,000 acres. It is Oregon’s leading wine region, has over two-thirds of the state’s wineries and vineyards and is home to more than 300 wineries, with the closest wineries less than an hour from Portland. It is mostly known for Pinot Noir, though other cool-climate varietals are present as well.
Over the next two weeks, we're going to post a series of articles about the six sub-AVAs: Chehalem Mountains, Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinnville, Ribbon Ridge, and Yamhill-Carlton. We reached out to the Willamette Valley Wineries Association and, where a connection was made, sent a short interview form to wineries. We've also made an effort to procure wines from each AVA, either via media samples or by purchasing ourselves.
Check back in starting Tuesday and enjoy the series of posts!
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