Recognized as one of the world’s elite winemaking regions
Since the first grapes were planted in the state 50 years ago, Oregon is now recognized as one of the world’s elite winemaking regions. With 18 designated wine growing areas located in four diverse regions, Oregon boasts more than 600 wineries producing wine from dozens of grape varieties.
Oregon’s wines have benefited from the state’s varied but accommodating climate and unique terroirs. Most of its wineries are small and family owned, many producing fewer than 5,000 cases annually. They can be found sprinkled along country roads, tucked into mountain foothills, situated high above vineyards with breathtaking views of the landscape and now in downtown storefronts on historic main streets.
When Oregon’s wine pioneers looked out across the state’s varied landscape, they saw what others couldn’t: a perfect place for wine.
They understood that Oregon’s northerly latitude meant grapes would get extra growing season sunlight for long, even ripening, and that crisp, cool nights would help grapes retain their freshening acidity. Such a combination meant Oregon grapes would naturally achieve mature, balanced flavours and full varietal character. The resulting wines, they surmised, could be sustainably grown and made without dramatic manipulation to be naturally fresh, lively, and have true-to-the-fruit flavours.
They were right. Today, the suitability of Oregon for great wine is unquestioned. There’s a home in Oregon for any wine grape, from Arneis to Zinfandel.
In the marine-influenced Willamette Valley, cool-adapted grapes such as Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Chardonnay ripen to perfection, producing elegant wines with a global reputation. In the warm, high-elevation vineyards of Southern Oregon and the Walla Walla Valley, heat-loving varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Syrah and Viognier are crafted into head-turning wines earning top scores from national critics. And in the Columbia Gorge and Eastern Oregon, varied microclimates allow winemakers and growers the luxury of working with the widest range of grape varieties of anywhere in the state.
Source: Oregon Wine Board