The Pacific Northwest
Willamette Valley, which stretches from Eugene in the
south to Portland in the north and encompasses two-thirds of
Oregon's population, is the largest wine-growing region in Oregon.
Sheltered by the Cascade Mountains to the east and Oregon's
Coastal Range to the west, and on the same latitude as France's
famed Burgundy region, the valley has gained international
recognition as a world-class growing district, especially for
cool-climate varieties like Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and
Chardonnay. To the northeast of the Willamette Valley are the
Columbia Valley and Walla Walla Valley
appellations, which Oregon shares with Washington. These warmer,
drier appellations are well-suited to the cultivation of red
varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah.
In the southwest of
the state are the Rogue Valley, Applegate
Valley and Umpqua Valley appellations.
Although generally drier and warmer than the northern wine
districts and well-suited to Bordeaux (Cabernet, Merlot, and
Cabernet Franc) and Rhone Valley (Syrah) varieties, each contains
cooler microclimates allowing for the successful cultivation of
the Burgundian varieties that flourish in the Willamette Valley.
Collectively, these six wine-growing regions contain over 11,000
vineyard acres and over 200 wineries, which together produce over
one million cases of wine annually.
comprised of two major climate zones that are split by the Cascade
Mountain range. The west side of the state receives more rainfall
from the coastal waters, an the east side receives much less rain
as the Cascades hold back the moist ocean air. Eastern Washington
is where approximately 98 percent of Washington wine grapes are
grown. The US Government has designated five major viticulture
appellations defining specific geographic regions of the state.
Red Mountain, Yakima Valley, and
Walla Walla Valley are located in the large
Columbia Valley appellation. Cabernet Sauvignon and
Merlot are king here, with Syrah coming on strong in recent
years. Western Washington contains the Puget Sound
appellation. There are also areas outside the official
viticulture appellations that are awaiting official sanction,
including the new Columbia Cascade which includes part of Grant
County, Douglas, Chelan, and Okanogan Counties.