About Oregon Wines
Wine Industry History
The modern wine industry in the Willamette Valley began in the 1960s. A few pioneers believed in the Valley’s potential to grow world-class cool weather grapes like Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir. These individuals set the stage for the phenomenal growth that has brought the Willamette Valley international recognition as a winegrowing region.
In 1970, there were less than five wineries in The Valley. Today, there are more than 300 wineries and 8,000 planted acres of vines. A variety of areas within the Willamette Valley grow excellent wine grapes, but the oldest and best known wine growing region is the Northern end of the Valley. In particular, Washington and Yamhill Counties, which produce roughly fifty percent of the Pinot Noir fruit grown in Oregon each year.
Recently, six new Viticultural Areas (AVAs) were established in the Northern Willamette Valley. The new AVAs include Chehalem Mountains, Yamhill – Carlton, Ribbon Ridge, Dundee Hills, McMinnville and Eola – Amity Hills. The addition of theses AVAs is an indication of the expansion of the winegrowing region of the Northern Willamette Valley.