Oregon Wine Region Basics

© Kirsten Strecker
© Kirsten Strecker

Oregon’s modern era of viticulture officially began in the mid-1960s, when a small group of pioneering winemakers first planted Pinot Noir in the state’s chilly Willamette Valley. There were many who doubted serious wine production could occur here, and though the early producers indeed faced many challenges along the way (many climatic), Oregon vintners currently produce some of the finest white and red wines in America. Oregon’s secret? Specialize in vines that do best in the state's relatively cool, damp climate. Fortunately for Oregonians, that is one of the world's most noble grapes: Pinot Noir.

Five top bottles

  • 2005 A to Z Oregon Pinot Blanc
  • 2006 Chehalem Inox Willamette Valley Chardonnay
  • 2005 Firesteed Oregon Pinot Noir
  • 2005 Stoller JV Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
  • 2005 Bethel Heights Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

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