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
More F&W coverage
- Wine Matters: Finding Oregon’s Finest Pinots
Executive wine editor Lettie Teague uncovers the best examples of Oregon’s best grape.
- Winemakers On Board: Oregon Pinot Noir and Snowboarding
For Oregon’s snowboarding-obsessed winemakers, Pinot Noir and powder are a perfect match.
- America’s Best New Whiskeys
A new band of Portland micro-distillers is creating whiskeys with the distinctive flavor of Oregon terroir.
- Great American Wine & Food Matches
Oregon Pinot Gris pairs perfectly with Gingery Panko-Crusted Salmon with Asian Vegetables.
- 10 Best Online Wine Shops
These e-merchants stand above the rest for ease of use and selection.
- Niche Wine Blogs
Here, five wine blogs that have carved out smart and focused niches in the wine Web.
Other great Web resources
Great travel info.
- The Oregonian: Wine
Wine coverage from the major Oregon newspaper.
Home base for the Oregon wine industry. Includes a winery directory.
- Oregon Wine Board
More useful info on Oregon wine.
- Wines Northwest
Maps and winery information for all of the Pacific Northwest.