As vineyard prices in California started to move out of most people's range, many set eyes further north, up the coast. Oregon, and Washington State turned out to be ideal places to grow grapes. The inevitable learning curve meant that early wines produced in the regions were not always consistent. Time has passed, and the vineyards and winemakers have matured.
This Pacific Northwestern state is well known for its Pinot Noir wines. The climate has proven that it can produce remarkable wines; however, as is the case with so many of the finest cool regions, the vintages can be variable. Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris are white varieties that have been successfully planted in Oregon. Rouge Valley The southernmost wine growing region in the State of Oregon.
Umpqua Valley - A wine region in western Oregon, just south of the Willamette Valley.
Willamette Valley (will-am'-it) - The main growing region in Oregon, and planted primarily in Pinot Noir. Vintages here can be variable, but when the conditions are right, Pinot Noir thrives, and a growing number of wineries are attempting to make their mark with this difficult grape. Even those with concerns in the Mecca of Pinot Noir, Burgundy, France, have thrown in their lots with those gambling on the suitability of Oregon to produce world class wines. While there have been some disappointments, the general trend is promising, and the wines just keep getting better.
Along with Oregon, Washington State is often referred to as the Pacific Northwest. The mild climate, and the relatively low cost of land has drawn an increasing number of wine makers to this state. Most of the grapes are grown in the Columbia River basin, in the southeastern corner of the state. Here, shielded from the ocean by the Cascade mountains, an arid plain has been redefined thanks to irrigation and tenacity. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot have done well here, as has Riesling.
Columbia Valley - A wine producing region in Washington State in the US. Following the mighty Columbia river as it winds down the eastern portion of the state, the Columbia Valley runs nearly the entire length of Washington into Oregon.
Puget Sound - A small wine region in western Washington that is centered around the city of Seattle. While most of the wine boom in the state has been in the eastern regions, this area is one of the oldest in the state, and is home to some of the better known wineries.
Walla Walla - Walla Walla, Washington. The name rolls off the tongue, and for many it is known only as a near nonsense word used by Bugs Bunny. Some of the State's finest grapes are grown here, or near here (Washington State is not a stickler for precise geographic designations).
Yakima Valley - This region in Washington State is a tiny subsection of the Columbia River Valley.
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