The state in the northwest of the USA with the capital Salem is located on the Pacific coast between California and Washington, but the viticulture is very different from these two states. Oregon was settled relatively late by whites, starting in 1834. Wine growing was established in the last third of the 19th century. Today Oregon is one of the largest and most important wine-growing states in the USA and is on a par with California. Oregon is also an important supplier of oak wood for American barriques. European grape varieties were introduced for the first time towards the end of the 19th century. After the decline of viticulture as a result of the American prohibition (1920-1933), fruit and berry wines were the first to be produced. The pioneers of modern viticulture from the 1960s onwards are Richard Sommer with HillCrest Winery, Davit Lett with Eyrie Vineyards and Dick Erath with Erath Vineyards. Contrary to the prevailing opinion at the time, which was supported by the University of California, they successfully dared to rely entirely on European varieties. Predestined are for example Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, of which special clones, the so-called Dijon clones, are in use. They were followed by many other committed winegrowers.
The vineyards cover 6,000 hectares of vineyard area. Most of it is located in the north of the Willamette Valley, where the 4,000-metre-high Cascade Mountains (part of the Rocky Mountains) protect the vineyards from the continental, hot influences. To the west is the famous iron- and clay-rich, reddish-coloured soil of the "Red Hills of Dundee" near McMinville, Newberg and Yamhill. Other areas are located in the warmer southern part of the valley, as well as in the Tualatin Valley, Umpqua Valley and along the Columbia River. The climate is characterized by mild winters and cool, humid and long summers. It is very similar to Burgundy and Bordeaux, which are at similar latitudes, making it very suitable for all grape varieties that cannot tolerate too much heat.
The most common variety is Pinot Noir with over 4,500 hectares. Every year the "International Pinot Noir Convention" takes place in McMinnville, where enthusiasts and producers from all over the world hold tastings. Other red wine varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. The main white wine varieties are Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Müller-Thurgau, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Oregon has one of the strictest wine laws in the USA. For Varietals, the percentage of the grape variety indicated on the label must be 90%, for Cabernet Sauvignon only 75%. Classified as AVA are Applegate Valley, Chehalem Mountains, Columbia Gorge, Columbia Valley, Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity, McMinnville, Red Hill Douglas, Ribbon Ridge, Rogue Valley, Southern Oregon, Umpqua Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Willamette Valley and Yamhill-Carlton
There are over 300 manufacturing operations, more than 80 of which are located in the Portland area. Some of the most famous wineries include Adelsheim Vineyards, Amity, Archery Summit, Argyle, Beaux Frères (where Robert Parker Jr. Jr. holds shares), Brick House, Bridgeview, Chehalem, Domaine Drouhin, Domaine Serene, Elk Cove, Erath, Evesham Wood, Eyrie Vineyards, Firesteed, Foris Vineyard, Gran Moraine(Kendall-Jackson), HillCrest Winery, Ken Wright Cellars, King Estate, Oak Knoll, Panther Creek, Patricia Green Cellars, Penner-Ash, Ponzi, Rex Hill, Sokol Blosser, Torii Mor Winery, Van Duzer Winery, Willamette Valley Vineyards and Yamhill Valley Vineyards.