About The Valley
Adelsheim Ribbon Springs Vineyard by Kent Derek Studio
The Willamette Valley, Oregon’s leading wine region, has two-thirds of the state’s wineries and vineyards and is home to more than 700 wineries. It is recognized as one of the premier Pinot noir–producing areas in the world.
The Willamette Valley is a huge and varied appellation that includes ten nested appellations: Chehalem Mountains, Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, Laurelwood District, Lower Long Tom, McMinnville, Ribbon Ridge, Tualatin Hills, Van Duzer Corridor and Yamhill-Carlton.
At its widest point, this long, broad valley spans sixty miles. Protected from cold Pacific Ocean air and rainstorms on the west by the Coast Range mountains, the Valley follows the Willamette River for more than a hundred miles from the Columbia River near Portland to just south of Eugene. The Cascade Range to the east forms a natural boundary and protects against the opposite extreme: the dry, desert-like climate of eastern Oregon. Overall, the climate boasts a long, gentle growing season: warm summers with cool evenings, a long and lovely autumn with the first rainfalls of winter amid plenty of sunny days, and mild winters followed by long springs. In addition to the flagship Pinot noir grape, wineries also produce Pinot gris, Pinot blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Melon, Gewürztraminer, sparkling wine, Sauvignon blanc, Syrah and Gamay, among other lesser-known varieties.
The Willamette Valley wineries are a popular tourist destination, with the area boasting a luxury destination resort, several high-end inns and many delightful bed & breakfasts. The valley also offers a long list of fine dining restaurants. An additional advantage for the wine tourist is the proximity of the wineries to Portland. From Portland in the north or Eugene in the south, tourists can visit the Willamette Valley winery of their choice in anywhere from 10 minutes to two hours.