The Pioneers of Willamette Valley wine
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WVWA 40th Anniversary Logo



A lot happened in 1983.

For those of us who lived the 80s, it was a critical year responsible for the introduction of pop-culture essentials like Chicken McNuggets, the Atari 5200 Gaming System, and Cabbage Patch Kids. It was the last time Baltimore won the World Series, Michael Jackson's Billie Jean reached #1 on the Billboard Top 100, and Nicolas Cage starred in Valley Girl.

Undeniably, 1983 changed the world. 😎

1983 was also a hallmark year for a handful of pioneering winemakers in Oregon's Willamette Valley. On December 1st, the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau granted the Willamette Valley official status as an American Viticultural Area, effective January 3rd, 1984. At the time, this milestone represented a heavy lift from pioneering Willamette Valley winemaker David Adelsheim, who championed the application for AVA status. The government designation recognized the region's distinct terroir as notable for exceptional grape-growing. Since then, Oregon's Willamette Valley has built its reputation as an award-winning wine region, and continues to consistently produce some of the world's most highly decorated wines.

The Willamette Valley Wineries Association is recognizing this anniversary with a year-long series of events, social media features, tastings, interviews and more. We hope you'll join us in lifting a glass to another 40 years of world-class winegrowing. Dust off those Ray-Bans, bust out that Members Only jacket, and unearth your Madonna posters...

In 2024, we're going to party like it's 1983.


Read the 40th Anniversary Press Release.

Read about Willamette Valley historical milestones.

What's an American Viticultural Area? Read about how to make an AVA.

Brush up on your knowledge of the Willamette Valley sub-AVAs and the expansion of the Willamette Valley's geographical distinction.

All historical images are courtesy of the Oregon Wine History Archive at Linfield University, created to collect, preserve, share, and continue the narrative of Oregon wine. 

Celebrating 40 years


Planting the Dundee Hills