The Willamette Valley wine region has been formally recognized by the European Union through Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) Status approval. The culmination of almost a decade's work, this milestone recognizes the quality of Willamette Valley wine and protects the Willamette Valley name from misuse and fraudulent labeling in the EU and in many markets around the world. Among US wine regions only Napa Valley and now the Willamette Valley bear this distinction.
Congratulations to the leader of this effort, Harry Peterson-Nedry of RR Wines and Ridgecrest Vineyards, and all who fought for this recognition. Read the full story—and join us in raising a glass to toast this historic achievement!
The WVWA maintains its annual association membership with the Wine Origins Alliance. In addition, Morgen McLaughlin serves on its Steering Committee alongside representatives from Napa Valley, Champagne, Barossa, and Bordeaux.
In wine, location is the key ingredient. Each bottle showcases an authentic characteristic of the soil, climate and temperature of the region, and the uniqueness of local growers and winemakers. When you pick a wine from Willamette Valley it means something to you. The words Willamette Valley represent more than a name. They denote a specific place where the wine was produced and the grapes were grown.
That’s why the Willamette Valley Wineries Association works diligently to preserve and protect the Willamette Valley name as well as the names of wine regions around the world. When the location of wine’s true place of origin is misused, consumers are misled and the sanctity of all quality wine regions is undermined. We proactively work with other quality wine regions that are concerned with their names being misused and want to eliminate consumer confusion.
Oregon’s wine labeling regulations, proposed by the industry and adopted by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission in 1977, continue to be the strictest wine labeling standards in the United States. If a wine label states Oregon, an Oregon county, or an AVA wholly within Oregon, 100% of the grapes must be from Oregon and 95% from that appellation of origin. When a specific grape is named on a label in Oregon, 90% or more of the wine must be from the named variety for more than 50 grape varieties, including Oregon’s most widely produced wines: Pinot noir, Pinot gris, Chardonnay and Pinot blanc. That’s compared with a 75% standard on the federal level.
In 2009, following in the footsteps of the Oregon Wine Board in 2005, the Willamette Valley Wineries Association joined the Declaration to Protect Wine Place & Origin. The Wine Origins alliance works collaboratively to ensure wine place names are protected and not abused or miscommunicated to consumers. WVWA is proud to join with Barossa, Bordeaux, Bourgogne/Chablis, British Columbia, Champagne, Chianti Classico, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry, Long Island, McLaren Vale, Napa Valley, Oregon, Paso Robles, Porto, Rioja, Santa Barbara County, Sonoma County, Texas, Tokaj, Victoria, Walla Walla Valley, Washington state, and Western Australia.
While we may be competitors in the global marketplace, we all agree that each region is unique and, as such, produces wines impossible to duplicate anywhere else. It’s really quite simple: location matters. We urge you to join us in looking carefully at all wine labels and ensuring that you know where your wines come from.