Southern Oregon AVA

While over time the focus has been on smaller and smaller wine regions, in 2004 the TTB went completely the other way, creating a super-AVA in the form of the Southern Oregon AVA. This region consists of the Umpqua, Rogue and Applegate Valleys and Red Hill Douglas County, Oregon AVAs as well as additional territory linking the regions together. The idea for the super-sized AVA was that of H. Earl Jones of Abacela and his son, associate professor of geography, Gregory V. Jones of Southern Oregon University. (editor’s note: See? I am not the only person with a degree in geography!) They evidence cited to justify the designation includes historical, cultural, climatic, geologic and geographical justifications for the creation of the viticultural area.

Historically, the region has been a wine producing area since the 1850s with modern viticulture restarting in the 1950s. From a cultural perspective, they cite the “physical and cultural” divisions of the state of which Southern Oregon is an example. The region is located south of Eugene to the California border largely within the Umpqua, Rogue, Applegate, Illinois and Bear Creek Valleys. The petition indicates that the soils in the area, while varied are older than those in the Willamette to the north or the coastal zones to the west and contain fewer silts from ancient oceans and lakes. The temperatures in the area are on average the warmest in the state which allows for the cultivation of warmer climate grapes as well as allowing for select microclimates that are perfect for colder acclimated varietals. Additionally, the elevations in the region are higher than the surrounds areas and it receives less rainfall.

The appellations is home to over fifty (50) wineries and produces wines from varietals including:

  • Albarino
  • Bastardo
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Chardonnay
  • Dolcetto
  • Gewurztraminer
  • Grenache
  • Malbec
  • Merlot
  • Muscat Canelli
  • Petit Verdot
  • Petite Sirah
  • Pinot Blanc
  • Pinot gris
  • Pinot Noir
  • Riesling
  • Sangiovese
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Semillon
  • Syrah
  • Tempranillo
  • Viognier
  • Zinfandel





















Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

Red Hill Douglas County, Oregon AVA

This appellation is unique for the state in that encompasses a single vineyard. Located near the town of Yoncalla, in the Umpqua Valley and home to Sienna Ridge Estate. The first vineyard was planted in Yoncalla in 1876 by the Applegate family. Sienna Ridge was settled by the Long Family in 1849 and was planted with vines in 2002 when Wayne Hitchings purchased part of the property.

The vineyard grows Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir in its well drained Jory soils. The official soil of the State of Oregon (every state has one… who knew?!), which are made of deep, well drained soils made of igneous rocks. Additionally, the vineyard is characterized by wildly fluctuating daily temperatures allows the grapes to develop intense flavors.

Oh, and the explanation for the super long appellation name?  By being so specific it was unlikely to confused for Washington’s Red Mountain or California’s Red Hills Lake County AVAs.


Sienna Ridge Estate
1876 John Long Rd
Oakland, OR 97462

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor