The Dundee Hills are located within Willamette Valley and largely encompass the land above the 200 foot elevation mark surrounding the Red Hills of Dundee. The area is isolated from the extreme precipitation of the coast by the coastal range and the coolest temperatures by the Chehalem mountains and are known for warmer evenings and less fog that some of the surrounding appellations. The soils are a distinctive red from rion deposits are are known as Jory soils made up of basalt, a volcanic rock mixed with loam, clay and silt. The soils are up to six feet deep allowing for excellent drainage.
Viticulture didn’t come to the Dundee Hills until the late 1960s but it has quickly become known for cooler climate varietals such as Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, with vineyards such as Domaine Drouhin, Erath and Eeyrie and Sokol-Blosser leading the way. The area is home to 25 wineries and 50 vineyards.
The Columbia Valley is another border hopping appellation in the Pacific Northwest, the majority of which is in the State of Washington and includes eleven millions acres of land that include multiple micro-climates in appellations. The area encompasses the river valleys of the Columbia and Yakima rivers and is bordered to the west by the Cascades Range. Despite the varieties of growing environments the appellation is mostly known for its high desert climate and well drained soils formed from ice age floods known as the Missoula Floods.
Viticulture on the Oregon side has existed for over 100 years and began with Zinfandel in an area referred to as the Pines near the Dalles (which sounds like how old ladies in my home town describe locations) about a century ago. Because of the even climate and temperatures and increased sunlight (an average of 2 hours longer than in California) the are is able to support a wide variety of varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewurtztraminer Merlot, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Syrah.
Next up alphabetically speaking are the Chehalem Mountains. This appellation snakes around the town of Newburg and the Willamette (dammit) River in northwestern Oregon just southwest of Portland. The area has grown from a few vineyards in the late 1960s to 100 vineyards and 31 wineries currently. The mountains are the highest in the valley and contain soils of basalt, eolian silt and ocean sediments. Along with being the highest land within the Valley, the weather is the most varied allowing for multiple micro-climates at elevations that range from 200- 1,633 feet. Grapes produced in the region include Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Riesling.