The Umpqua is formed by three mountain ranges: The Cascades, the Coastal Range and he Klamath, but often the area is often known as the 100 valleys of the Umpquas. The Umpqua River runs through the valley but is no way responsible for the formation of this appellation. The soils are a diverse mixture of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks with alluvial and clays dominating the valley floor and clays. In fact, the contains at least 150 separate soil types. The climate of the region is also varied with the northern areas being cool and moist, the southern being warm and dry and the central area transitional.
Viticulture has been active since the 1880s when German settlers left California and headed north. In the modern era winemaking was established in the early 1960s and has grown to at least 60 vineyards and 12 wineries. The appellation also distinguishes itself by being the first place in the U.S. growing Grüner Veltliner. Other varietals being produced include:
It is summer, the weather has been miserable here in the midwest so it is time to decamp to more favorable climes. And what place is the best to take off for when you are looking for cooler weather? The Pacific Northwest, of course!
Actually, it is time for this year’s Wine Bloggers’ Conference and this year it will be in breezy Portland, Oregon. Well, in Portland Oregon, anyway. Apparently the temperatures will be not so breezy, but rather about 102. Hahah. The jokes on me!
So I am busily re-arranging my wardrobe for the trip and thought I would start showing off my maps of Oregon viticultural areas.
There are about 16 different AVAs in Oregon, so I am going to tackle them alphabetically (‘ya gotta chose something!). This means that we will start with the Applegate Valley AVA.
Located in southern Oregon and part of the Southern Oregon AVA and Rogue Valley AVA, this appellation is relatively small with only about 400 acres planted in vines. Historically, it is important as it is where some of the earliest vineyards in the state were planted and home to the first commercial winery there. It is currently home to six wineries and is planted mainly with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot and Syrah.
After visiting Monticello, it makes perfect sense that my first stop the next day was the Jefferson Vineyards. The property was originally part of Monticello and granted to Filipo Mazzei so he could develop a vineyard. Jefferson had been disappointed by his attempts to produce wine grapes so he brought in Mazzei, a Venetian viticulturist to take over the effort. This is a story about timing being essential. Luckily, the dream lives on at this winery.
Hermann AVA Map by VinoVerve.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at VinoVerve.com.
On my quest to be prepared for the DrinkLocalWine.com conference I am moving on from the Augusta AVA on to Hermann. The town of Hermann was founded by the German Settlement Society of Philadelphia in the 1830’s after they sent school teacher George Bayer to purchase land where they could establish a German utopia. Bayer selected the area that is now known as Hermann because it reminded him of his childhood home in Germany. Unfortunately the land was not ideal for traditional farming or industry, but was perfect for viticulture. Lucky for us!
Yes, I realize that this is much later in the day than I usually post, but it has been a crazy busy week and I wanted to start this next series. Hard core wine lovers have almost always have gone to visit a winery before. But if you don’t get to travel much and don’t realize that there are wineries in your area you might not be familiar with what it is like. Wollersheim Winery in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin was on my way home from the Wine Bloggers’ Conference and therefore the perfect last stop before I got home later that day. The winery at Wollersheim was established in the 1840s by Agoston Haraszathy, better known to wine lovers as the “Father of California Viticulture” and the founder of Buena Vista Vineyards. Before he made it to Napa, he stopped for several years in Wisconsin, where he established the oldest incorporated village in the state, Prairie du Sac. The winery is still in operation to this day and this is from the tour when I visited at the end of June. Enjoy.
Boy, that sounds ominous, doesn’t it? Never fear, I am not hanging out with mobsters or any nationality… I am drinking wine from Don Sebastiani & Sons. This winery, an independent offshot of the Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery is terroir driven. The wine was poured by Greg Kitchen, the winemaker and Jack Meyer from their marketing department.
The wine poured was from their Crusher line of wines which are grower’s selections. We tasted the 2008 Petite Sirah from Clarksburg.
oops. That is a little out there, but I like the thought of wine being poured with the regularity of ducks quacking. Which brings us to Duck Pond Cellars. Greg Fries, partner and one of the winemakers poured for us their 2008 Red Blend which is a mix of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. The fruit is from the Desert Wind Vineyard which is also owned by the Fries Family.