Oregon wine grapes and where they grow in the state [infographic]
Are you curious about which wine grapes do well in Oregon? I’m sure you’ve heard we grow some pretty kick-ass Pinot noir but did you know there are over 70 different grape varietals planted in our fair state? Since Oregon is pretty large, it shouldn’t be a surprise that our climate changes quite a bit as you travel north to south and east to west. As you may already know, wine grapes can be a little finicky so not every varietal thrives in each growing region.
This can be confusing! In order to help you keep things straight, I created this simple infographic listing the most common red and white grapes found in each area of the state. I also included a few super-unique grape varietals, like Albariño, Gewürztraminer, Müller-Thurgau and Melon de Bourgogne, because they too thrive in parts of Oregon. Please be sure to seek them out (and other varietals not listed) since our wineries are making some stunning wines with these less common grapes!
(If you need a primer, follow this link if to read our Wine 101: Wine terms explained, AVA.)
Picture the map as a clock dial, and as you move clockwise, you’ll find the following wine appellations designated by individual map pins:
12 o’clock: Columbia Gorge AVA (shared by Oregon and Washington)
2 o’clock: Walla Walla Valley AVA (also shared by Oregon and Washington)
4 o’clock: Snake River Valley AVA (shared by Oregon and Idaho)
7 o’clock: Rogue Valley & Applegate Valley AVAs
8 o’clock: Umpqua Valley & Elkton Oregon AVAs
10 o’clock: Willamette AVA, which includes these nested or sub-AVAs:
- Chehalem Mountains AVA
- Laurelwood District AVA
- Tualatin Hills AVA
- Dundee Hills AVA
- Ribbon Ridge AVA
- Yamhill-Carlton AVA
- Eola-Amity Hills AVA
- McMinnville AVA
- Van Duzer Corridor AVA
- Lower Long Tom AVA (new!)
While this is not a comprehensive list, it shows you some of the types of wine grapes planted in Oregon’s various growing regions. I encourage you to try sampling the same grape varietal grown in different areas of the state. For example, Pinot noir from the Willamette Valley doesn’t taste the same as one grown in the Rogue Valley, nor one from the Columbia Gorge. Doing so can expand your wine palate and introduce you to new flavors and aromas!
What are your favorite Oregon wines? What differences do you taste between the many growing regions in the state? Be sure to tell us in the comments!
Special thanks to the Oregon Wine Board for sharing the map that serves as the foundation for this infographic.
Want to know more about Oregon’s wine appellations?
Stay tuned for my upcoming deep-dive into the Laurelwood District AVA, coming soon. Until then, check out this post announcing the new Laurelwood District and Tualatin Hills appellations.