North Willamette Vintners
Located at the northern edge of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, the North Willamette Vintners — formerly the Wineries of Washington County established in the early ’90s — is a cluster of independent wineries and hospitality businesses that have joined to promote the sub-region’s passion for quality, diverse wines.
Just minutes from Portland, on route to the coast and to the heart of the Willamette Valley, the North Willamette encompasses Gaston, Forest Grove, Cornelius, Hillsboro and the outskirts of Portland and includes 24 wineries.
Focus? NWV is a marketing and promotional trade association. We are dedicated to bringing together a diverse collection of wineries in our region to increase awareness of the region’s wine industry through branding, promotional events, activities and strategic partnerships.
Identity? Access, diversity and collaboration are three of our distinguishing qualities. North Willamette is the closest wine region to Portland, shaping the northern gateway to Oregon’s wine country. In all, we represent 43 wineries, and tourism and industry partners are each uniquely diverse. We celebrate our differences and unite in a cohesive effort to create educational and entertaining events and programs to increase awareness of both the region and individual wineries.
Varieties? Pinot Noir remains our most popular produced varietal. Additionally, we have a strong concentration of wineries producing Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Rosé, as well as less well-known varietals and sparkling wine. A few wineries are developing a craft for fortified wines, vermouth and Port.
Collaboration? As a young, emerging nonprofit association, all our programs and operations are achieved through a collaborative effort. Together, as a group with a common goal, we conceptualize, develop and execute our programs and initiatives. Additionally, NWV has developed a very strong and active referral network. We have worked to develop tools and resources to inspire a sense of community and encourage tasting room traffic referrals throughout the year. Our signature events are perfect examples of this collaborative process.
Challenges? The biggest challenge is that the NWV is not a sub-AVA but a regional marketing group, and we have members who are in many different sub-AVAs and some not in any. We are also challenged by our geography, being a bit removed from the central Willamette Valley cluster of tourism opportunities such as lodging and dining. As the word spreads, the Northern region is becoming recognized for its less-crowded roads and tasting rooms.
Marketing? We have a fully integrated marketing campaign consisting of targeted advertising, traditional media outreach, social media and online marketing. We will soon launch a redesigned website, which will include a custom trip planner and comprehensive event calendar with NWV events and individual winery events. NWV also advertises in a variety of regional and local industry and consumer publications.