COMMENTARY

Say What?

What’s your favorite AVA (American Viticultural Area) outside Oregon?

Back in 2000, I hiked the whole Pacific Crest Trail. One of the most beautiful sections to hike was the high Sierras. A couple years later, I learned there is a Sierra Foothills AVA. I have had several great examples of Tempranillo, Grenache, Zinfandel and Syrah. The terrains are rugged and so was the trail.
Andrew Wenzl, Abacela Winery

Sonoma Coast is the closest AVA to our Willamette Valley. The big reason I came here instead of there is fog. We have fog in the winter when my vines are asleep and I don’t care if it’s foggy or not. On the coast of California, the fog is right in the middle of the growing season. In some summer months, the fog burns off about 1 p.m. and rolls in again at 3 p.m. That’s two hours of sunlight a day compared to our 10. My grapevine leaves are like tiny solar panels; they create energy from the sun, so, although the climate of Sonoma Coast is excellent, their vines are getting a small fraction of what mine get.
Steven Girard, Benton-Lane Winery

Dry Creek Valley AVA in California. The wines are true to the nature of the grape. You can still find boutique wineries that are focused on quality of winemaking and vineyard practices and tasting room people who are part of the family, rather than just pourers.
Mary Hansen, ArborBrook Vineyards

Sonoma Coast (North). I just like what Ted Lemon is doing with most of his Pinot Noirs down there. A delicate approach or, in my way of looking at things, the correct approach.
Jay McDonald, EIEIO Wines

My favorite AVA outside the Willamette Valley is the Rockpile AVA in Sonoma County. It’s a very small community of down-to-earth winegrowers above Lake Sonoma, who respect the craft of viticulture and the terroir specific to that area — reminds me of the Willamette Valley. The vineyards are stunning and produce fantastic Zinfandel. The soil quality leads to stressed vines with low yields and really intense fruit. Divine.
Jessica Ramp, Sweet Cheeks Winery

Here in the U.S., my favorite AVAs are the Finger Lakes in New York, which has scenic beauty, world-class Rieslings and lakeside B&Bs, and Chalone, a single-winery AVA on a mountaintop in Monterey County, California. It has a very interesting history.
Michael Adams, Chemeketa Northwest Wine Studies Program

 

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