An Oregon Education

Hilary Berg, OWP Managing Editor

The state’s wine regions offer intellectual tidbits

Did you know Oregon has 16 AVAs? You didn’t? No big surprise. I don’t expect many people to know this exact number, let alone all the names.

But, if you’re an avid Oregon wine consumer, it’s important to get to know Oregon’s winegrowing regions. 

Why is it important? Well, it makes you appear more wine savvy when chatting with friends. But more importantly, if you know the appellations’ basic characteristics, you then have opportunities to educate your friends about Oregon wine’s finer details.

There is an argument for marketing brand Oregon — did you know some people east of Mississippi can’t even successfully locate the state (hint: It’s below Washington, above California)?. But once consumers get to know the 33rd state and discover the world-class wine it produces, the discussion of AVAs, or American Viticultural Areas, makes the wine experience more interesting and rewarding.

Oregon’s AVAs — and the marketing groups that promote them — want consumers to take an interest in regional distinctions. They educate consumers on their area’s ancient geological happenings and the resulting soils and topography, as well as location, climate and winegrowing history. See the story

Winegrowers and winemakers within the AVAs also collaborate in order to ensure both grapes and wine maintain world-class quality.

A number of associations, mostly in the Willamette Valley, are not directly affiliated with an AVA itself but have organized to promote a geographic area with a cluster of wineries and businesses. 

Groups like PDX Urban Wineries, South Willamette Valley Wineries and Winegrowers of Central Oregon market their areas, hoping to attract wine tourists and, most of all, consumer awareness.

If you are not aware of all the AVA and non-AVA groups in Oregon — and their fabulous events — it’s time to reacquaint yourself with the wine regions of Oregon.

Did you know there are 16 Oregon AVAs? (Just seeing if you’re paying attention.)






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