Wine, especially Pinot noir wine, is all about place. Plant a pinot vine here and it will taste one way, plant it over there and it will taste a different way. Plant it in the Dundee Hills of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and it will likely taste of silky red cherries or raspberries with a touch of autumn-dewed forest floor and a smidgen of mysterious minerality. It should be, in short, the very signature of what the world thinks of as Oregon Pinot noir. Oregon Pinot noir did not begin in the Dundee Hills, but it is in the Dundee Hills where Oregon Pinot noir first won its worldwide reputation for greatness.
– Cole Danehower
Reprinted from Portrait of Portland Magazine, Volume 6
ABOUT THE DUNDEE HILLS WINEGROWERS ASSOCIATION
The Dundee Hills Winegrowers Association (DHWA) was formed in 2005 to highlight the unique relationship among soil, climate and vintners as expressed in exceptional wines.
Known in wine circles as the epicenter of Oregon Pinot Noir, the region planted its first grape vines over 50 years ago, when pioneers such as David Lett of Eyrie, Dick Erath and the Sokol Blossers planted many of Oregon’s first vineyards. Their faith in the Dundee Hills was confirmed in 1979 when Lett’s 1975 Pinot Noir placed among the top three wines in the French-sponsored blind tasting of international Burgundies. Others took note, including Burgundy producer Maison Joseph Drouhin. Drouhin embraced the Dundee Hills as the next frontier in Burgundian varietals with his 1987 decision to purchase 225 acres and build a winery, squarely placing the Dundee Hills and Oregon on center stage for premium Pinot Noirs.
Today the DHWA is made up of 66 members including the vineyards, wineries, retailers, restaurants, B&Bs and Inns committed to continuing the traditions of responsible stewardship of the land, the highest quality artisan winemaking, fresh and local foods and unparalleled hospitality.
ABOUT THE DUNDEE HILLS
Located 28 miles southwest of Portland, the Dundee Hills AVA encompasses 6,490 acres with geology dating back 15 million years when lava flowed from northeast Oregon and pushed into the Willamette Valley, covering all but the highest hills with up to 1,000 feet of basalt.
The catastrophic Missoula floods 10-15,000 years ago deposited a blanket of sediment on land below the 200 ft elevation, sparing the original red volcanic hills above the small town of Dundee. Today, the 200 ft contour line defines the Dundee Hills AVA