Grapegrowing in Oregon began in the Willamette Valley with initial plantings in 1966. A large AVA of 3,438,000 acres, it spans from Portland in the north to Eugene in the south. Just over 15,000 acres are planted to vine. The array of volcanic, loess and sedimentary soils on lower hillsides is where almost all grapes are grown, avoiding the deeply fertile alluvial soils of the valley floor and the cooler hilltop climates.
The protection afforded by the Cascade Mountains in the east, Coast Range mountains in the west and a series of lower hill chains in the extreme north of the valley provide multitudes of mesoclimates perfect for expressing the nuances of cool climate wine grapes - especially Pinot Noir. No grape variety is as reflective of climatic and site differences as Pinot Noir. That is why it demands a cool climate to thrive and why small changes in terroir yield wines of distinctively different character.