Chehalem Mountains

Chehalem Mountains AVA Map

Location: Chehalem Mountains is one of Oregon's newest AVAs, and a sub-appellation of the existing Willamette Valley region. This viticultural area is 19 miles southwest of Portland and 45 miles east of the Pacific Ocean. It is 20 miles in length and 5 miles wide.

Wine history:  Chehalem Mountains' winegrowing history dates back to 1968 when UC Davis refugee Dick Erath purchased 49 acres on Dopp Road in Yamhill County. He aptly called the property Chehalem Mountain Vineyards. By the mid to late 1970s, there was a patchwork of vineyards in the area, including those owned by such modern wine pioneers as the Adelsheims and the Ponzis. Over the next three decades other reputable winegrowers planted roots in the area. The appellation was approved in the late fall of 2006.

Climate:  Chehalem Mountains' elevation goes from 200 to 1,633 feet, resulting in varied annual precipitation (37 inches at the lowest point and 60 inches at the highest) as well as the greatest variation in temperature within the Willamette Valley. These variations can result in three-week differences in the ripening of Pinot noir grapes.

Soils:  Chehalem Mountains have a combination of Columbia River basalt, ocean sedimentation, and wind-blown loess derivation soil types.

Topography:  Chehalem Mountains is a single landmass made up of several hilltops, ridges and spurs that is uplifted from the Willamette Valley floor. The appellation includes all land in the area above the 200-foot elevation. They are the highest mountains in the Willamette Valley with their tallest point, Bald Peak, at 1,633 feet above sea level.

Predominant varieties

  • Pinot noir
  • Pinot gris
  • Chardonnay

While you're here...

The Chehalem Mountains appellation sits at the north end of the Willamette Valley region, just 30 minutes from Portland, Oregon's largest city. Even closer to the North Willamette Valley's wine producing pockets are smaller towns such as Forest Grove, Newberg, Dundee and McMinnville that offer a great variety of charming inns and bed and breakfasts, and an impressive collection of intimate, chef-owned restaurants serving wine-friendly Pacific Northwest cuisine. Visitors can even take hot air balloon rides to get a bird's eye view of this spectacular wine country area and its green, rolling hills, rivers, and splashes of forestlands. Or enjoy the scenic beauty from the variety of golf courses within driving distance.

Below are some links to help you plan your trip to the Chehalem Mountains.

Chehalem Mountains Winegrowers

The Chehalem Mountains Winegrowers represents vineyards, wineries and their associates in the Ribbon Ridge and Chehalem Mountains AVAs (American Viticultural Areas), joined by a love of fine wine and the terrain, elevation and climate within the boundaries of a single geological miracle.

Willamette Valley Wineries Association

The Willamette Valley wineries are a popular tourist destination, with the area boasting a new luxury destination resort, several high-end inns and many delightful bed & breakfasts. The Valley also offers a long list of fine dining restaurants. An additional advantage for the wine tourist is the proximity of the wineries to Portland. From Portland, tourists can visit the Willamette Valley winery of their choice in anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours.

Travel Oregon - Willamette Valley page

There's more to the Willamette Valley than award-winning, world-renowned wine. Sure, there are over 200 vineyards producing some of the best Pinot Gris, Riesling and Pinot Noir wine anywhere, but we grow more than just grapes. 

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Jun 2015

Clink! A Taste of Oregon Wine at Linfield College Oregon Wine Historical Archive

June 1, 2015 | Location

Due to the overwhelming response to Clink! A Taste of Oregon Wine, the Oregon Historical Society has developed a traveling version of the exhibition to travel the state.
Learn More »

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