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.
- Pinot noir
- Pinot gris
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
Below are some links to help you plan your trip to the Chehalem
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.