Location: Dundee Hills is a
sub-appellation within the Willamette Valley located 28 miles
southwest of Portland and 40 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean.
Rising above the low, flat floors of the surrounding Willamette and
Chehalem Valleys, the Dundee Hills offer spectacular views,
including Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson's majestic snowy peaks.
Wine history: Winemaker David Lett planted
the first Pinot noir in the Dundee Hills in 1965, naming it The
Eyrie Vineyard. Soon after, Dick Erath, the Sokol Blosser family
and other winemakers cleared south-facing slopes to plant many of
Oregon's first vineyards. They whole-heartedly believed this area
would one day be an important cool-climate wine-growing region. It
didn't take long for the world to discover Dundee Hills and Oregon
- after the relatively unknown Eyrie Pinot noir placed among the
top three wines in the 1979 Gault-Millau French Wine Olympiades,
beating out more famous French labels. Today, the area remains home
to many of Oregon's modern pioneer winemakers who continue to
successfully grow and make premium wine. The appellation was
approved in November 2005.
Climate: The Dundee Hills area is
effectively an island protected from great climatic variations by
surrounding geographic features. The Coast Range to the west
lessens the effects of the Pacific Ocean's heavy rains and
windstorms, and causes a rain shadow over the Dundee Hills area,
resulting in just 30 to 45 inches of annual precipitation, most of
which falls in the winter months outside of the growing season.
Because of their slope and elevation, Dundee Hills vineyards
benefit from warmer nights and less frost and fog than the adjacent
Soils: Dundee Hills is known for its rich,
red volcanic Jory soil, which was formed from ancient volcanic
basalt and consists of silt, clay and loam soils. They typically
reach a depth of 4 to 6 feet and provide excellent drainage for
superior quality wine grapes.
Topography: The Dundee Hills viticultural
region consists of a single, continuous landmass that rises above
the surrounding Willamette Valley floors and is defined by the
200-foot contour line to the AVA's highest peak of 1,067 feet. The
area comprises a north-south spine with ridges, as well as small
valleys on its east, south and west sides. Dundee Hills is part of
a North Willamette Valley hill chain that developed as a result of
intense volcanic activity and the collision of the Pacific and
North American plates. Dundee Hills is typically volcanic over
- Pinot noir
- Pinot gris
While you're here...
The Dundee Hills appellation sits at the north end of the
Willamette Valley region, just 45 minutes from Portland, Oregon's
largest city. At the heart of this viticultural area is its
namesake, the town of Dundee. Here, and in the nearby
vineyard-filled hills, visitors will find a variety of charming
inns and bed and breakfasts, and a handful of great restaurants
serving wine-friendly cuisine.
Below are some links to help you plan your trip to the
The Dundee Hills Winegrowers is a community of vintners, growers
and businesses that work together with a mission to promote,
educate and grow the appellations reputation as Oregon's premier
wine growing region. We invite you to visit and experience the
brilliance that is this world-class Oregon wine destination.
Willamette Valley Wineries Association
Known for making some of the world's best Pinot noir as well as
a diversity of other cool-climate varietals, Willamette Valley
wineries are dedicated to a personal, handcrafted approach to
Travel Oregon - Willamette Valley Page
There's more to the Willamette Valley than award-winning,
world-renowned wine. Sure, there are more than 200 vineyards
producing some of the best Pinot noir, Pinot gris and Riesling
anywhere, but we grow more than just grapes.