Location: McMinnville is a sub-appellation
of the Willamette Valley AVA that sits just west of the city of
McMinnville, approximately 40 miles southwest of Portland and
extends 20 miles south-southwest.
Wine history: McMinnville has a long
farming history that dates back to the mid-1800s when berry fields,
tree fruits and livestock dominated. All that began to change when,
in 1970, one of Oregon's winemaking pioneers, David Lett, bought an
old turkey processing plant in McMinnville to house his winery.
Soon after, winegrowers began planting vineyards and establishing
wineries in the area and, in 1987, McMinnville held the very first
International Pinot Noir Celebration. Held every July since, it's a
wildly popular three-day event where winemakers and enthusiasts
from all over the world congregate for Pinot noir tastings, winery
tours, and seminars. The McMinnville AVA was established in 2005.
Today, the area continues to sprout more wineries and tasting
Climate: McMinnville sits in a protective
weather shadow of the Coast Range. As a result, the primarily east-
and south-facing vineyards receive less rainfall (just 33 inches
annually, as compared to 40 inches in Eola-Amity Hills) than sites
just 12 miles to the east. Those vineyards situated on the more
southerly facing sites take advantage of the cooling winds from the
Van Duzer Corridor, a break in the coast range that allows cool
Pacific Ocean air to flow through, thus dropping evening
temperatures in the region, which helps to keep grape acids firm.
Compared to surrounding areas, McMinnville is, on average, warmer
and drier, consisting of higher elevation vineyards (up to 1,000
feet) that are resistant to frost.
Soils: The soils are typically uplifted
marine sedimentary loams and silts, with alluvial overlays. As
compared to other appellations in the Willamette Valley, these
soils are uniquely shallow for winegrowing with low total available
Topography: McMinnville's elevation levels
range from 200 to 1,000 feet, and the area encompasses the east and
southeast slopes of the Coast Range foothills. Geologically, the
most distinctive feature in this area is the Nestucca Formation, a
2,000-foot-thick bedrock formation that extends west of the city of
McMinnville to the slopes of the Coast Range. This formation
contains intrusions of marine basalts, which affect the region's
ground water composition, resulting in grapes with unique flavor
and development characteristics.
- Pinot noir
- Pinot gris
- Pinot blanc
While you're here...
Historic downtown McMinnville is home to urban wine tasting
rooms, top-notch restaurants serving the finest examples of
Oregon's bounty, charming clothing boutiques, galleries, live
music, theaters, ice cream shops and breweries. Nearby is the
Evergreen Aviation Museum, which is home to Howard Hughes' world
famous Spruce Goose, a gigantic WWII seaplane (also known as the
Below are some link to help you plan your trip to
Due west of historic downtown McMinnville, home to
top-notch restaurants, charming boutiques and urban wine tasting
rooms lies the highly regarded McMinnville AVA. Located in
the Coast Range foothills of Yamhill County, the AVA is a
sub-appellation of the all-encompassing Willamette Valley
AVA. It is here where the influences of a remarkable
geological history and an ideal climate have combined to set the
stage for winemakers to produce consistently world-class wines.
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.