Felipe Ramirez, winemaker at Rose & Arrow Estate
In early February 2020, before COVID-19 placed its indelible mark on us, Nick Stock filed his 2018 Oregon wine report for JamesSuckling.com:
“…another convincing showing from Oregon, which is producing high quality across a number of vintages and demonstrating real consistency of style from producer to producer and vineyard to vineyard.”
Then in September 2020, Josh Raynolds of Vinous tipped his hat to consistency in Oregon Outside the Pinot Box:
“The last five vintages, which have been uniformly excellent in Oregon, presented winemakers with a golden opportunity to produce truly world-class wines from all varieties, and they responded with impressively consistent aplomb. Chardonnay, in particular, has become a deadly serious subject for the state’s growers and winemakers, as evidenced by the sheer number of outstanding renditions of that variety that I have been sampling recently.”
Now facing us is another accolade, this one the Wine & Spirits Top 100 list which shines a spotlight on the top wineries of the year. Announced September 16, 2020, this global top 100 list has 36 wineries from the U.S. and an astounding eight of those, or 22% are from Oregon. But this isn’t a first for our home state; although the players have changed, Oregon has consistently been among the best wineries in the U.S. according to Wine & Spirits from 2017 forward with seven mentions.
Wine & Spirits Top 100 List
2020: 36 U.S. wineries, 8 from Oregon, or 22% of the U.S. awards.
2019: 25 U.S. wineries, 8 from Oregon, or 32% of the U.S. awards.
2018: 35 U.S. wineries, 8 from Oregon, or 23% of the U.S. awards.
Ed King III, CEO and Cofounder of King Estate Winery
This year’s winners were Bergström Wines, Big Table Farm, Cristom Vineyards, Domaine Drouhin Oregon, King Estate Winery, Ovum, Rose & Arrow Estate and Walter Scott Wines. Wine & Spirits said:
“Our exclusive blind tasting process revealed this diverse collection of producers from around the globe and we honor them for their outstanding wines.”
Brought back to the current climate, what’s this mean for the smoke and fires in Oregon this summer? It means stay tuned—Oregon’s winemakers have tackled wildfire impacts in years past, and they have creative and scientific winemaking strategies to mitigate potential issues. Winemakers are privy to a wide array of resources locally, regionally and internationally. While our wines are being lauded for consistency, we are proud of the vintage diversity our state’s 800+ wineries enjoy. Our region is vast and diverse and what is happening at one winery is not a reflection of the whole area, and should not impact perceptions of the region’s 2020 vintage. Every year is special, and with each challenge our talented winemakers rise to the occasion to make sensational wines of place.