About the Columbia Valley AVA
The Gorge Wine region is a powerful place. It’s a place of extremes—extremes in climate, scenery, and style of wine — where the beauty of the landscape is inextricable from its allure as a world class wine region. A modern frontier, of sorts — experiencing growth, but holding fast to the heart of what makes it special. The extreme conditions that shape the wine are unique to this region—to be embraced, cultivated and celebrated.
Bold. Expansive. Surprising.
Just 60 miles east of Portland, the Columbia Gorge AVA lies in the heart of the dramatic river corridor that straddles the Columbia River along the borders of Oregon and Washington.
The climate in the Columbia Gorge AVA is categorized as transitional. The western end of the Columbia Gorge, close to the Cascade Mountains, has a cooler, marine-influenced climate where it rains 36 inches per year. Stretching 40 miles eastward, the climate transitions to continental high desert with just 10 inches of annual rainfall. Throughout the Gorge, elevations of vineyard sites range from sea level to 2,000 feet, which greatly impacts temperatures during the growing season.
The Columbia River Gorge is the only sea-level passage through the Cascade Mountain Range, funneling persistent winds at an average speed of 10-20 miles per hour (16-32 kph) or more, acting as a cooling and drying force to the vineyards.
This extreme variance of climate means the Columbia Gorge AVA can successfully grow a wide range of classical varieties. Wines produced from this region tend to be riper than wines from Oregon’s cooler, western regions with higher acidity and structure than what occurs naturally in the warmer, eastern AVAs.
The Gorge Wine region is a place of extremes where the astounding beauty of the landscape is inextricable from its allure as a world class wine region.
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- Established: 1984
- Planted Area: 9,010 acres (3,645 ha)
- Predominant Varieties: Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Sauvignon blanc, Pinot gris, Gewürztraminer, Cabernet Franc, Viognier
- Predominant Soils: Loess, sandy silts, loams