About the Ribbon Ridge AVA
In 2017, 88% (or 29 of 33) of the Ribbon Ridge wines were rated 90+, 89% of which were pinot noir. In 2018, Ribbon Ridge continued to net the highest scores of all AVAs as rated by the Wine Advocate, with 87% of those wines submitted receiving 90+ scores (33 of 38).
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In 1980, Harry Peterson-Nedry planted the first wine grapes on Ribbon Ridge at his Ridgecrest Vineyards. Two years later, the first commercial vineyard was established with the planting of 54 acres of Pinot noir and Chardonnay, and Yamhill Valley Vineyards first used these grapes to make wine in 1985. Other vineyards were soon planted in this relatively small ridge.
The Ribbon Ridge AVA was established on July 1, 2005 and is the smallest AVA in Oregon with only 500 planted acres and one of the most prestigious wine growing regions in the world.
The ridge rises 683 feet from the Chehalem Valley floor, giving it an island-like appearance. Ribbon Ridge is typical of hillside sites with earlier starts to warming, less nighttime temperature drops, and clipped heat spikes in midsummer that provide a consistent climate for adequate ripening. These conditions allow longer, cooler growing seasons which are ideal for delicate varietals like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Riesling. Ribbon Ridge’s island-like characteristics and the proximity of surrounding landmasses tend to shield and uniquely protect the viticultural area from many of the extremes that affect the other agricultural microclimates in the northern Willamette Valley. Air and water drainage exist on all sides. Low clouds tend to accumulate on the surrounding hilltops; fog tends to settle on the valley floor in the early and late parts of the growing season.
The Ribbon Ridge region is comprised primarily of the Willakenzie series of sedimentary soil. Willakenzie is a younger, finer and more uniform soil series than the sedimentary and volcanic soils of neighboring regions. It is moderately deep and well-drained, making it ideal for growing high-quality wine grapes and results in Pinot noirs with rose petal, dark cherry, earthiness and spice complexity.
Ribbon Ridge Winegrowers
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- Established: 2005
- Total Area: 3,500 acres (1,400 ha)
- Planted Area: 620 acres (250 ha)
- Predominant Varieties: Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Pinot gris, Riesling, Gamay noir
- Predominant Soils: Marine sedimentary (Willakenzie series)