Willamette Valley AVAs

No grape variety is as reflective of climatic and site differences as Pinot noir. That is why it demands a cool climate to thrive and why small distance differences in the valley often yield wines of distinctively different character. General attributes that make the Willamette Valley suitable for cool climate grape growing include the protection afforded by the Cascade Mountains to the east, Coast Range mountains to the west and a series of lower hill chains to the extreme north of the valley. Almost all grape growing is done on lower hillsides, avoiding deeply fertile alluvial soils and cooler hilltop mesoclimates.

It is on these hillsides that Pinot noir uniqueness is found and where apparent families of wines urge distinctive American Viticultural Area identification. In 2002, a collaborative action of vineyards and wineries delineated and submitted to the TTB petitions to divide much of the northern part of the large Willamette Valley AVA into six more specific AVAs: Chehalem Mountains, Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinnville, Ribbon Ridge, and Yamhill-Carlton. The Van Duzer Corridor AVA went into effect in January 2019, and the Tualatin Hills and Laurelwood District AVAs (details coming soon) were approved in June 2020.

Chehalem Mountains AVAEST. 2006

The Chehalem Mountains AVA is a single uplifted landmass southwest of Portland in the northern Willamette Valley, extending 20 miles in length and 5 miles in breadth, stretching from southeast to northwest. It includes several discrete spurs, mountains and ridges, such as Ribbon Ridge and Parrett Mountain.

Discover the Chehalem Mountains AVA

Dundee Hills AVAEST. 2005

The first grapes in the Willamette Valley were planted in the Dundee Hills, and it remains the most densely planted locale in the valley and state.

Discover the Dundee Hills AVA

Eola-Amity Hills EST. 2006

Two of the predominant influences on the characteristics of wines from the Eola-Amity Hills are shallow soils and the Van Duzer Corridor. The soils of the Eola-Amity Hills contain predominantly volcanic basalt from ancient lava flows, combined with marine sedimentary rocks and/or alluvial deposits, making a generally much shallower and rockier set of well-drained soils which produce small grapes with great concentration.

Discover the Eola-Amity Hills AVA

JUST ANNOUNCED: Laurelwood District EST. 2020

This new Willamette Valley nested AVA has just been announced by the TTB! Details coming soon; read the press release.

Coming Soon: Discover the Laurelwood District AVA

McMinnville EST. 2005

The McMinnville AVA of nearly 40,500 acres sits due west of Yamhill County’s seat, the city of McMinnville. It extends approximately 20 miles south-southwest toward the mouth of the Van Duzer Corridor, Oregon’s lowest coast range pass to the Pacific Ocean.

Discover the McMinnville AVA

Ribbon Ridge EST. 2005

The AVA is distinguished by uniform, unique ocean sedimentary soils and a geography that is protected climatically by the larger landmasses surrounding it. Paucity of aquifers forces most vineyards to be dry farmed. Ribbon Ridge is contained within the larger Chehalem Mountains AVA.

Discover the Ribbon Ridge AVA


This new Willamette Valley nested AVA has just been announced by the TTB! Details coming soon; read the press release.

Coming Soon: Discover the Tualatin Hills AVA

Van Duzer Corridor EST. 2019

The Van Duzer Corridor is an anomaly in the Coast Range through which oceanic winds funnel into the Valley, creating a cooling effect that occurs as early as 2:00 in the afternoon. This breeze dries out the vine canopy and decreases fungus pressure, making the area highly attractive for grape growing and supporting sustainable practices by drastically reducing the need for fungus spray. As a phenomenon of wind protection, the grape skins thicken, leading to an abundance of anthocyanins (color) and tannin.

Discover the Van Duzer Corridor AVA

Willamette Valley EST. 1983

A large AVA of 3,438,000 acres (5372 square miles), running from Portland in the north to Eugene in the south, it includes rich alluvial soils on the valley floor, that are great for agriculture but inappropriate for high quality grapegrowing, and a selection of volcanic, loess and sedimentary soils on hillsides of varying mesoclimates. Discover the Willamette Valley AVA

Yamhill-Carlton EST. 2005

North of McMinnville, the foothills of the Coast Range create an AVA of nearly 60,000 acres, centered around the hamlets of Carlton and Yamhill.

Discover the Yamhill-Carlton AVA

Willamette Valley Visitors