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Lower Long Tom

  • The southern part of the Willamette Valley tends to get lost and lumped in with its better-known neighbors to the north. With the Willamette Valley being 200 miles long and 80 miles wide, those vineyards and wineries at the southern tip are usually forgotten.
  • Nestled between the Cascade Mountain range and the Coastal Mountains in southern Oregon, there is a special little piece of land that produces unique and interesting wine.
  • Dieter Boehm, founder of High Pass Vineyard and Winery, just outside of Eugene, Oregon felt the same way and so in 2018, filed for a special designation by the US Department of Treasury (TTB) for this small area to be assigned its own AVA.
  • In November 2021 the Lower Long Tom AVA was officially recognized and christened. The name derived from its position within the west side of the Long Tom watershed between Covallis and Eugene and as an homage to the Kalapuyan people who have inhabited this area for more than 10,000 years.
  • The Coastal Range mountains protect this area from the strong winds which can come in from the Pacific Ocean. While at the same time, creating an interesting rain shadow which reduces rainfall, and creates a microclimate which allows for a healthier and more consistent growing season, even in the toughest of seasons.
  • Made up of only 10 wineries, 12 vineyards, and less than 500 total acres under vine.
  • Known best for world class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this small, special place also has the right microclimate to grow some “unusual for the area” varietals such as Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Huxelrebe, Cabernet Franc, and Muscat.
  • Bellpine soil, which is the predominant soil type in this area, is a shallow, clay-loam soil where the vines need to reach and struggle for water and nutrients, which helps to create amazing wine.
  • Due to the soil and the unique microclimates created in this area, one major difference in the wine made here versus the wines made by the neighbors in the northern part of the Willamette Valley is the wines made here can be laid down and aged for longer periods of time. Allowing for these wines to become more interesting and mature.

Ribbon Ridge

  • Ribbon Ridge AVA is the smallest of the AVAs located in Oregon measuring only a quarter of a mile wide by 3 ½ miles long.
  • Established in 2005 as a Nested AVA, which means it is entirely contained within the Chehalem Mountains AVA.
  • Named by a settler from Missouri in 1865, this sub-AVA contains only 20 vineyards and less than 500 acres currently under vine, there are only 1,000 total acres suitable for planting wine grapes.
  • Due to the drastic elevation change and the distinct terroir from the surrounding AVAs, wine from Ribbon Ridge has unique flavor and aroma profiles.
  • Some of the finest examples of the wine Oregon can produce, can be found in this small, unique area.
Ribbon Ridge_1

Rocks District

  • Located entirely within the Oregon side and nested completely within the Walla Walla Valley AVA, the Rocks District of Milton Freewater was officially created and recognized seven years ago.
  • The Rocks District is one of the only appellations in the world strictly defined by a single soil type (Freewater Series) and sole land formation (alluvial fan).
  • Even though this AVA is very new, it has gained worldwide notoriety for it’s amazing Rhone-style wine, specifically Syrah.
  • One of the things that makes this area so unique is the effect the Blue Mountains has on this area. Consistent drainage from Basalt soils, carries cobblestones to the alluvial plain, where these cobblestones are deposited throughout the wine growing region. Looking at the pictures below, you will see a striking similarity to the Chateauneuf-du-Pape in the Rhone Valley region of France.
  • With only 470 acres planted to vines, 33 individual growers, and an area less than six square miles, this is an area that can be easily explored over a short vacation.
  • With the Walla Walla Valley AVA being named as best wine-growing region in the United States in back-to -back years (2020-2021), this small, special region within its boundaries is something to be experienced.