The Umpqua Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) consists of 1,100 acres of grapes, with 60 vineyards and 12 wineries. Located between the Coast Range and the Cascade Range, this Oregon wine growing region produces the expected Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris, but also some outstanding wines such as Syrah and Tempranillo. If you are looking for excellent red and white varietals, try exploring the wines of the Umpqua Valley.
History. The first vineyards were planted in Umpqua Valley in the 1880s. After prohibition (during which Oregon farmers continued to make wine in their basements and bathrooms), the first commercial planting of vineyards in Umpqua Valley took place in 1961, and in 1969 the Oregon Winegrowers Association was founded. This Oregon AVA was approved in 1984.
Climate and soil. The Umpqua Valley grows both cool and warm climate grapes, thanks to its diverse climate. The Northern area has a cooler climate, the Central area both cool and warm weather, and the Southern area’s climate is warm and dry. Umpqua Valley’s soils are varied as well, being mixes of metamorphic, sedimentary and volcanic rock.
Wines. Umpqua Valley produces mainly Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Syrah and Tempranillo wines. The warmer areas of this Oregon AVA produce Merlot, Cabernet, and Grenache as well.
Vineyards and Wineries. Below are just a few of the many fine vineyards and wineries to be found in the Umpqua Valley AVA. Recommendations on wines are also included.
Becker Vineyards. This small family-owned and operated Umpqua Valley winery produces wonderful Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Despite the small size of this winery, you will find their wines to be very big! For an excellent example, try their 2008 Pinot Gris, a lovely white wine with aromas of apples and pears and flavors that are crisp and clean. They also have a Cabernet Sauvignon (2008) that is full-bodied and chocolatey, with aromas of hazelnuts and dark fruit. To learn more about these Oregon wines click here.
Chateau Nonchalant. This Oregon vineyard provides Pinot Noir, Syrah and Tempranillo grapes for wineries in both the Umpqua and Willamette Valleys. They also produce their own Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Pinot Gris. Stop in and try their 2006 Syrah, reminiscent of the Rhone-style Syrah wines with floral aroma and flavors of oak and spice. Their 2007 Pinot Gris is also outstanding, a very crisp wine with aromas of lemon and lime as well as pear flavors. To learn more about this Oregon vineyard click here.
Misty Oaks Vineyards. Six varietals are planted in these 15 acres of Oregon vineyards, divided into distinct growing acres that produce some wonderful and award-winning wines. Try their 2006 Friendswood Gewurztraminer, with aromas of rose and orange blossoms and crisp flavors that include mango and spice. Also try their 2006 Jones Road Cabernet Franc, an exciting wine that tastes of raspberries, cherries and a touch of mint. For more information on this Oregon vineyard click here.