Dundee Hills AVA
- established 2005
- The vines of the Willamette Valley (& Dundee Hills)
vineyards originate from the same vines found in Burgundy France, one of the
oldest wine growing regions in the world. Historically known to supply wine to
the Roman legions of Julius Caesar, these unique vines result in remarkable
red, white and rosé wines.
- The Dundee Hills were formed 15
million to 17 million years ago by fluid lava,
which left an iron rich red soil behind. This soil type is called "Jory" soil.
This was followed by a massive tectonic uplift of the earth roughly 5 million
years ago, producing the hills.
- The Dundee Hills are famous for red
clay-loam soils deposited by ancient basalt floods. This volcanic soil
has excellent mineral content and drainage. Add the benefits of dryer and
warmer weather than the surrounding areas, and the results are ideal
conditions for Pinot Noir. These exceptional growing conditions consistently
produce excellent wines, wines of great clarity, depth and character.
Raspberry & Black Tea
Some of the oldest vineyards are in this area including Eyrie Vineyards which
was the first to plant in 1965. Not only will you find excellent Pinot Noir, but
there’s also Chardonnay and sparkling wines. Dundee Hills has a high density of
wine grower’s here, making it a good area to visit.
The red dirt is
the secret to the flavor of the Dundee Hills grapes. Coupled with expert and
gentle winemaking, these wines have what the French call “gout de terrior”, the
taste of the land. Pinot Noir
from Dundee Hills offer up raspberry and black tea aromas.
Key Producers in Dundee
Four Graces, Domaine Serene, Roco Winery, Archery Summit, Domaine Drouhin, White
Rose, Eyrie Vineyards, Willful (Daedalus), Torii Mor & others
More about the Dundee Hills:
the Dundee Hills appellation:
Vineyards planted in the Dundee Hills of the northern Willamette Valley provided
the start for the modern wine industry of Oregon, in the late 1960’s and early
1970’s. This region is unique for its higher elevation, warmer nighttime
temperatures, less low-elevation fog and frost, and lava-based Jory soil series
of reddish silt, clay and loam soils.
volcanic soils have basalt as the mother rock, meaning they are well drained and
warm earlier, giving the vines a jumpstart. They are unusually deep for
hillsides, often 6 to 8 feet to bedrock, allowing the roots to grow deep. This,
along with the high percentage of clay, tends to hold moisture later into the
season than other soils in this area. The hills rise from the surrounding
valley, making air drainage exceptional. This means that spring and fall frosts
are all but avoided, and the hills enjoy the summer warmth of the Willamette
Valley. Signature flavors of spice, earth, and toast notes stand out strongly,
as well as dark fruitiness or subdued dark fruitiness abound. Red Hills wine
typically displays aromas of red fruits, strawberry, cherry and raspberry.
takes a long time to make a great winegrowing region ...
The Dundee Hills creation started about 15 to 17 million years ago when in far
eastern Washington very fluid lava erupted and flowed west over portions of
southwest Washington and the northern part of what is now the Willamette Valley.
During this period Basaltic Lava flowed right over the top of the Dundee Hills,
because at that point the hills did not exist. Starting about five million years
ago, mass tectonic uplift started to occur, as the North American plate slipped
under the Pacific plate. This created what are now the Coast Range of Oregon,
southwest Washington and northern California. One of the many ripple effects of
all of this land movement was the uplift of a single landmass which rose up from
above the now northern Willamette Valley floor, creating this very special place
our vineyards and wineries call home…the Dundee Hills.
Further defining our appellation were the catastrophic Missoula Floods. These
floods happened between 15,500 and 12,700 years ago, on the interval of one
flood every 60 to 90 years. The flood was caused by a glacier heading south
clogging rivers near Missoula, Montana. Lake Missoula would grow into a very
large lake, and every 60 to 90 years would break through the ice damn rushing
down from Montana into and eventually filling the Willamette Valley to a depth
of 300 to 330 feet. As each of these floods receded, a small layer of sediment
was laid down over the Willamette Valley, covering all elevations below 300 to
330 feet. This is where the real definition of the Dundee Hills became apparent.
Anything below 300 to 330 feet was a
sedimentary based soil, while anything
remaining above that elevation remained predominantly Jory soil.
Dundee Hills Pinot Pioneers
David Lett, of The Eyrie Vineyards, who is affectionately known as Papa Pinot,
made his way to the red hills in 1965 with the goal of finding the perfect cool
climate suitable for planting Pinot noir. Another early pioneer is Dick Erath of
Erath Winery, who arrived in 1967, planted his vines high up in the Dundee
Hills, and is still passionate about making high-quality, affordable Pinot noir.
Bill Blosser and Susan Sokol Blosser came to Dundee shortly after in 1971, and
continue to raise the bar for sustainable and organic vineyard management in
Oregon. And when Robert Drouhin purchased land in Dundee in the 1987, the
arrival of Domaine Drouhin brought the wine world’s attention to the Willamette