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McMinnville, Eola-Amity, Van Duzer Corridor

Moving south of the city of McMinnville, we hit the final three sub-regions of the greater Willamette Valley.

This part of the valley feels different. You get this sense the moment you leave McMinnville and head south towards Corvallis. The flat core of the valley is striking, with the coast range emerging to your west, and the Eola-Amity hills to the east.

The defining thing of this entire area is the Van Duzer corridor, which is a dip in the coast range that allows the cold strong winds over the ocean to drive air into the area. Obviously, this makes for a whole different style of wine than the regions further north.

McMinnville AVA

The dual force of low-vigor marine soils and the cold winds from the ocean make McMinnville a particularly challenging place to grow grapes, which makes for a dynamic style of wine.

There are only 749 acres of vines in this area. My favorite vineyard in this region, and the largest (500 acres) is the Momtazi Vineyard (here’s a great article about this special place and family).

Winesearcher: McMinnville

Willamette Valley Wine: McMinnville

Eola-Amity AVA

The Eola-Amity Hills is one of our favorite areas to visit, and contains several of our favorite wineries (Left Coast, Bethel Heights, Bj√∂rnson, Walter Scott, Linga Franca, and more). It’s a terrific area in terms of terroir, with the cold breezes from the Van Duzer gap forming the foundation of the wines.

Winesearcher: Eola-Amity Hills

Willamette Valley Wines: Eola-Amity Hills

Van Duzer Corridor AVA

The newest AVA in this part of Willamette Valley is fully about the cool temperatures that blow in at night. The Van Duzer Corridor AVA also contains a certain amount of marine silt deposits, making for a curious situation: the vines grow well in the soil, but are stunted by the cold winds. The ripeness is high, but the acids are as well. Very interesting!

Winesearcher: Van Duzer Corridor

Willamette Valley Wines: Van Duzer Corridor

Portland Monthly: The Van Duzer Corridor: Is the Drama Worth It? (very interesting article, talking about the value of “Willamette Valley” vs. the lesser known Van Duzer.