About the Chehalem Mountains A-V-A
The contiguous land mass, known as the Chehalem (pronounced “Sha-HAY-lum”) Mountains, is home to an estimated 150 vineyards. With an average size of 12.5 acres, this patchwork of small, family-owned vineyards, on varying soil types, and elevations from 200 to well over 1000 feet above sea level, is an exciting source for exquisite wines.
Cherry, Black Tea, & Cinnamon
The vines of the Willamette Valley (& Chehalem Mountains) 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.
Some of the more bold Pino Noir wines come from the Chehalem Mountains A-V-A. Expect Cherry, black tea, and cinnamon.
The Chehalem Mountains A-V-A is a single uplifted landmass, in the northern Willamette Valley. It is the geography, climate & soils that differentiate this A-V-A from others. All three important hillside soil types are represented, basaltic, ocean sedimentary, and luss (blown lake bed sediment), the predominant soil on the northern face of the Chehalem Mountains.
The Chehalem Mountains American Viticultural Area includes several wine growing regions gaining independent recognition for their wines. Currently, the most well known of these is the distinctive Ribbon Ridge A-V-A.
The Chehalem Mountains and Ribbon Ridge A-V-A reflect millions of years of soil accretion, mixing, blowing, and uplift, creating a rich geological experiment, in one tightly packed geographical area. Within this one region there are ancient, uplifted sedimentary seabeds; weathered rich red soils from lava flows, down the Columbia River; and relatively new glacial sediment, scoured from western states, and blown onto north facing hillsides in tumultuous windstorms.
Let me know if you want to learn more about the Ribbon Ridge A-V-A, HERE.
Soils so violently and differently formed, pass on a predictable complexity and unique taste in the wines. Encompassing over 100 square miles, the A-V-A touches 3 counties (Yamhill, Washington and Clackamas).
More about their soils here
Pino and Place
More than any other grape varietal, Pino Noir reflects where it is grown. The diverse topography of the Chehalem Mountains provides a wide variety of opportunities for Pino to express itself. Mountains set our A-V-A apart from others.
A Palette for your Palate
While best known for Pino Noir, the Chehalem Mountains and Ribbon Ridge A-V-A are also ideal for other cool climate wine grape varieties, such as Chardonnay, Pino Gri, Riesling, Pino Blonc, Gamay Noir, and Gewurztraminer. Many of their wineries also select and import choice grapes from warmer regions in Washington and Oregon, and offer special Bordeaux blends - Syrahs, Barberas, Sangioveses, and more.
Characters with Character
Family owned vineyards are nurtured with knowledge and care. During harvest, you’ll likely find winery crews enthusiastically aided by family, friends, and neighbors, working together to pick and sort the grapes by hand. If you happen to be up at 5 a.m. or still up at 10 p.m., you will surely find tireless winemakers balancing on the edges of large vats, punching down the grape skins, so their color, and flavors, can be extracted into the juice, as it becomes wine. You will also see, new barrels, and old stacked four high, being topped off by an enterprising assistant. Here, great wines are made with pride and passion.
History of the Chehalem Mountains
This region has a rich history from native American roots, early European settlements, and the viticultural landscape it has come to be known for today.
The First Residents
“It may be assumed that the modern word Chehalem comes from the Indian name Chahelim, listed under the heading Atfalati (Tualatin), a division of the Kalapooian family of Indians. There were more than 20 of these bands, all living in the general vicinity of the Chehalem Mountains.”
The word “Chehalem” appears to have entered the vocabulary of the early European settlers, in the north Willamette Valley, prior to eighteen forty. In 1834, Ewing Young came to Oregon from California, and purchased much of what is now known as the Chehalem Valley. He installed a lumber mill on Chehalem Creek, and after eighteen thirty seven, raised cattle in the Valley. In 1848 Joseph B. Rogers, had the town of “Chehalem” platted, on property he owned, where Newberg stands today. It had one of the earliest post offices in Yamhill County (established March 14, 1851) but it closed within a year. Soon after that Rogers died, and the town of Chehalem passed into obscurity.
The First Vineyards
The first modern vineyard on the Chehalem Mountains dates back to 1968, when Dick Erath purchased 49 acres from the Dopp Family on Dopp Road. He called the property “Chehalem Mountain Vineyards”, and started planting it the following spring. Other pioneers including David Adelsheim, of Adelsheim Vineyard, Dick and Nancy Ponzi, of Ponzi Vineyards, and Paul Hart of Rex Hill Vineyard, planted their vineyards in the Chehalem Mountains soon after. Harry Peterson-Nedry of Chehalem winery, planted the first Pino Noir on Ribbon Ridge in 1980.
Welcome to the Chehalem Mountains A-V-A
Let me know if you have any questions.
Let me know if you have any questions.