Late last summer, when Oregon was in its heatwave, we were in the Willamette Valley and spent a morning at Youngberg Hill with the owner and winemaker Wayne Bailey.
His vineyard is located in the McMinnville AVA a sub appellation within Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Until the Lower Long Tom AVA was approved, this was the most western AVA in the Willamette Valley. The AVA sits just west of the city of charming town of McMinnville in a rain shadow of the Coast Range Mountains.
This rain shadow means that they get considerably less rainfall than many of the regions around them. Many of the vineyards are on the south-facing slopes, which allows them to take in the cool winds of the Van Duzer Corridor from the Pacific. Here they get great diurnal shifts, (day to night temperature shifts), which means slower ripening and good acidity, as well as wind to keep the grapes dry and healthy.
Established in 2005 the AVA covers over 39,000 acres with just 749 planted to vineyards. , but many more sourcing grapes from the region. The vineyards roll down the foothills with elevations as high as 1000 feet rolling down to 200 feet.
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