Week 1: Select answers
Week 1: Oregon Wine 101 sets the scene for all other Oregon wine education by providing an overview of the region. Access the curriculum.
Congratulations to the week 1 prize winners! They won Oregon wine water bottles. Whoo!
Evan White, Lead Sommelier at Babbo Ristorante
Margo Keogh, Wine Associate at Vino Volo
>>What are the 4 mountain ranges that influence the winegrowing regions of Oregon? Provide one example of a mountain range and its influence on that region.
A view of the Columbia River Gorge and the Cascade Mountains on either side.
Evan White, Lead Sommelier at Babbo Ristorante:
The four ranges are: the Siskiyou Mountains at the very southern end; the Coast Range to the west of Willamette Valley; the Cascade Range on the opposite side; and the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon.
The Coast Range to the west of the Willamette Valley illustrates a classic example of a “rain shadow effect” whereby harsh weather and precipitation from the nearby Pacific is blocked, keeping the vineyards dry and warm during the crucial months of the growing season. The range also provides slopes that provide drainage (via gravity), elevation and favorable sun exposure, all of which lead to excellent quality grapes.
>>What are 5 words you think best describe Oregon wine? List the words and explain why.
A compilation of responses to this question.
Margo Keogh, Wine Associate at Vino Volo:
1. Integrity – With Oregon’s strict labeling guidelines, this keeps the integrity of the wine and the wine producers. This allows Oregon wines to hold their own against any other region in the world with strict labeling guidelines.
2. Sustainability – There is an ongoing commitment to maintaining the soil and growing regions. There are many B-Corp and Demeter BioDynamic wineries here and many are looking to be Live certified and or seek craft certifications.
3. Community – From the earliest days, there has always been a community spirit among the wineries and vineyards. This is evident from the laws passed, the willingness to share knowledge and the coming together to get Oregon wines noticed as a world class wine producing region.
4. Independent – While there is a community, there is also the independence of winemakers/growers here in Oregon. This is especially true with the growth of small wine producers (5000 cases or less). The feeling that it’s OK to make wine in your garage and see what you can do. It’s that Oregon independent spirit that allows for diversity, experimenting and the making of great wines.
5. Forward – There is a lot of forward thinking in the Oregon wine region. The next several generations will continue to reap the benefits of what the first Oregon winemakers established. For instance, the ‘founders’ worked hard to get laws passed, i.e. Senate Bill 100. There is also a lot of research being done right now on the soil and changing weather patterns. By being armed with data, the next generations will be able to plan, plant and continue to grow Oregon wines.