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by Fred McMillin
The Valley That Couldn't
In Oregon, the Cascade Mountains rise abruptly 60 to 100 miles from the Pacific Ocean, dividing the state into a cool and humid western section and a drier, more continental eastern area. The Cascades intercept the east-moving, rain-bearing winds that dump up to 100 inches a year of rain on the western side. Thus, the eastern side is grape country. It's low humidty and low winter temperatures minimize fungal diseases and vine pests. So, all major wine production in the northwest U.S.A. is located east of those mountains.
The Rest of the Story
WAIT! There is one valley west of the Cascades that can grow vines beautifully. It is cooler than Burgundy, cooler than the Napa Valley, but warmer than the great German Riesling-grape area. Fortunately, most of its 50 inches of rain fall outside of the critical growing period. It is the Willamette (will-LAM-et) valley, and it produced...
Our Wine of the Day
1998 Duck Pond Pinot Gris
Postscript—Call the Swat Team!
We mentioned that there's plenty of rain in Oregon. So what is their state bird? It's the mosquito!
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10/09/00—A Knight Delight
10/06/00—An Act of Faith
10/05/00—EXTRA! EXTRA! World Series Winnah!!
10/04/00—Field Stone Makes Way For Chardonnay
10/03/00—Big Wine, Small Price
This page created October 2000