DUNDEE, Ore., March 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Over 25 wineries and independent vineyard owners, representing 44,000 cases of Dundee Hills wines and 1,300 acres of vineyards, have united to form the Dundee Hills Winegrowers Association (DHWA). Defining the Dundee Hills as "The heart and soil of Oregon wine," the Association demonstrates a unique relationship between soil, climate and vintners, as expressed in world-class wines. "The Dundee Hills are the epicenter of Oregon Pinot Noir," says DHWA President Sean Carlton of Archery Summit Winery. "Our red volcanic soils have long served as an expression of place, and a bottle of wine with 'Dundee Hills' on the label pinpoints that origin." Quality wine production in the Dundee Hills was initiated over 40 years ago, when pioneers such as David Lett of Eyrie, Dick Erath and the Sokol Blossers cleared south-facing slopes to plant many of Oregon's first vineyards. Their faith in the Dundee Hills was confirmed in 1979 when Lett's 1975 Pinot Noir twice placed among the top three in a French-sponsored tasting of international Burgundies. Other wineries took note, including renowned Burgundy producer Maison Joseph Drouhin who embraced the Dundee Hills as the next frontier in Burgundian varietals. Drouhin's decision to purchase 225 acres and build a winery ricocheted around the wine world, squarely placing the Dundee Hills -- and Oregon -- on center stage for premium Pinot Noirs. Located 28 miles southwest of Portland and 40 miles form the Pacific Ocean, the Dundee Hills AVA (American Viticultural Area) encompasses 6,490 acres. The hills are effectively an island in the center of the sprawling Willamette Valley AVA, buffered from extreme weather patterns often associated with the Columbia River Gorge, and benefiting from warmer nights and less frost than adjacent valley floors. The region's geology dates back 15-17 million years ago when lava flows from northeast Oregon pushed into the Willamette Valley, covering all but the highest hills. The catastrophic Missoula floods 10-15,000 years ago deposited a blanket of sediment on land below the 200 ft. elevation, sparing the original red volcanic hills above the small town of Dundee. Today, the 200 ft. contour line defines the Dundee Hills AVA. "Benchmark wines require years of experience and teamwork between growers and winemakers, along with a solid understanding and appreciation for the soils and climate," says Carlton. "We invite people to taste how exceptional fruit, great winemaking and a shared sense of community are reflected in our wines." DHWA Members: Wineries: Archery Summit, Argyle, DePonte Cellars, Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Domaine Serene, Erath Vineyards, Eyrie Vineyards, Four Graces, Lange Estate, Sokol Blosser Winery, Stoller Vineyards, Thistle Wines, Winter's Hill Vineyard, White Rose. Vineyards: 45th Parallel North, A&G, Bella Vida, Bergstrom, Black Walnut, Durant, Juliard, La Colina, Murto, Two Barns, Vista Hills. Retail: Wine Country Farm Cellars. For further information, visit www.dundeehills.org.
SOURCE Dundee Hills Winegrowers Association