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Dundee Wine Tours in Willamette Valley

Touring the Wineries of the Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Dundee Wine Tours

If visiting the Willamette Valley for the best of Oregon wine, a custom Dundee Wine Tour is your ticket to see some of the oldest and most famous vineyards in the valley. Below we’ll discuss the details, geography, climate and notable wineries of this famous AVA.

About the Dundee Hills

The Dundee Hills AVA (American Viticultural Area) is a wine region located in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, in the United States. The region’s most famous wines are made from Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.

The history of the Dundee Hills AVA dates back to the early 20th century when the first wine grapes were planted in the region. In the decades that followed, the wine industry in the Dundee Hills grew and developed, and the region’s wines gained international recognition for their quality.

In 2004, the Dundee Hills AVA was officially recognized as a distinct wine region by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). It was granted its own AVA due to its ability to produce very high quality Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, thanks to its unique terroir.

Today, the Dundee Hills AVA is home to many wineries and vineyards. The region is unique in that many of the wineries in the region have a focus on sustainability and a large percentage practice organic and biodynamic principles.

Winderlea Vineyard and Winery. One of the more elegant tasting rooms in the Dundee Hills AVA, Willamette Valley.

Dundee Hills Geology

The soils of the Dundee Hills AVA play a significant role in the character and quality of the region’s wines. Getting a sense of the terroir on a Dundee wine tour is one of the more educational parts of touring this region (in fact, there is an old quarry near Holleran winery that gives visitors a cross section view of the volcanic soil and basalt rock underneath. Here is a more detailed analysis of the soils of the Dundee Hills AVA:

  • Soil type: The soils in the Dundee Hills are mostly well-draining, with a high pH and low fertility. The region’s soils are primarily made up of volcanic soil (called “Jory” soils) and volcanic rocks, such as basalt. These rocks are rich in minerals, which contribute a unique characteristic to the wines.
  • Soil structure: The soils are mostly made up of a volcanic Jory soils. This structure allows for good water and air circulation, which is important for the growth and development of grapevines.
  • Soil pH: The pH level of the soil in the Dundee Hills is fairly high, with a range of 6.5 to 7.5. This high pH helps reduce the risk of fungal diseases, which can be a problem in regions with lower pH soils.
  • Soil fertility: The soils in the Dundee Hills are generally low in fertility, which is well-suited to the production of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris grapes. These grapes require well-draining soils and moderate levels of fertility, and the low fertility of the Dundee Hills soils can help to produce high-quality wines with delicate flavors and aromas.

What is the Climate of the Dundee Hills?

The climate of the Dundee Hills is cool and wet, with moderate temperatures and plenty of rainfall. The region has a maritime climate, with cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers. The region’s average temperature is 41°F (5°C) in the winter months and around 73°F (23°C) in the summer months with warmer summers predominating in the last decade due to climate change variation.

The relatively cool climate of the Dundee Hills (especially at night from the effects of the Van Duzer winds) allows the grapes to ripen slowly, which helps to preserve their natural acidity and produce high-quality wines. The cool climate also ensures a long growing season, which allows the grapes to develop complex flavors and aromas.

The climate of the Dundee Hills is also influenced by the region’s elevation, which ranges from around 200 to 1,000 feet (61 to 305 meters) above sea level. The higher elevations in the Dundee Hills can be cooler and wetter than the lower elevations, which can affect the ripening of the grapes and the character of the wines.

Overall, the climate of the Dundee Hills AVA plays a significant role in the character and quality of the region’s wines, and it is an important part of the region’s unique terroir. The region’s cool, wet climate is well-suited to the production of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris grapes, and it helps to produce high-quality wines with delicate flavors and aromas sought after by those on Dundee wine tours.

Dundee Wine Tour Notable Wineries

There are many wineries in the region, but here are a few of the most famous and fun wineries to visit on a wine tour of Dundee Hills:

  • Archery Summit: Archery Summit is known for producing high-quality Pinot Noir since 1993. The winery is known for its commitment to sustainability and their use of traditional winemaking techniques. Archery Summit’s wines are highly sought after by wine lovers around the world.
  • Domaine Drouhin Oregon: Domaine Drouhin Oregon is known for producing high-quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. The winery was founded in 1988, and it is a sister winery to Maison Joseph Drouhin in Burgundy, France. Domaine Drouhin Oregon’s wines are highly sought after by wine lovers around the world.
  • Lange Estate Winery and Vineyards: Lange Estate Winery is best known for their wines made from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris. The winery was founded in 1988, and like many of the wineries in the area, has a commitment to sustainable winemaking and vineyard management practices.
  • Stoller Family Estate: Stoller Family Estate produces excellent Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris, and has been producing high quality wines since 1999. Stoller’s ability to handle larger groups makes this a favorite for many large parties on wine tours of Dundee.
  • White Rose Estate: White Rose Estate is known for producing high-quality whole-cluster Pinot Noir wines. The winery was founded in 2003, and it is known for its focus on sustainable practices and its commitment to producing wines that reflect the character of the region’s terroir.
  • Alexana Winery: Alexana Winery has been producing high-quality Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris wines since 2005.
  • Winderlea: Winderlea is a winery known for producing high-quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. The winery is relatively newer compared to many of the other wineries featured and was founded in 2006. Winderlea’s modern tasting room with glass on three sides makes this a favorite spot to catch a fantastic valley view while on a Dundee wine tour.
  • Bergström Wines: Bergström Wines produces wines made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The winery was founded in 1998, and it is known for its focus on producing wines that reflect the character of the region’s terroir. The private elevated tasting at their Ekelon Dundee tasting room is a perennial favorite.
  • Knudsen Vineyards: Knudsen Vineyards has been producing excellent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay since 1971, making it one of the older wineries in the area. This famous vineyard was one of the primary vineyards used by Dick Erath as he built his name and reputation as a winemaker in Willamette Valley. 
  • Cramoisi Vineyards: Cramoisi Vineyards produces Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The winery was founded in 2002, and it is known for its focus on producing wines that reflect the character of the region’s terroir.

What is the future of the Dundee Hills?

It is difficult to predict the exact future of the Dundee Hills AVA, as it will depend on various factors such as changes in consumer demand, advances in winemaking technology, and shifts in the global economy. However, it is likely that the Dundee Hills AVA will continue to be a prominent wine region in Oregon, known for producing high-quality Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris wines. The wineries in the Dundee Hills AVA may continue to focus on sustainable practices and the production of wines that reflect the character of the region’s terroir. Additionally, it is possible that the region will continue to see growth in wine tourism, as more and more people discover the beauty and diversity of the Dundee Hills AVA.

Click to plan your Willamette Valley Wine Tours.

Go deeper: Willamette Valley AVAs.

References

1.https://dundeehills.org/experiences/

2.https://www.willamettewines.com/about-the-valley/ava-overviews/dundee-hills/

3.https://wineryhuntoregon.com/best-wineries-dundee-hills-north/

Want to read more? Try these books!

Lonely Planet Pocket Portland & the Willamette Valley 2 Hidden History- Of the Central Willamette Valley

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