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Overview of Laurelwood AVA Wine Region

Background

Situated on the northern slopes of the Chehalem Mountains AVA, the 33,600-acre Laurelwood District American Viticultural Areas (AVA) includes Cornelius, Scholls, and Sherwood. The iron-rich Missoula Flood loess soil, which contributes to the distinctive character of the wines, sets this AVA apart. Considering that it was approved in June 2020, the Laurelwood District AVA is among the newest AVAs in Oregon [1]. The petition was supported by principals from Dion Vineyards and Ponzi Vineyards. Including more than 25 wineries and 70 vines, this AVA is nestled within the Chehalem Mountains AVA.

Lauralwood AVA Wine Region
Lauralwood AVA Wine Region | Source

Date and process for when it became official AVA

One of Oregon’s newest AVAs, the Laurelwood District AVA, was authorized in June 2020. Its petition was supported by Ponzi Vineyards and Dion Vineyards principals. The pioneer vintners filed the petition in 2016.

Climate

Lauralwood AVA experiences warm weather all year round. Summers are usually dry and warm, while winters are usually cool and damp. There are only five to fifteen days a year when temperatures rise above 90 °F (32 °C), and once every 25 years, they fall below 0 °F (−18 °C)[2]. The coldest months of the year—late fall, early winter, and early spring—are when the most rainfall happens. Snowfall in the area ranges from 5 inches (13 cm) to 10 inches (25 cm) annually.

Soil types

The Laurelwood AVA’s soil is composed of the underlying volcanic/Jory sub-soil and loess, an established soil type composed of windblown silty loam. The soil here gives the Pinot noir grapes a distinctive flavor profile.

Key wineries in Lauralwood AVA

Alloro Vineyard

Alloro Vineyard
Alloro Vineyard | Source

The 34-acre Alloro vineyard, which spans a west-to-east southern aspect on Laurel Ridge, was first planted in 1999 and is dedicated to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Muscat. Located in a varied landscape evocative of the Old World, Alloro is an integrated farm featuring registered Hereford cattle, sheep, lamb, and goats[3]. The vineyard, which is situated between 450 and 700 feet above sea level, has a special mix of soils that provide ideal circumstances for dry farming that is sustainable and LIVE Certified Sustainable. To put it briefly, this is a must-do tasting event in the Chehalem Mountains of Sherwood.

This is why you should the winery for your next wine tour. The winery is breathtakingly gorgeous. It gives the impression that the taster is in Italy.

Blakeslee Vineyard Estate

Blakeslee Vineyard Estate
Blakeslee Vineyard Estate | Source

Situated just 25 minutes southwest of Portland and 5 minutes from Sherwood, Blakeslee is highly regarded for its entire selection of Oregon wines, superb hospitality, and ease of access to the metro. The 25-year-old vineyard, formerly called Quail Hill Vineyard, was acquired by Bill and Sheila Blakeslee in 2005[4]. Since then, the Blakeslee family has added a tasting room with stunning views of Mount Hood and the vineyard. Jim Sanders, renowned for his work at Aubichon and Le Cadeau, makes the wines. From their estate vineyard, Blakeslee produces a wide variety of classic Oregon varietals, such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Rosé, Riesling, and a delightful White Pinot Noir.

Why chose the winery. Blakeslee boasts a pool and clubhouse, making it one of the most exquisite and distinctive tasting rooms available.

Benza Vineyards

Oregon’s newest AVA, the Laurelwood District, features 15 acres planted to Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay. Grown and produced classic Oregon varietals and sparkling wine, Benza Vineyards is situated in the picturesque countryside west of Sherwood and south of Hillsboro. In 2017, Ron Benza and Trish Damkroger acquired the 22-year-old vineyard and have been diligently establishing their winery ever since[5]. Laurelwood District AVA was founded recently, and the wines are all exceptional and testament to its potential. You can have tastings inside the renovated horse barn or on the lovely back patio with views of the vineyard.

Dion Vineyards

pergola-designs-for-patios
Pergola Design for Patios | source

Dion Vineyards, a hidden gem in the countryside south of Hillsboro, was founded by grape growers. The oldest grapes were planted in 1973 by the parents of Kevin Johnson, the owner and winemaker. These ancient vines are still employed by Dion Vineyards to produce concentrated, well-balanced wines. Kevin Klingner works with his wife Beth Klingner to manage and produce wine at their family winery. Known for their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Dion also produces two delightfully bubbly bottlings.

These are the key reasons why you should visit Dion vineyards. The Laurelwood District AVA was established with the help of Kevin and Beth, which makes these two winemakers most qualified to take you through the history of the AVA while enjoying their great wines.

Hawks View Winery

Hawks View Winery, an estate vineyard three miles west of Sherwood’s center, produces wines with exceptional characteristics and quality. The winery was established in 2007 and has stunning views of Mount Hood, lovely grounds, and a sophisticated tasting room. In addition to wine by the glass and bottle, wine tasters can also enjoy charcuterie boards and a flight of wines in the tasting room. For wine tasters who started their sampling later in the day, this is a terrific place to visit because the winery is open every day until 7 PM.

The winery’s vineyards, which are entirely planted on Laurelwood soil, are one of its best features and a wonderful example of the premium wines this region can produce.

Quick facts:

  • The Ava was officially established in June of 2020
  • It has 25 wineries in total, 25 tasting rooms, and 70 vineyards.
  • The total area is 33,600 acres, with 975 acres planted.
  • Most common grape varieties: Pinot noir, Pinot gris, Chardonnay

This Day in History:

  • June 2020: On this day, the Laurelwood District AVA was approved.

Read More:

https://thisdayinwinehistory.com/father-of-modern-wine-pinot-noir-and-its-extended-family-tree/

https://thisdayinwinehistory.com/oregon-tribes-history-and-wine-regions/

References

[1] Oregon Wine Board, “Laurelwood District AVA: Willamette Valley,” https://www.oregonwine.org/regions/willamette-valley/laurelwood-ava/ [2] Winerabble, “Oregon’s Laurelwood District AVA is all about the dirt! [infographic],” https://winerabble.com/oregons-laurelwood-district-ava-is-all-about-the-dirt-infographic/ [3] Alloro Vineyard, “Our Vineyard,” https://www.allorovineyard.com/About-Us/Our-Vineyard [4] Blakeslee Estate Vineyard, “Growing Top-Quality Oregon Pinot Noir For 25 Years,” https://blakesleevineyard.com/about-us/ [5] https://www.benza.com/

Want to read more? Try these books!

The Wine Lover's Apprentice- Words of Wisdom for Would-Be Oenophiles Shadows in the Vineyard
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