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Overview of Van Duzer Corridor AVA Wine Region

Background  

Situated around 40 miles (64 km) east of the Pacific Ocean and 50 miles (80 km) southwest of Portland, the Van Duzer Corridor AVA is a part of the Willamette Valley AVA. The Van Duzer Corridor, a natural break in the Coast Range that produces 40–50% greater afternoon winds than other Willamette Valley AVAs, is the reason behind the AVA’s name. Wines with greater phenolic structure, densely structured tannins, and hard acidity are produced when grape skin-to-pulp ratios are increased and average temperatures are lowered due to direct coastal wind exposure[1]. The AVA was officially established in 2019 and has become a great destination for wine lovers. Situated 20 miles northwest of Salem, the Van Duzer Corridor AVA encompasses 59,871 acres. Six commercially bonded wineries and eighteen commercial vineyards are located in the area. This post takes us through the overview of the AVA.

Van Duzer Corridor AVA
Van Duzer Corridor AVA | Source

Historic process of becoming an official AVA

The process of making Van Duzer Corridor AVA took approximately seven years since the initial proposals were make. It was in 2011 when Jeff Havlin, the owner of Fender’s Rest Vineyard, organized a meeting of nearby winery and vineyard owners to review the AVA options they had at the time[2]. They were aware that their soils (marine sedmentary with basalt on the top of siltstone bedrock) were unique to the region, but the vegetation was the major determinant.

Perrydale Hills was the planned AVA name, and it was the main issue with the application they filed to the TTB in 2012. It turns out that Havlin’s group’s claim that the region is known as the Perrydale Hills is unsupported by any historical evidence. As a result, they filed a fresh application under the name Van Duzer Corridor. Everything proceeded as normal until January 2017. New rules, including the approval of new AVAs, were promptly halted by President Donald Trump upon taking office. After a while, the moratorium was lifted, and the procedure continued. Eight years since the first proposal the area was officially designated as an AVA in January 14, 2019.

Discussion of soil types        

In addition to some elevated basalt, soils in the AVA are mostly uplifted marine sedimentary loams and silts with alluvial overlay. The bedrock is siltstone, and the soils are usually shallow and well-drained. Because the high silt and clay content of the soils buffers against an abrupt rise or fall in pH, the soil’s overall pH level is balanced. Because the buffering effect increases the soils’ capacity to maintain a steady pH level, vineyards benefit from it. The soils directly outside the northern and western borders, on the other hand, come from distinct soil classes. The soils have larger quantities of basalt and other volcanic elements further to the north and west.

Climate         

There is low cumulative growing degree-day (GDD) accumulations and high wind speeds that are characteristic of the Van Duzer Corridor climate. The thicker grape skins and higher amounts of phenolic compounds in the fruit are caused by the AVA’s continuously high winds. The winds, however, are slower in the AVA’s northeast and southeast sides. Compared to the adjacent areas to the north and southeast, the Van Duzer Corridor has smaller GDD accumulations, suggesting that its average temperature is lower[3]. In comparison to the same grape varietal cultivated in an area with higher GDD accumulations, the milder temperatures cause the fruit to develop more slowly, resulting in a longer hang period. The longer hanging period lowers the acidity level.

Key wineries in Van Duzer Corridor AVA

The following are some of the most popular wineries in Van Duzer Corridor AVA.

Andante Vineyard

The winery is located along 3855 Morris Rd, Dallas, OR 97338. It concentrates in wines like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Rose, and Sauvignon Blanc.

Andante Vineyard
Andante Vineyard | Source

Andante Vineyard, which is situated in the Van Duzer AVA’s undulating hills, is known for its remarkable wines, stunning scenery, and kind personnel. The vineyards are salmon safe and sustainably certified by LIVE.

Why Andante Vineyard

In addition to a delightful tour of the winery, you may explore the nearby Baskett Slough National animals Refuge, which has a number of hiking paths perfect for seeing animals, at the end of your tasting experience.

Johan Vineyards

The vineyards are located in 4285 N Pacific Hwy W, Rickreall, OR 97371. It is well-known for Melon de Bourgogne, Petillant-Natural, Sparkling Wines, Grüner Veltliner, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Blaufränkisc.

Located near Rickreall, 15 minutes northwest of Salem, Johan Vineyards, an 85-acre organic and biodynamic winery and vineyard, is a great destination for wine lovers. The Van Duzer Corridor’s chilly evening temperatures and afternoon ocean breezes produce wines with more acidity and complexity that is Burgundian in inspiration[4].  Wine varietals, including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Vin Gris, Blaufrankisch, and Grüner Veltliner, are produced in small, handcrafted batches for each wine. Both professional critics and amateur wine tasters frequently compliment Johan’s wines, with reviews for the winery and tasting room praising the welcoming and knowledgeable personnel.

Why chose the winery

The wines are made through the natural methods and are more biodynamic.

Eola Hills Wine Cellars (Legacy Estate)

Eola Hills Wine Cellars
Eola Hills Wine Cellars (Legacy Estate) | Source

Established in 2008, Legacy Estate Vineyard is owned by Eola Hills Wine Cellars, a well-known winery in Oregon. With its prime location on a hillside facing southwest and scattered with native White Oak trees, Legacy offers breathtaking views of the Coast Range and Willamette Valley[5].

Why chose the winery

It has great hiking sites.

Left Coast Estate

Left Coast Estate
Left Coast Estate | Source

Situated on a nearly 500-acre estate, Left Coast produces 142 acres of grapes on mostly sedimentary soil that was set down during the Missoula floods, with some volcanic soil mixed in. Everything Left Coast Estate does is centered on sustainability. The majority of the estate’s power needs are met by the ground- and roof-mounted solar arrays, which they installed after receiving the largest USDA grant in Oregon in 2008. The vineyards and wineries have both Salmon Safe and LIVE certifications. In addition to several outdoor areas where you can enjoy your wines, the stunning property features a walking track that cuts through the vineyards and oak woodland.

Why chose the winery

Intriguing apple ciders are also made by Left Coast Estate, if you are curious about other fruit fermentations.

Van Duzer Vineyards

Intrigued by the microclimate’s potential and its capacity to yield expressive Pinot Noir, owners Carl and Marilynn Thoma were among the first to establish their family estate in the foothills at the mouth of the Van Duzer Corridor in 1998[6]. Every year, a long and fruitful growth season is ensured for the 84 planted acres of the estate because they are positioned directly under the path of coastal winds. These winds reduce the temperatures over the vineyard.

Why chose the winery

Van Duzer is a founding vineyard within the AVA of the Van Duzer Corridor. Enjoy fine wines in a stunning tasting room when you visit.

Conclusion

The Van Duzer Corridor has proved to significantly impact the McMinnville and Eola-Amity Hills AVAs, as mentioned in the post, but it may have the most effect on the vineyards around Dallas and Rickreall.  The Van Duzer Corridor AVA’s wineries produce more complex wines and longer hang times for their grapes due to the corridor’s cooling impact.

Quick Facts:

  • It was established in 2019
  • It has 6 wineries, 6 tasting rooms and 18 vineyards.
  • Total Area: 59,850 acres
  • Planted Area: 1,000 acres
  • Most common grape varieties: Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Pinot gris, Riesling, Pinot blanc, Sauvignon blanc

This Day in History

  • December 13, 2018: On this day, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved the creation of Van Duzer Corridor AVA.
  • January 14, 2019: On this day, Van Duzer Corridor AVA was officially created after a long wait since the 2011 initial proposal.

Read More:

https://thisdayinwinehistory.com/willamette-valley-wine-avas/

https://thisdayinwinehistory.com/history-of-willamette-valley/

Map

van-duzer-corridor-ava
Van Duzer Corridor AVA | Source

References

[1] VAN DUZER VINEYARDS, “Our Story,” https://www.vanduzer.com/van-duzer-corridor-ava

[2] Michael Alberty, “Oregon gets new American Viticultural Area,” (Dec. 22nd 2018), https://www.registerguard.com/story/news/2018/12/23/oregon-gets-new-american-viticultural/6572508007/
[3] Federal Register, “Establishment of the Van Duzer Corridor Viticultural Area and Clarification of the Eola-Amity Hills Viticultural Area Boundary Description,” (14th, Dec 2018) https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/12/14/2018-27017/establishment-of-the-van-duzer-corridor-viticultural-area-and-clarification-of-the-eola-amity-hills
 

Want to read more? Try these books!

The Widow Clicquot- The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It (P.S.) Champagne- How the World's Most Glamorous Wine Triumphed Over War and Hard Times 

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