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Top 6 Wine Books to Read Before Visiting Willamette Valley

Farm Land during Sunset

There are a lot of great wine books out there that one can read before embarking on a particular wine tour. Identifying the right ones to read, which are related to your destination is important. Check out our list below for some of the most relevant wine books on Willamette Valley to read before your Oregon wine tour.

  1. Grail, The: A year ambling & shambling through an Oregon vineyard in pursuit of the best pinot noir wine in the whole wild world Paperback – Illustrated, April 10, 2006, by Brian Doyle

The Grail book on Willamette Valley By Brian Doyle

In the book, a self-described wine doofus spends a year in a small vineyard in Oregon and documents the inventive and chaotic work as the winemakers seek out the ideal pinot noir. It is a great book for you to read. Run-on sentences, rhyming, alliteration, and stylized dialogue all combine into a bacchanalian use of language that embodies Portland magazine editor Doyle’s happy outlook on both life and wine.

For evidence, look no further than the book’s subtitle. Dry facts are made into enjoyable tidbits thanks to the author’s witty storytelling and contagious sense of humor. In his description of the pollination process of grape vines, for example, listen to some of his more wild allusions “the wild seething scene in the vineyard, the vines fertilizing each other madly when no one is looking, the little tiny cigarettes, and the recriminations at dawn.”

These memories are nuanced and complex, much like the wine Doyle describes.

  1. Pinot Girl: A Family. A Region. An Industry. Paperback – May 6, 2020, by Anna Maria Ponzi

Pinot Girl A Family by Anna Ponzi. Book on Willamette Valley

“Pinot Girl: A Family. A Region. An Industry.” is a memoir written by Anna Maria Ponzi, a third-generation winemaker from Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The book tells the story of Ponzi’s life growing up in the wine industry, following in her family’s footsteps to become a winemaker herself, and navigating the challenges and successes of the industry. Ponzi describes the history and development of Oregon’s wine industry, particularly the growth of Pinot Noir as a popular and high-quality varietal in the region. She also delves into the personal and family dynamics of running a winery, including the difficulties of balancing business and personal relationships, and the importance of sustainability and community involvement in the industry.

  1. Oregon Wine: A Deep-Rooted History (American Palate) Paperback – May 20, 2019, by Scott Stursa

Oregon wine history book

This is one of the best wine books to read before visiting Willamette Valley. Although there are several well-known myths about Oregon’s winemaking history that have been accepted as gospel, the truth is much more fascinating. Find out who actually founded the first commercial winery in the state and where the renowned Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley actually came from by reading this book.

Learn about the bold Italian Americans of Portland who operated home wineries during Prohibition and the thriving agriculture that helped fruit wine become so famous. Places like HillCrest and Eyrie Vineyards have been serving Oregonians for fifty years, starting with the nineteenth-century winemakers and continuing through the current business, which comprises more than nine hundred wineries. With author Scott Stursa by your side, explore the overlooked history of Oregon wine and raise a glass to its bright future.

  1. Winemakers of the Willamette Valley: Pioneering Vintners from Oregon’s Wine Country (American Palate) Paperback – September 24, 2013, by Vivian Perry and John Vincent

Willamette Valley wine books

18 local winemakers who have contributed to the most recent chapters of Oregon’s wine history are profiled in depth by authors Vivian Perry and John Vincent in this book. These winemakers combine passion with expertise, intuition with experience, and business sense with a constant quest for quality, much like many others across Oregon. This book, which is replete with color images and graphics, is essential for locals, travelers, and connoisseurs alike.

  1. Lonely Planet Pocket Portland & the Willamette Valley 2 (Pocket Guide) Paperback – Folded Map, November 29, 2022, by Celeste Brash and MaSovaida Morgan

Lonely Planet Pocket Portland & the Willamette Valley. Portland Wine Books.

Pocket Lonely Planet Portland & the Willamette Valley is your neighborhood-by-neighborhood guide to the city’s top attractions and everyday life. With your reliable travel buddy, explore the Saturday Market, sip artisan beer, and discover Washington Park. Make the most of your trip by exploring Portland and the Willamette Valley at their best!

  1. An Environmental History of the Willamette Valley (Natural History) Paperback – March 25, 2019, by Elizabeth Orr and William Orr

An Environmental History of the Willamette Valley book cover

The immense wilderness that was formerly the Willamette Basin in western Oregon quickly transformed into a bustling town. According to this book, the majority of the brave pioneers who arrived in the valley when Oregon territory was made available for homesteading in the early 1800s led to quick changes in the environment. The valley attracted farmers, miners, and loggers due to its reputation of being rich and abundant in natural resources. These individuals were swiftly followed by the building of roads and train lines. Dams were constructed to control the once-uncontrolled Willamette River and supply the expanding population with electricity. People like Edward Bennett, a Portland architect, and Governor Tom McCall, an environmentalist, pushed to control urban sprawl as cities grew. The renowned Willamette Valley of Oregon was shaped by changes that are vividly described by authors Elizabeth and William Orr.

Those are some of our top book recommendations to read before visiting the Willamette Valley!

To book a wine tour for tasting the best Pinot’s in Willamette Valley, click here.

Want to read more books on Willamette Valley? Try these!

Lonely Planet Pocket Portland & the Willamette Valley 1 (Pocket Guide) Willamette Valley, Oregon 

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