DALLAS, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s a new growing season in Willamette Valley vineyards — good news for winemakers in Oregon’s newest designated region.
The vineyards are part of a new sub-AVA — the Van Duzer Corridor. Wind, temperature, water and soil in different amounts can give you very different grape and the microclimate just west of Salem — about 60,000 acres in Polk and Yamhill Counties — falls along a natural break in the coast range just got the special recognition.
Andreas Wetzel, a winemaker and owner of the Wetzel Family of Wines, was one of several growers who worked to get the new Sub AVA designation. He explained looking over the Chateau Bianca winery vineyards, how the coastal breezes can have a huge impact.
The process took seven years to get federal approval from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau or TTB. After two different presidential administrations and a government shutdown, it was finally approved in January.
“Definitely something that got a little more stretched out than we expected,” winemaker Andreas Wetzel said.
But why go through all that effort? Vinters say it helps farmers demand a premium price for their grapes and gives wine produces a better idea of where to find certain characteristics. All that can bring up the price on a bottle and give Oregonians in the industry an economic boost.
“More and more we’re finding across the planet where wine is produced people that are in the business of selling wine and promoting wine they like that because it helps the consumer recognize this is a very special unique place, and that fruit that was used to make this wine reflects that sense of place,” Wetzel said.
This is Oregon newest sub-AVA, bringing the total to 19 in the state and with all the approvals now done, you’ll start seeing that designation on labels that are just now being bottled.
A recent study found naming the regions can help farmers and wine producers increase their profits over time.