Article

The Willamette way to world-class wine

Did you ever notice that California is hot? You know, that exasperating kind of hot that feels like it might actually singe your lungs? Well, that same heart-stopping heat is the foundation for California’s successful wine industry. Hot days and cool nights provide the perfect climate for most varietals, be it Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay. But if climate is the key to California’s success, it is also the source of some limitations. Enter Oregon. Several decades ago, other winemakers had a far different vision: to replicate the classic wines of Burgundy. With a few exceptions, California was not up to the task. The soil didn’t fill the bill and the climate was wrong for Burgundian grapes. Among these visionaries were David and Ginny Adelsheim, who in June of 1971 visited Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Located about 60 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, the valley boasts volcanic soils with high acid levels, a cool climate and a coastal mountain range that holds summer rainfall to a minimum. The Adelsheims fell in love with the area and bought land on the southern