Without a doubt, the “flagship” grape of Oregon is Pinot Noir, with 9,000+ acres planted throughout the state.
Oregon’s maritime climate, as well as its location along the 45th North Latitude, model that of Burgundy, a region of France known for its elegant Burgundy (Pinot Noir) wines.
In recent years, the Oregon Pinot Noir grape has produced wines that compete with some of the top French Burgundy wines. Though the Oregon Pinot Noir industry is less than 40 years old, it is developing a respected place in the international wine community.
Every year, Oregon wines are awarded higher and higher ratings. Recent years have shown the Oregon Pinot Noir surpassing some highly-respected French wines, no doubt giving French wine producers something to talk about.
It would seem that, as with a good red wine, the Oregon Pinot Noir grape will only continue to improve with age.
Oregon is located at 45° North latitude, parallel with Burgundy, France.
Oregon is home to some of the best wine growing areas in the world. Its location along the 45° North latitude, as well as its maritime weather, have produced a growing climate extremely similar to Burgundy, France, a region well known for its Pinot Noir.
As a result, Oregon’s top wine crop has become – you guessed it – Pinot Noir.
In recent years, the state has received growing attention from the international wine community, as Oregon Pinot Noir ranks right up with the best wines coming out of Burgundy.
The industry has grown in stages, and like any industry, has a rich history. The Hudson Bay Company established Oregon’s first vineyard in Fort Vancouver, around 1825. Pioneers planted vines in Oregon in the mid-1800s. Some of the oldest Zinfandel vines can be found near Hood River, in the Columbia Gorge, and were planted well over 125 years ago. The first winery opened in 1855. The first commercial winery opened in 1883. Present-day wineries in Oregon were first established in the late 1950s, and their numbers increased quickly in the 60s and 70s. Oregon’s wine industry typically looks to the 1960s as its birthyear, despite the state’s lengthy history.
As of 2016, Oregon has 424 wineries.
Oregon produces more than 39 different varietals.
(Source: the Oregon Wine Advisory Board)
In 2015, total acreage in Oregon was 28,034 acres.
In 2016 the top five varieties produced in Oregon were:
- Pinot noir 17,744 acres
- Pinot gris 3,705 acres
- Chardonnay 1,482 acres
- Riesling 713 acres
- Cabernet Sauvignon 626 acres
(Source: the Wikipedia)
In 2015, Oregon wine sales yielded 3,000,000 cases, worth an estimated $470 million.
Compare this to 2001, in which Oregon wine sales yielded 1,082,058 cases, worth an estimated $195 million.
Oregon’s wine industry has grown consistently and rapidly!
In 1995, Oregon had 92 wineries crushing grapes and producing wine.
In 2000, that number had climbed to 122.
In 2005, Oregon wineries increased in numbers to 215.
In 2010, it had increased again to 310.
As of 2016, 424 Oregon wineries were crushing grapes.
These statistics don’t include wineries that purchasing juice or participating in private production, which by some estimates in 2017 account for up to 300 additional wineries across the State.
In 2002, comparing wine production strictly on the basis of white to red, the ratio stood at 50% white and 50% red wine.
In 2001, comparing wine production strictly on the basis of white to red, the ratio stood at 45% white and 55% red wine.
(Source: the Oregon Wine Board)