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Saturday, Mar. 14, 2009

Oregon: Dundee Hills

Many of Oregon's pioneer wineries are in the Dundee Hills within Oregon's Yamhill County. The appellation is 6,490 acres in size with nearly 1,300 acres of planted vineyards. It was established in 2005.

Notable Dundee Hills vineyards

Winderlea Vineyard: One of Oregon's oldest vineyards, Winderlea was planted in 1974 and was originally known as Dundee Hills Vineyard. It was purchased by former Oregon Gov. Neil Goldschmidt and his wife, Diana, in 1998, then sold in 2006 to Winderlea Wine Co. The vineyard's 17 acres are dedicated entirely to Pinot Noir and go to some of Oregon's top winemakers, including Penner-Ash and Adelsheim. The Dundee Hills' famous red jory soils are fractured basalt from the the Columbia River lava flows 15 million years ago. This is the most distinctive soil type in the Willamette Valley and typically provides bright cherry and strawberry notes. In Winderlea fruit, this is particularly prevalent.

Guadalupe Vineyard: Guadalupe Vineyard is a fascinating operation that is in a transition zone between the red volcanic soils of the Dundee Hills and the marine sedimentary soils of the Yamhill-Carlton District to the east. Ken Wright, who produces a vineyard-designated pinot noir from the 40-acre Guadalupe Vineyard, felt it should have been in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA because of the soil type. Instead, it was put in the Dundee Hills because it is on the landform as the rest of the AVA.