Columbia River Gorge. Majestic Scenery, Great Wine!
The Columbia River Gorge wine country straddles Oregon and Washington State. It is a majestic region with dramatic cliffs and waterfalls, stunning views, beautiful scenery. It also has distinct micro-climates and growing regions where various grape varieties thrive and wonderful wines are produced. This a great place for a wine vacation.
On the western part the marine influence of Pacific Ocean is evident. This area receives quite a bit of rainfall, well over 30 inches a year, making the terrain green and moist. The eastern part of the River is drier, with about 10 inches of rainfall a year.
As you can well imagine, this distinct areas grow grapes as varied as Cabernet Sauvignon to Chardonnay, to Pinot Gris, to Gewurztraminer and many more. This area is a great contributor to the Oregon Wine Country.
Before dams were built on the River, the climate was very cold, and this made it difficult for grapes to thrive. But after dams were built in the 1939s and the 1950s, there has been a considerable reduction in hard frosts. This has helped to make grape and wine production commercially viable
A good place to start exploring Columbia River Gorge wines is in the town of Hood River, Oregon. Previously better known for its apples and cherries, it is fast becoming a wine destination. It is also a great windsurfing destination.
The Hood River Vineyards is the oldest winery in this area. They produce Riesling, Syrah, Pinot Noir, as well as fruit wines, which is an Oregon tradition.
From Hood River, continue your wine country travel by trekking across the river to Lyle, Washington. This is an area also made famous by wind surfers and hikers. Stay at the Lyle Hotel, take a walk, windsurf if you dare, taste wine!
The Syncline Wine Cellars is a small winery that specializes in Rhone type wines, give them a try.
Back in Oregon, there is much to see around The Dalles. An area well known for its cherries, wine is not taking a back seat. It is a historic area.
Lewis and Clark came this way in their famous expedition, though we may safely assume that they did not come for the wine, but you certainly can. Erin Glenn At The Mint is a fine place to visit and try their wines. Dolcetto, Malbec, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir. These are some of the grapes they work with, and they make tasty blends that are worth your time.
Back on to road to Washington State, cross the bridge and head to Maryhill Winery where you will enjoy, along with the wine, a lovely picnic, and if you are lucky, perhaps a concert.
All along, you will be impressed by the gorgeous scenery that awaits you while you drive through this beautiful area.
For Wine And Nature Lovers, The Columbia River Gorge Is A Must!