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 Filed as : Regional SpotlightOregon

Walla Walla, Oregon?

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  • Publish Date: Oct 18, 2010

Walla Walla, Oregon?
The Washington wine you love might be from across state lines.

Those responsible for deciding borders and drawing maps rarely take winemakers' feelings into consideration. Which is fine, because America was carved into states and counties long before growing grapes was serious business.

At a recent seminar on Oregon wine that The Daily Sip attended, a master sommelier admitted that for years he placed several Walla Walla Valley selections on the wrong part of his wine list--under Washington. It turns out, a sizable portion of the Walla Walla Valley's grape-growing area sits across the border, in Oregon.

While most Walla Walla wineries are on the Washington side (a few are in Oregon), wineries often buy grapes from growers all over the valley--on both sides of the state line--to achieve a certain style. So a bottle of Walla Walla wine you buy might contain grapes from both Washington and Oregon, blended together--but the grapes are all from the same valley.

That's a good thing. When it comes to wine, political districts don't matter; geography and climate do. That's why the borders of the Walla Walla American Viticultural Area are drawn where they are (same for Los Carneros, which covers a swathe of hills running through both Napa and Sonoma counties). Those designations tell you more about the wine than the state or county.

Is there a region that you find confusing? Ask us about it below, and we'll do our best to explain it for you.


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See Ya Lata, Aligoté

Oct 18, 2010
What about Green Valley? A lot of people don't know much about this appelation? Is it separate from Russian River Valley and Sonoma Valley? What is the area known for? What wineries are there?

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What is another name for burnt, distilled wine?