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Geological Wine Tours project to launch in October

Date: 08/12/14


Responding to a trending interest in the connection between the geological foundation of Pacific Northwest vineyards and the region’s world-renowned wines, (an 18-year-old online tour guide for Northwest wine country) is set to launch its Geological Wine Tours project on Sunday, October 12.

“The matter of place,” observes Susan O’Hara, WinesNorthwest founder, “is pretty central to decision-making by Northwest winemakers, viticulturists and wine enthusiasts alike these days. That’s pretty obvious when you look at the rapid growth in the number of sub-appellations in the Northwest over the past 10 years or so and the prices for grapes coming out of certain regions. You also find a lot more vineyard-designated wine labels reaching the shelves of wine shops, and consumers want to know more about the differences.”

American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) define the boundaries and geological characteristics of distinct wine-growing regions, and winemakers sourcing grapes from specific vineyards within these regions are exploring relationships between selected vineyards and finished wines; how will specific locations affect flavor profiles, aromatics, the color and the body of wines grown there? Consumer interest is following.

“It’s all about place,” said Ken Wright of Ken Wright Cellars who focuses on producing vineyard-designate wines from the Willamette Valley. Wright was instrumental in organizing the six newest sub-appellations of the Northern Willamette Valley. “And nothing can show the differences of place like Pinot Noir!”

Wright’s appreciation of sense of place led him to join WinesNorthwest in the first of its Geological Wine Tour which will focus on the Northern Willamette Valley and Pinot Noir wines. Wright will participate as one of the three wineries included in the tour, and he will meet with tour participants to discuss the area’s geology and terroir and its impact on his wines. Wright will also present a comparative, guided tasting of some of his wines.

Sponsored by Banner Bank, the full-day Geological Wine Tour is designed to combine educational opportunities on the road, in the vineyard and at the winery with guided wine tastings presented by winery principles at three award-winning wineries in the Yamhill-Carlton and Ribbon Ridge AVAs… Trisaetum Winery, Elk Cove Vineyards and Ken Wright Cellars. The all-day tour, led by geology professor Scott Burns and author Rick Thompson, will follow a route that crosses over ancient flood plains and huge ripples left by the cataclysmic Missoula Floods that crashed through the Northern Willamette Valley at the end of the last ice age.

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