Umpqua Valley AVA is in the southwestern Oregon, and it is one of the state’s older AVAs, having been awarded that status in 1984. Umpqua producers like to point out that though Willamette Valley in the northern part of Oregon gets lots of attention for its fine wines, Umpqua Valley is thought to be the first winemaking region in the state. German immigrants were making up to 20,000 gallons of wine annually in Umpqua Valley in the 1880s. After Prohibition the son of one of the immigrant winemakers once again started making wines for commercial release, and by the 1960s university-trained young winemakers from California arrived seeking lower land prices and cooler grape growing climates. Today the AVA has 1,500 vineyard acres and 35 wineries. The complex topography of the appellation, which includes parts of three mountain ranges, means that both cool and hot weather grapes can thrive. Syrah and Tempranillo are frequently planted, along with Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Riesling.
One of the most widely grown grape varieties, it can be found in nearly every wine growing region. A cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a hardy vine that produces a full-bodied wine with high tannins and great aging potential.