Less than 60 miles east of Portland, America’s most unique AVA features wild beauty, traffic free touring and relaxed tasting rooms. With an amazing diversity of grapes grown from Albariño to Zinfandel, come discover our “World of Wine
in 40 miles”
Nowhere else exists a place as visually stunning, full of outdoor adventure, wildlife and wildflowers, and with vineyards and eclectic boutique wineries throughout its many diverse micro-climates. The Columbia Gorge has it all.
The land, the people and the lifestyle define wine making here. The area is enriched with a strong sense of adventure and taking the “road less traveled.” The winemakers here are iconoclasts and trailblazers, making extraordinary artisan wines in a place of incredible wild beauty. With access to over 30 different premium grape varietals grown within this 40 mile stretch, the wine lover’s palate never grows weary.
The land is defined by the Columbia River as it cuts through the Cascade Mountain Range and makes its journey to the Pacific Ocean. The short, dramatic transition in landscape and climates from hot, dry desert in the East to the foothills of the Cascades, with its cool moisture from the ocean in the West, is what makes this area so unique. From west to east: losing an inch of rain a mile and gaining a whole lot of sun, it’s an amazing combination of climate, soil and geology.
Although most wine regions don’t cross state lines, the Columbia Gorge Wine Region is unique in that it’s comprised of a tight group of winemakers and growers on both shores of the river in Oregon and Washington, bonded by their passion for the craft and commitment to the land.
The Columbia Gorge thrives on an outstanding wealth of activities. Shop in the locally owned stores of our quaint towns, peruse locally grown fruit & produce from our many farmer’s markets, raft free-flowing rivers, watch the windsurfers on the Columbia (or take a lesson), visit artists in their studios, walk gentle paved trails or summit Mt Adams. Whatever your choice, in the Gorge there is something for every person of any age.
Find your own wine adventure by exploring our tasting rooms in the many hamlets and towns that comprise the region. Delight in downtown Hood River nestled between the two mountains, the rich farms and orchards surrounding Hood River and The Dalles, the delightfully winding & scenic roads of Underwood, White Salmon, Lyle and beyond into the sunny desert land stretching to the east.
Our tasting rooms are relaxed and inviting, the traffic is low and the views in any direction are always outstanding. Find out why so many are calling the Columbia Gorge Wine Region one of the best kept secrets in the NW!
WINE REGION: THE AVA’S
The Columbia Gorge Wine Region is affectionately referred to as
“A World of Wine in 40 Miles”
due to it’s unique topography and climatic changes. In this 40 mile stretch encompassing both sides of the Columbia River in Oregon and Washington, an extraordinary combination of climates, soils, elevation and geology combine to produce some of the best and most varied grape varietals in the Pacific Northwest.
A great transition occurs between the alpine forests of Underwood Mountain to the deserts of our eastern side, and our latitudes are shared with some of the finest wine growing regions of Europe, including Bordeaux, Rhone Valley and Italy.
The Columbia Gorge is part of two American Viticultural Areas (AVA), including the western edge of the Columbia Valley AVA and encompassing all of the Columbia Gorge AVA, which was established in 2004. In our region, the Cascade Mountain range restricts the grand Columbia River into a narrow passage.
This mountain range runs north into British Columbia, and south to California, creating a drastic climate difference as rains and clouds from the Pacific move inland and get hung up on the mountains. Hence, the areas on our western border see much more rain than the deserts of our eastern border, with rainfall diminishing more than one inch per mile moving East.
Soils deposited from ice age floods and volcanic eruptions define the geology. The river canyon acts as a corridor for cool marine winds, which is why the Columbia Gorge is known worldwide as a premier windsurfing and kiting playground. And our two crowning beauties, Mt Hood and Mt Adams, create vertical elevations that allow for a huge range of grapes to be grown with success.
Long famous for its fine pears, apples, cherries and other fruits, it wasn’t until the 1970’s that residents started experimenting with grapes. The vines prospered, and soon folks began to recognize the Gorge as a viticultural gem. Currently, over 70% of Gorge grown grapes are exported to other wine regions such as the Willamette Valley and Walla Walla, but plenty are crushed here in the Gorge at local wineries the day they are picked. From Albariño to Zinfandel, the Columbia Gorge really is a World of Wine in 40 Miles!
Some of the amazing varietals growing
in the Gorge: