August 09, 2008

Oregon vineyard maps, part two: McMinnville

A number of readers contacted me after my last post about the Dundee Hills vineyard map. Looks like I'm not the only map geek out there, which is good.

Hannelore Buckenmeyer of the Oregon Wine Board saw the post and filled me in on some details about the map project. Buckenmeyer wrote to tell me that the OWB "partnered with The Map Store to produce these AVA maps."

Buckenmeyer responded to the fact that some vineyards, including older, prominent plantings, are missing from the maps. She wrote, "The OWB conducted meetings and workshops, sent out email and direct mail, and worked with regional winery organizations to encourage participation. However, as you noted, some people either didn't hear about the project or decided not to participate."

Interesting. I'm inclined to contact at least a few of these vineyards and get them on board. Is there a cost to participate? Are there other concerns that kept a few owners from participating? Perhaps, but I can't help thinking that so many vineyards participated that those few who didn't are really the ones missing out.

Jordan Thomas, who wrote to say that she worked on the production of these maps, echoed something I heard from Buckenmeyer. Thomas wrote that these maps are "a work in progress," and that they'll be updated on an annual basis.

Perhaps best of all, Thomas provided a link to a Google Earth-based application where you can see The Map Store's "entire database of vineyard and winery information in 3D." Check it out here.

Special thanks to Buckenmeyer and the OWB for providing me some samples of the maps. They are gorgeous, very informative, and worth framing. I have no financial interest here, but if you like Oregon wine and like maps, buy these maps.

With that in mind, a few words about the McMinnville AVA map. This emerging district has fewer sites planted than any other local AVA, all to the southwest of the town that gives the district its name.

Vineyards in this district are exclusively on the largely volcanic soils of the foothills of the coast range. The hills run southwest to northeast, with lots of south, west and east exposures. The key issue here for viticulture are the winds from the Van Duzer corridor to the west, a low gap through the coast range that allows cool winds to blow. That and some moderate to high elevation make for a cool growing climate, more beneficial in warmer years. With their usually high acids, wines from this district never lack color. The pinot noir wines here often have beautiful aromas if not always the fleshiest of textures, which is ideal for those who like a bit more structure in their wines.

Despite its relatively small size, there are a few exceptional vineyards in the McMinnville district. Meredith Mitchell was planted in 1988 on own-rooted Pommard clone and is bottled by a number of high quality producers. Momtazi is a large (and growing) planting of the Maysara winery and is bottled by many other producers. Hyland vineyard, one of the oldest plantings in Oregon, was recently sold to the Northwest Wine Co. led by Laurent Montalieu. I'm not sure if these grapes will continue to go to old clients, but I hope so. Hyland particularly has some prized old riesling vines.

If you're want this and other maps, here's the link to Sonoma-based The Map Store's Oregon AVA Maps page. I'll write more about the other AVAs in the coming days.


Enobytes said...

Hi Vincent,

We've also built a wine map of the Willamette Valley region which is geared towards consumers looking to map out their itinerary to the Willamette Valley.

Our map lists all the wineries in the Willamette AVA including Chehalem Mountains, Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinnville, Ribbon Ridge and the Yamhill-Carlton District. What's more, our interactive maps allow users to turn on various layers of mapping information such as roads, turn-by-turn directions, shopping and services, geographic features, 3D buildings, sightseeing, gas, food and lodging, real-time traffic and weather reports among others.

This is a free service we offer and if a winery does not see their listing on our map, we encourage them to contact us. We'd be more than happy to work with them to add their winery to our database free of charge.

Here is our link to the Willamette Valley Google Map:


Pamela @ Enobytes

enobytes said...

The links didn't seem to work in the previous post, so here they are:

Willamette Valley Google Map


Pamela @ enobytes

Hannelore said...

Hi Vincent,

Thank you for the kind words. I'm glad that you're enjoying the maps!

To answer your questions, there is no cost to participate in the mapping project. It may be that the mapping technology seems daunting, however, The Map Store has fantastic customer support and in many cases has dialed into the participant's computer and drawn the property outline with them.


Oregon Wine Board

Scott Neal said...


Thanks for your nice comments about the McMinnville AVA, but not all vineyards are on volcanic soils. Our vineyard, Coeur de Terre, is mostly sedimetary soils which transition to volcanic mix at the upper elevations. We still have the color and structure you mention in the other vineyards, which I believe is typical of the AVA. Would love you to check out our wines.

Scott Neal
Coeur de Terre Vineyard

Vincent Fritzsche said...

Scott, thanks for the comment. In my defense, my writing may not have been clear. I meant that the AVA is exclusively in the Coast Range foothills and largely on volcanic soils. I think that's true on both counts. Certainly the lower the elevation the more the sedimentary soils present themselves. I appreciate your clarification.

Looking back on the AVA map, I see your vineyard up Muddy Valley Road with a steep hill to your west. I imagine you're in a more protected area that isn't quite as extreme as the ridges directly exposed to the Van Duzer corridor. Maybe I should find out for myself. I'll see when I can get down there. Thanks for the invite.

Scott Neal said...


Thanks for the clarification, and we are indeed sheltered a bit more from the Van Duzer affect. Call when you are in town and I can show you around.