August 06, 2008

Oregon vineyard maps, part one: Dundee Hills

I'm crazy for maps. I get it from my dad, who showed me at an early age how to read road maps on family car trips.

My passion (perhaps fetish) comes in handy with my interest in wine. Many wine lovers enjoy looking at maps of their favorite regions. The bible of this pursuit has long been Johnson's - and now Robinson's - World Atlas of Wine. If you like wine and maps and you don't have this book, get it.

However, as great as that book is, beyond Burgundy and a few other selected areas, you simply don't get much in the way of vineyard definition in the maps. Rather, you get regional distinction of where one general town or even sub-region of an appellation lies in relation to another. Chianti Ruffina is here, Chianti Colli-Sensi is there, and hey, I can see some specific and usually accurate locations of some of my favorite producers. That's cool, but not enough.

Things are particularly difficult when you try to see maps of the AVAs and individual vineyards of, say, Oregon, up close and personal as it were.

Well those days are over. After much searching, I've found online maps of Oregon vineyards by AVA that are among the best I've ever seen.

Fans of Oregon wine have long known about the vineyard map of Yamhill County, which is pretty cool if out of date. Same too with the old Eola Hills map I've linked to on this site for a while. There's a new one that's better, but still limited.

Then there are the maps at The Map Store. I haven't even searched through the whole site. I imagine there are terrific things from other locales. I'm simply too focused on Oregon, so far.

Case in point, the Dundee Hills. The AVA, or appellation, where it all started for Oregon pinot noir. Check out the free Dundee Hills map (you'll need adobe acrobat to view it). It's not a big map, but you can zoom in for terrific detail.

There's the elusive Thomas vineyard in the northwest corner of the boundary. And the Anderson Family vineyard in the northeast. Or the Oracle vineyard that I believe is fully owned by Westry.

No map is perfect, and there are glaring errors or omissions that do make purchasing larger copies of these maps a bit questionable. Where's Abbey Ridge? It should be just south of Oracle. Not there. Where's Maresh? Between Knudsen and Arcus. But again, not on this map.

It's strange, I admit. These maps are so good, yet have a few glaring, GLARING, errors. Nevertheless, with the topo lines and the otherwise fantastic detail, these maps are terrific resources for Oregon wine geeks.

In the near future, I'll post on the other AVAs covered by the Map Store. Even with the flaws, the maps are worthwhile. Let me know if you find any issues that I haven't seen or mentioned here.


Thad said...

Have you checked out Vin Maps? I am not sure how accurate the current Oregon map is, but I have really enjoyed using this as a reference for vineyards and wineries in the state. The Washington map is also quite useful.

Vincent Fritzsche said...

Thanks, I didn't know about that site. The Red Mountain map looks cool, though it's hard to tell much from the image they show for free. Are there other more detailed maps like that? The Oregon map seems more regional in nature, just showing the basic relationship of where, for example, the Applegate Valley is relative to the Umpqua Valley. I like The Map Store because the maps, while not perfect, show terrific detail and even topographic perspective to help you judge slopes and exposures. Very cool stuff...for the geek at least.

Jordan Thomas said...

I worked on the production of the Oregon Wine Maps made by The Map Store. I am glad to hear you like them. As to the omitted vineyards I would say the participation the maps received was fantastic and that these maps, like all our wine maps, are works in progress. We update the maps on an annual basis, adding information on the locations of vineyards and wineries that have been added to our database (checkout WineMap). So, for any vineyards you see missing from the maps, send them a link to our site ( so they can get involved.

Also, I think the best wine map can be found at this link. You’ll need google earth installed. It is our entire database of vineyard and winery information in 3D.

Vincent Fritzsche said...

Jordan, great to know more about the background of these maps. I"m glad you found this post. Thanks as well for the link to the google earth app. Sadly, my laptop crashes when I run google earth, but I"m getting a new one. For now, I'll see if our old desktop can run it. I love that program. Using is for wine maps is a great idea. I know of a European who's done some overlays with the Cote d'Or using maps from the World Atlas of Wine. Very good stuff, if your computer doesn't crash.

plb said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Vincent Fritzsche said...

Let's remember that comments are for commenting on blog posts, or maybe pretty much anything else but dropping in to promote your winery and "new blog." Comment with a link to your site, fine. But don't just drop the bomb like that.