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Fans of Oregon wine have long known about the vineyard map of Yamhill County, which is pretty cool if out of date.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.