The Greek god Zephyr appears prominently on every bottle of wine Van Duzer Vineyards produces. That’s a fitting image considering the winery’s namesake – the Van Duzer Corridor – channels the west wind and gives Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs their signature flavor.
Formed more than 50 million years ago when a range of volcanic islands crashed into the mainland, Oregon’s Coastal Range reaches heights of 1,500 to 4,100 feet above sea level as it stretches for 200 miles across the state’s western edge. One of its lowest points is marked by a stretch of State Route 18 about 45 miles west of Salem that’s known as the H.B. Van Duzer Forest State Scenic Corridor.
Named after a former state parks and highway commissioner, the Van Duzer Corridor is a gap in the coastal range where the elevation drops to less than 750 feet above sea level. Cold air from the Pacific Ocean floods into the Willamette Valley through this passageway and causes its temperatures to drop by about 28 degrees each night.
This steep drop in temperatures causes a grape vine’s photosynthesis process to completely shut down late in the afternoon, giving its fruit a chance to develop some acidity and extending the amount of time its flavors have to mature.
But this isn’t the only way the Van Duzer Corridor has contributed to the valley’s success as a wine making region. That’s because while the corridor is low enough to let cold air enter the valley it was also high enough to keep the Missoula Floods’ waters from leaving at the end of the last Ice Age. Those waters carried massive amounts of sediment that lined the valley’s floor with nutrient rich topsoil.
Come join us for a sampling of wine from Van Duzer Vineyards and learn more about the producers namesake at The Good Drop Wine Shoppe this Friday, August 6, from 5 to 8 p.m. Tasting flights typically cost $10 per person, but this fee waived for wine club members or if you purchase a bottle of wine at the event.