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Van Duzer’s corridor lets Zephyr in the Willamette Valley

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. Continue reading Van Duzer’s corridor lets Zephyr in the Willamette Valley

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Va Piano Vineyards goes slowly, safely and far

Justin Wylie got the name of his winery from an old Italian proverb, “Chi Va Piano Va Sano e Va Lontano,” which means he who goes slowly goes safely and goes far. He uses that same phrase to describe his philosophy when it comes to making wine.

Located in Walla Walla, Wylie’s Va Piano Vineyards produces five flights of wine that range from every day drinkers like Bruno’s Cabernet Sauvignon and the Ox Red Blend to an estate designated series only members of its wine club can buy.

Wylie drew the inspiration to make these wines from spending his childhood in Walla Walla and watching his hometown blossom into the wine lover’s paradise it is now. He followed this inspiration by learning whatever he could from the region’s wine makers, wine growers and wine connoisseurs. He developed his palate, made wine out of his garage and with help from friends and family members started Va Piano’s first commercial crush in 2003. Continue reading Va Piano Vineyards goes slowly, safely and far

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St. Innocent Winery gets a national spotlight

Mark Vlossak started St. Innocent Winery by making a Chardonnay and a Pinot noir at a south Salem industrial park almost 30 years ago. Both wines have gained Vlossak and his Willamette Valley winery a place in the national spotlight within the past three years.

Vlossak, a wine importer’s son who has been drinking wine since he was seven, decided to get in the winemaking business when he read a Bon Apetit Magazine article where Andre Tshelishev said, “the greatest sparkling wine in America will be made in Oregon, not California, because it is the right place to grow Pinot noir and Chardonnay, the grapes of Champagne.” Continue reading St. Innocent Winery gets a national spotlight