Aug 30, 2018 12:00 PM
Scott Burns
The Terroir of the Willamette Valley: The Relationship Between Geology, Soil, Climate and Wine

Terroir is a French term that is over 400 years old and was used to describe why wines of one area tasted different from wines of another area, even though they were the same variety.  It is the “taste of the place”.  It is determined by the geology, soil, climate and soil biota.  One of the greatest places in the world to taste differences in terroir is the Willamette Valley (wine region of the year for the whole world for 2017 – Wine Enthusiast).  The valley grows primarily cool climate grapes like pinot noir, pinot gris, chardonnay, riesling, Muller-Thurgau, and gewurtztraminer.  Terroir is best expressed in cool climate grapes like the thin skinned red grape, pinot noir.  There are four main geological units, three of which are the main wine producing soils:  volcanic soils (Columbia River Basalts and the Jory Soil), marine sediments (sandstones and shales and the Willakenzie Soil), volcanic soils with old silt mixed in (Laurelwood Soil) and the lesser used Missoula Flood deposits (Woodburn Soil).  The same winemaker can produce three different wines in the same year with similar clones if different soils are used.  Learn how to be an educated wine taster in Oregon by attending this talk.