The Oregon Pinot Camp Experience

By David Taylor

Without question, the United States makes some incredible wines. But when it comes to American Pinot Noir, it’s tough to beat the ones that hail from Oregon. I was fortunate enough to be one of about 200 people worldwide chosen to attend Oregon Pinot Camp (OPC) back in June. I can tell you that it was one of the best wine events I’ve EVER participated in.

The idea behind OPC is to give people in the wine industry (especially retailers and restaurateurs) the opportunity to experience the Oregon way of doing things. The climates/microclimates, terroir, growing methods -- you name it -- are all covered. It was heaven if you like to get caught up in the minutiae of wine like I like to do!

Light fog in the southern valley

Light fog in the southern valley

Willamette Valley – Oregon image ©CC BY-SA 3.0

Willamette Valley – Oregon

image ©CC BY-SA 3.0

We visited several great wineries, including Penner-Ash, Anne Amie, Stoller, King Estate, Sokol Blosser, Adelsheim, Lemelson, Trisaetum – the list goes on. At each winery, we tackled different aspects of growing grapes and making wine in Oregon (emphasis on the Willamette Valley). We studied the unique soil that sets Oregon apart. We were shown the exceedingly detailed methods used by winemakers in the barrel rooms. We were shown the microorganisms that are found in the soil that play such a vital role in grape growing. The importance of Oregon’s cool climate, which is key, was also discussed at length.

Pinot Noir wasn’t the only grape we concentrated on. Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Riesling and, a relatively new grape to the area, Chardonnay were also explored in great depth. The wines of Oregon are unsurpassed when it comes to quality and representation of the area.

If you’d like to know more about the wines of Oregon, stop by Colonial Wines & Spirits and see any of staff wine consultants.  We are always ready to talk wine.