Feb 7, 2013

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TTB Announces Oregon’s Newest AVA: Elkton

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI recently mentioned in my article, On Top of the World With Perpetual Balance: Terry Brandborg and Brandborg Wines, that Terry Brandborg, along with other winemakers in the northern reaches of the Umpqua Valley were working on getting a special AVA designation for their unique wine growing region of Elkton, Oregon.

“The Umpqua Valley ranges tremendously in terroir from one end of the wine region to the other – some of Oregon’s coldest and warmest sites are contained within this AVA. Although the Umpqua is well known for incredible warm climate varietals like Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon, stellar cool climate varietals like Pinot Noir, Riesling and Gewurztraminer hail, as well. The top portion of the region is dry farmed, while the middle and bottom portions are both irrigated. Unbelievably, there’s about 1,000 growing degree days between Brandborg in the north and Abacela in the south. It’s an incredibly and dramatically diverse climate – Terry and other winemakers in the region are currently working on getting Elkton to be Oregon’s newest designated AVA, which will be a sub AVA of the Umpqua Valley.”

TTB   News   Establishment of the Elkton Oregon Vit Area (2)With the help of wine climatologist, Greg Jones, their work has paid off: Elkton is Oregon’s newest designated AVA (American Viticulture Area). Here’s a little history on how it all came to be:

This newest Oregon AVA is the fulfillment of Ken Thomason’s dream that he could grow world class cool climate whites and pinot noir in the tiny hamlet of Elkton, Oregon. He began planting these varieties in 1972 on a west facing bench 2 miles east of Elkton at a site now owned by Mike and Vonnie Landt of Rivers Edge Winery.

Elkton is unique and deserving of this differentiation. While wholly within the Umpqua Valley AVA and the much larger Southern Oregon AVA, the climate in Elkton is very different from the prevailing perceptions of these areas. Most tend to think of all of Southern Oregon as warmer and drier than the better known areas to the north. Elkton is on the main Umpqua River which flows through a valley opening to the Pacific only 36 miles away and only 142 feet lower in elevation. This geography allows for a very strong marine influence with daily sea breezes and fog penetrating into the valley. This gives Elkton its unique climate, cool, maritime and temperate, ideal for the varieties that Ken first planted.

Congratulations to all in Elkton!