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The “Terroirist” Soul of The Columbia-Gorge AVA

July 15, 2011


Established July 9th, 2004 the Columbia Gorge Appellation or AVA was the 6th AVA established in Washington State.    The first vines planted rumored to be in the ground around 1852 with the majority planted later starting with the pioneering 70’s and new vines going in the ground as I write.

The “World of Wine in 40 miles” is the Columbia Gorge’s Wine Growers Association motto.     I drove it and I can honestly say it’s a breathtaking, wild and woolly 40 miles      Extreme, rogue terroir  is how I can best describe it.   An area that the Lewis and Clark expedition had trouble navigating for god’s sake.

My first stop was Oregon winery Naked Winery.   After checking in I liked how they put me on the spot on twitter  “@MsTerroir Hope you had a good trip. Did you find a favorite?”   How was I supposed to answer that with labels like Penetration and Missionary Cab.   Not that I’m a politician but I’m cautious and blush easy.   And yes, I found a favorite actually more than just one.

After going Naked I crossed the Hood River Bridge with 45 mile hour gusts of winds blowing down on me and my Land Rover.   Holy Moly that was a ride.


Traveling to the Washington side I was determined to visit one of my very favorite wineries Syncline Winery.  With a name like Syncline one can assume they know their terroir.    And I would say the Gorge is made of  some of the most extreme terroir around.   Syncline is a geological term referring to  a fold of soil or layers with younger layers closer to the center of the structure.    Directly West of the vineyard and winery is a series of 300 foot cliffs locally known as the “Coyote Wall Syncline” and to geologists as the “Bingen Syncline,”   Syncline Winery has vines, they are grape growers yet also source grapes from other regions of Washington.  Check out their Columbia Gorge AVA wines:

Gruner Vetliner

2009- Pinot Noir

In addition they offer a number of other fine Rhone style wines including fabulous :



The “terroirist “ soul is vibrant, alive and well in the Columbia Gorge.   With that said if you’ve tasted or if you haven’t yet tried wine from the Columbia-Gorge AVA it is worth the trip.   There are  35 wineries to check out!     Click here to see the list


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