Portland, Ore. (July 5, 2022) – Mount Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon, the newest appellation in Oregon and nested American Viticultural Area (AVA) in the Willamette Valley, has received federal recognition as an official AVA. Drawn to reflect distinct soil, topography and climate attributes, Mount Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon AVA becomes the 23rd federally recognized winegrowing region in Oregon and the 11th nested AVA within the Willamette Valley. The new nested AVA was granted approval by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) on June 3, 2022 and took effect on July 5, 2022.
Located in Polk County, the Mount Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon AVA is characterized by the warmth of the nearby Willamette River, the mild influence of the Van Duzer winds, and the rain shadow of Laurel Mountain to the west. It is the Valley’s second smallest AVA at 584 planted acres but one of its most densely planted. Mount Pisgah was formed 65 million years ago as a sea floor volcano, and has since been covered by marine sediment which pushed up out of the ocean. This unique geology allows the grapes to develop a deep complexity in the region’s shallow soils.
Five years ago, Brad Ford of Illahe Vineyards and Winery petitioned the TTB for the addition of the AVA to the wine country map. Ten vineyards and three wineries join the new Mount Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon AVA. A full list of wineries and vineyards can be found below.
“Thanks to an excellent group of growers who helped identify the most important aspects of our little mountain, I have no doubt we will continue to work together to build a beautiful destination for people willing to go the extra mile,” said Ford.
The most common grape varieties in the AVA are Pinot noir, Pinot gris, Pinot blanc, Chardonnay and Tempranillo. Mount Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon AVA is located 15 miles west of Salem, Oregon, and is the second most southern nested AVA within the Willamette Valley AVA, next to Lower Long Tom, which was newly established in November 2021.
“Recognition of Mount Pisgah, Polk County, shows again how we continue to learn about, and appreciate, new areas of viticultural distinction in Oregon. Each one adds its own chapter to Oregon’s story of unique soils, unmatched geology, topography and globally recognized wine quality” said OWB President Tom Danowski. “These federal AVA designations take years to achieve as the standards are rigorous for establishing a region as clearly differentiated.”
“We’re so excited to see Mount Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon AVA recognized in the larger story of the Willamette Valley,” said Morgen McLaughlin, executive director of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association. “The region’s kingpin varietal, Pinot noir, is such an expressive grape: it insists on telling you where it’s from. Both the industry and consumers who look to Oregon for its one-of-a-kind appellations and the sense of place in Oregon’s wines can celebrate the addition of Mount Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon.”To differentiate from another “Mount Pisgah” in Oregon’s Lane County, it was necessary for the AVA to be named Mount Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon––now the second longest named AVA in Oregon after The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater AVA, approved in 2015 and nested in the Walla Walla Valley AVA. Oregon is home to 995 wineries and 1,370 vineyards planted, generating an annual economic impact of $7.2 billion for the state.
Mount Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon AVA Details:
Official date of recognition: June 3, 2022
Final rule is effective: July 5, 2022
Total acreage: 5,530
Planted acreage: 584
Number of wineries: 3
Number of vineyards: 10
Varieties: Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Pinot gris, Tempranillo and Pinot blanc
Soil: Marine Sedimentary
About the Oregon Wine Board
The Oregon Wine Board is a semi-independent Oregon state agency managing marketing, research, communications, and education initiatives that support and advance the Oregon wine and wine grape industry. The Board works on behalf of all Oregon wineries and independent growers throughout the state’s diverse winegrowing regions. Visit oregonwine.org
About the Willamette Valley Wineries Association
The WVWA is a nonprofit industry association dedicated to achieving recognition for Oregon’s acclaimed Willamette Valley as a premium Pinot noir-producing region. The WVWA has more than 230 members representing wineries, tasting rooms and vineyards throughout the Willamette Valley. The organization also hosts Willamette: The Pinot Noir Auction, Oregon Pinot Camp, Pinot in the City, May in Wine Country, The Giving Season and the Cellar Season. Visit www.willamettewines.com for more info.