Portland, OR, December 21, 2023 –The Walla Walla Valley, named America’s Best Wine Region for three years in a row, is on a roll. And as the old adage goes—a rolling stone gathers no moss—you’d be hard-pressed to find moss on the stones or in the soil of the Rocks District AVA, nested entirely within the Walla Walla Valley. A sponsor, the Rocks District Winegrowers Association has been instrumental in encouraging Hospice du Rhône to come to the region April 24-27 2024 for the first time. While Oregon wine is well-known for highly-coveted critical reviews and acclaim, this celebratory event will amplify the state’s and the NW’s regional reputation for premium Rhone-style grapes—Mourvèdre, Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, Viognier, Grenache Blanc and more—growing in Oregon’s backyard.
The Walla Walla Valley makes a stunning backdrop framed by the Columbia River and the Blue Mountains, a picture-perfect setting for growing grapes rivalling some of the best Rhône style wines globally.
Craig Camp, Board President of the Rhone Rangers and GM of Troon Vineyards in Oregon’s Applegate Valley, will be headed to Walla Walla with his team to partake in the 2024 Hospice du Rhône. “I could not be more excited by the recognition that bringing the Hospice du Rhône to Walla Walla bestows on the wines made from classic Rhône varieties in Oregon,” he said. “Troon Vineyard is honored to be the only Southern Oregon winery selected to participate in Hospice du Rhône 2024. Just as Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is spiritually connected to Burgundy, our Applegate Valley wines, with their moderate alcohol levels and fresh acidity, are connected to the wines of the Northern Rhône Valley, and we look forward to being served alongside those wines at this international wine event.”
Nested within the Walla Walla Valley AVA, The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater AVA resides entirely on the Oregon side of the Valley. To capture some of this international excitement, the Oregon Wine Board is digging deep into the well of support for this event, including a tour for journalists and influencers in partnership with Eastern Oregon Visitors Association. With the exception of Troon Vineyards in the Applegate Valley, all Oregon wineries invited to participate are located in Milton-Freewater, Oregon and these producers will be spotlighted at the Grand Tasting Saturday, April 27th, for which tickets are still available: Cimento, Delmas, Force Majeure Vineyards, Kobayashi Winery, Rôtie Cellars and WeatherEye Vineyards. Bionic Wines of Milton-Freewater will also be pouring at the new Rhône-Around Dinner Series.
Although it quickly sold out, on April 25, 2024, an HdR Welcome to the Rocks District event will spotlight 22 wineries pouring their Rocks District wines; including local favorites Ducleaux Cellars and Watermill Winery. This small AVA has 503 acres planted compared to 250 acres when the AVA was approved in 2015, an increase of planted acreage of approximately 100% in eight years.
The Walla Walla Valley AVA is one of four Pacific Northwest AVAs that cross state lines. While Walla Walla Valley is often associated with Washington state, 43% of vineyards are located on the Oregon side of the AVA. Oregon vineyards in the region include, but are not limited to: Syrah and Grenache grown at SJR Vineyard, Pasxa Grenache and Syrah are grown in Oregon at Rock Garden and Petros Vineyards. Force Majeure has vineyards in Oregon in the North Fork and in Milton-Freewater which comprises about half of Force Majeure wines.
Oregon vineyards include Cayuse Vineyards, Seven Hills Estate Vineyard, In The Rocks, Ferguson, Funk Estate Vineyard, Rasa Estate, Orselli, River Rock Vineyards, Stone Valley Vineyard, and about 65 more.
To see first-hand how beautiful the Walla Walla Valley Oregon side is, go to the new OWB Media Library, available here in the OWB pressroom. Please visit the Rocks District Winegrowers Association website here.
# # #
About the Oregon Wine Board
The Oregon Wine Board is a semi-independent Oregon state agency managing marketing, research 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. To learn more, visit industry.oregonwine.org