This is the middle child of Oregon wine country, positioned between the cooler Willamette Valley and the warmer Rogue Valley to the south. The climate in this transitional area varies enough so that both cool- and warm-weather grapes prosper.
The Umpqua River draws cooling breezes into the valley, helping to moderate temperatures in vineyards planted with Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Riesling. (The fishing along the Umpqua River is of legendary proportions, and the white wines produced here just happen to be terrific matches with brook trout.)
In the warmer reaches of the Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon is showing well for itself, along with Merlot and Syrah. Soils here are the result of volcanic activity combined with the remnants of ancient collisions involving three different mountain ranges of varying geologic make-up.
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