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Journey into Tualatin Valley: Exploring Oregon’s Friendliest Wine Country

Those wineries are quickly making a name for themselves due to the Tualatin Valley’s prime growing conditions. The picturesque valley, which is surrounded by the Tualatin Mountains to the north and east, the Oregon Coast Range to the west, and the Chehalem Mountains to the south, is part of the Northern Willamette Valley. It boasts rich soil and ideal terroir for cool climate-loving grape varieties such as Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, like other parts of the state. But it also has other advantages including cooler temperatures in the spring and dryer conditions during the fall harvest period that come from its unique location in the rain shadow of the Northern Oregon Coast Range. The valley’s elevation, between 200 and 1,000 feet, helps to the grapes from the precipitation that comes off the Pacific Coast with slightly lower rainfall than surrounding viticultural areas.

Because of these distinct conditions, the area is now home to two new American Viticultural Areas (AVAs): Laurelwood District and Tualatin Hills. Both established in 2020, these AVAs are “nested” within the larger Willamette Valley wine region. Laurelwood District AVA covers the northern slopes of the Chehalem Mountains AVA, including the towns of Cornelius, Scholls and Sherwood. This 33,600-acre area is known for its Laurelwood soils, an iron-rich volcanic soil mixed with basalt—known as loess—that was deposited by the Missoula Floods 12,000 years ago. This contributes to the unique aromas and mouthfeel of the wines produced. The Tualatin Hills AVA is north of the Chehalem Mountains AVA and aligns with the watershed of the Tualatin River. While its 144,000-acres also possesses Laurelwood soil, the temperatures are slightly higher on average, differentiating the flavor and body of the wines. With more than 30 award-winning wineries—and counting—spread throughout the Tualatin Valley visitors can an impressive variety of quality wines.

We look forward to welcoming you to our beautiful region soon! Scroll down to learn more about Tualatin Valley and visit TualatinValley.org to explore more.