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Northwest Wine University
Learn, and become a Northwest Wine Expert

Here are articles that go beyond the basics, giving you in depth info about the science and art of wine appreciation and evaluation. Written by experts, these articles will give you the knowledge you need to deeply understand Northwest wines.

Understanding "Balance" in Wine
Acid-Tannin-Fruit

by Peter Bell
Balance is a concept that on the surface seems very simple, but that turns out to be quite challenging. It is important to have some familiarity with what balance entails if you are to become a good wine taster.

Tasting Wine- A Sensory User's Manual
by Jim LaMar
Here is a detailed presentation of the science and methodology of wine tasting. Not for the casual reader, this article provides a clear explanation of the four elements of taste and the methodology of professional wine tasting. If you want to taste the way the experts do, this article will get you started.

How to Read a Wine Label
by Jim LaMar
There are collectors of wine labels who don't consume wine and consumers of wine who base their purchases entirely on the appeal of the labels. Understanding wine labels can be difficult and intimidating for the consumer who is primarily interested in the taste of the contents. Knowing what information labels are permitted to and are required to provide can help.

Global Warming and Oregon's Wine Crop
2002 vintage- fluke or trend?

By Harry Pederson-Nedry, Chehalem Winery
I wouldn’t suggest there is possibly (shh!) global climate change at work—we wouldn’t think of disagreeing with our government lest it be seen as a breach of homeland security or as threatening to industries and economies invested in generating greenhouse emissions, like the automotive and oil industries. We, the technologically most advanced country led by scientific wizards, wouldn’t ignore irrefutable data from multiple sources, refuse to sign Kyoto accords, be so arrogant as to think concerns and rules don’t apply to us just because we’re the biggest user and polluter, or just because of politics and the inconvenience it might cause our businesses—we wouldn’t, would we?

Aging Wine
by Harry Pederson-Nedry
Chehalem Winery
In great vintages, varietals from a cool climate age the best. This is not to say they stay the same. It is to say the quality improves or maintains despite the changes they naturally undergo. To expect a luscious, full-fruited, bright young wine to maintain those characteristics over twenty years is unrealistic. In great wines brightness and fruit do subside, but are replaced by additional complexities and flavors that depend less on the fruit aspect and more on floral, spice, forest and earth aspects.

Cool Climate Viticulture and Global Warming
by Harry Peterson-Nedry
It's not a question of IF or even WHEN, since it has already begun, it's a question of HOW BAD IT WILL BE! No one doubts that we are warming due to the greenhouse effect and greater solar intensity from ozone depletion— just consider anecdotal examples such as the loss of glacier mass sufficient to unearth long-buried animals and humans, the reduction over the last century of frost days in October in Germany from 6 to fewer than one, or the statistically undeniable high temperature records over the last two decades on all continents.

Trellising the Vineyard- Unsung Aspect of Wine
by Cole Danehower
Most wine drinkers never think about how the grapes that made their wine hang on the vine. Yet every winemaker worries intensely about the details of how to best trellis their vineyard vines in order to get the optimum ripeness for their grapes. Grape vine trellising is, for us consumers, an unsung yet vital component of what we finally taste in t

About Sparkling Wine
by Jim LaMar
The traditional way of making sparkling wine begins with the grape harvest, which is always early in the season, compared to the picking of still wines. Picking when sugars are relatively low keeps the alcohol low, since secondary fermentation will boost it later. Also, the youthful acids help to preserve the wine over the long course of its development.

How & Why Pinot noir Ages
by Lisa Shara Hall
So why drink an older Pinot? Of course, it is all a matter of preference. In broad generalities, some people--notably New World palates--prefer the fruity brighter flavors of a young wine. The British in particular are known for enjoying all wines with age and more complex, less fruit flavors. More....

About Pinot noir
by Jim LaMar
Pinot Noir is one of the oldest grape varieties to be cultivated for the purpose of making wine. Ancient Romans knew this grape as Helvenacia Minor and vinified it as early as the first century AD. The reputation that gets pinot noir so much attention, however, is owed to the wines of Burgundy (Bourgogne), France. For most of wine history, this two-mile-wide, thirty-mile-long stretch of hills, called the Côte d'Or ("Slope of Gold"), is the only region to achieve consistent success from the pinot noir vine.

Oregon Pinot noir Flavor Descriptors Chart
from UC Davis
Here is a chart used at the UC Davis Dept of Enology and Viticulture to train students to describe the aromas and flavors of Pinot noir. if you maintain a notebook of tasting notes, this is a useful chart to have on hand when attempting to capture the particular characteristics of an Oregon Pinot noir in words.

A History of Oregon Wine
by Lisa Shara Hall
Exerpted from her book
Oregon’s wine history dates back to the early settlement of the state in the mid-nineteenth century. Accounts of grape growing activity in Oregon coincide with early winemaking in California, each following their annexation to the United States. However, grape growing in California dates back even earlier to 1779 when Franciscan missionaries planted the very first vines.

Columbia Cascades Region Report
by Jean Yates
According to those in the know, great wines are coming out of a new wine region, the "Columbia Cascades". Publications including Wine Press NW and Wine Spectator have given 90+ and "Outstanding"
scores to wines from the region.



Italian Varietals Thrive in Pacific Northwest
by Lisa Shara Hall
Oregon and Washington both started with classic French varieties, as France was the "motherland" of classic wine. In the early days, experimentation with new varieties was not common. But as a winegrowing region evolves--especially one not clad in history, tradition, and complex appellation laws--winemakers feel more secure, and increasingly are asking the question, what else could grow well here?


Cataclysm, Light, & Passion
How Washington Came to Produce Some of the World's Greatest Wines
by Tim Seury, Washington State University
The geologic features of Washington State, and the way they effect the soil and climate of Washington's vineyards, are a fascinating story. We at Avalon are so pleased to offer you this intriguing tale of floods and glaciers and the results of eons of change. .....Jean

International Pinot Noir Celebration

A Photo Journal
by Jean Yates, Avalon owner

Seafood and Northwest Wine
Recipes from Alaska's Seafood Council with suggested NW wine pairings

"Mushrooms and Oregon Pinot Noir: A Kiss of Culinary Perfection"
by Christina Kelly

Recipes to Serve with NW Wines

Bananas Foster, Caesar Salad, lots more!

Focus on Syrah
Nw Wineries producing this spicy wine
to high aclaim

Shea Vineyard in Depth
by Cole Danehower
Shea Vineyard name has become one of the most prestigious labels in Oregon, placing it squarely among the elite terroirs of New World Pinot noir. “We’re working with people who are pushing the envelope,” says owner Dick Shea, “discovering new things every vintage to make their wine better. You have to constantly be on top of things—you can never rest on your laurels.”

Quail Run Vineyard
Don and Traute Moore own one of the most important Southern Oregon vineyards, producing grapes for Oregon and Washington wineries.

 
Interviews
Meet the people of the Pacific Northwest Wine World.
Since 1999, Avalon has published interviews with Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and British Columbia's most interesting wine people. Read the fascinating stories behind the wines you love, and develop a more in-depth understanding of how wine people think.
 
Winery Profiles
Learn about the wineries- read about their history, people, wines, vineyards, successes and challenges, and get a sense of the who, what, when, where of the winery.
 
Feature Articles
Each month Avalon publishes feature articles on different aspects of the Pacigic Northwest wine world. Historical tales of each state's wine industry, geological tales of how the geography and climate of the Northwest evolved, reports on different wine regions, and food and travel info are included.
 

Columns and Opinions
Read the musings of wine writers Cole Danehower and Christina Kelly, and keep up with Wine Press NW's "Wine of the Week". Avalon owner Jean Yates talks wine from her "Kitchen Counter Chronicles", and occasional guest writers talk NW wine.

 
Avalon's Monthly Newsletter
Our monthly newsletter consolidates all of our new articles and wine releases, , and twice a year, our two big sales. We publish the first info about new, hard to get releases and give our readers advance notice so they can grab the hard to get wines before they disappear.