Oregon's main wine-producing region is a natural valley covering over 6000 square miles, bordered by the Columbia River, the Calapooya Mountains, the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, and the Oregon Coast Range. The pinot noir grape grows especially well there, since much of the valley sits at the 45th parallel, just like the Burgundy region of France. Other Burgundian and Germanic grape varieties, such as Chardonnay, White Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Muller-Thurgau also grow well. The cool, wet climate, combined with favorable latitude, makes it possible for Willamette Valley vintners to regularly produce pinot noir wines considered by experts to be among the best in the world.
Tourists flock to the Willamette Valley to visit over 120 wineries, either for wine tasting, winery tours, or both. The picturesque, rolling hills are often used as a backdrop for weddings and other special events.
Although pinot noir is clearly the dominant wine in this region, wineries have been known to branch out after mastering pinot noir. Argyle Winery, for example, also produces sparkling wines that are regularly served at formal dinners at the White House. Sokol Blosser Winery, one of the valley's first wineries, produces exceptional dessert wines in addition to their reknown pinot noir.