Anna Maria Giambanco DiPietro
June 7, 2021 | TERROIR TALKS | Anna Maria Giambanco DiPietro

Terroir Talk #2

Food & Wine Magazine refers to the term “AVA” as “The most important wine acronym you need to know”, but what do these three letters stand for? An AVA or American Viticultural Area, simply put, is a specific vineyard area based on climate and geography. A legal designation administered by the U.S. Tax & Trade Bureau, “AVA” identifies particular zones as unique wine-growing regions.

Hawks View Winery is situated in the Laurelwood District, the newest federally approved American Viticultural Area. Nestled within the Chehalem Mountains in Willamette Valley, this AVA is notable for its distinctive soils. You may not give much thought to the ground beneath you, but certain soils, such as those in our vineyard, generate remarkable grapes. In this ongoing series, we’ll continually discuss terroir, which translates from French to “the taste of the place”. Read on to learn a bit about the Chehalem Mountains AVA, where the terroir is heavily influenced by the soils, geology, and bedrock.


Established in 2006, the Chehalem Mountains AVA is located in the Washington and Yamhill counties of northwestern Oregon. Nineteen miles southwest of Portland and 45 miles east of the Pacific Ocean, this viticultural area is home to 179 vineyards. Its 62,187 acres encompass an area that’s 20 miles long and 5 miles wide from southeast to northwest. 

The most common grape varieties grown here are Pinot Noir (69.89%), Pinot Gris (3.79%), and Chardonnay (3.75%). The Chehalem Mountain’s Bald Peak is the highest point (1,633 feet above sea level) in the Willamette Valley, which separates this AVA from others in the area. 

Hawks View vineyards with fresh soil


Hawks View is located in the southeast half of the Chehalem Mountains AVA.

Geologically, lava flows which formed the Columbia River Basalts 5-15 million years ago are the basis of the soils concentrated in the southeastern Chehalem Mountains. Powerful winds scoured sediment from the surrounding landscape during the last Ice Age. This created iron-rich, free-draining, volcanic soils, which are ideal for all things viticulture.

Don’t fret, we won’t test you when you visit, but you’ll certainly be able to rattle off a few impressive facts about the Chehalem Mountains AVA at your next gathering!

Ready for some wine tasting? Check out a bottle of our 2018 Muirfield Pinot Noir—made from our finest estate-grown grapes, our Muirfield block, planted to own-rooted Wädenswil clone. Priced to reflect our highest quality grapes selected down to the individual berry, new barrels, and extremely low availability, this wine will complement a special occasion dinner. Try a bottle today, then share your terroir tasting notes with us via email, or tag us in a social media post.

Call 503-625-1591 to make your reservation to visit our Tasting Room, and join the Hawks View Winery Wine Club to take advantage of member perks like a 20% discount on wine, merchandise, and event tickets, as well as 25% off full case purchases.



Commenting has been turned off.
Recent Posts