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Willamette Valley gears up for annual Pinot Noir auction

Winemakers in Oregon’s Willamette Valley will preview their ‘one-of-a-kind’ Pinot Noir lots in a series of events this week in preparation for the sixth annual trade auction on 5 August.

Formally called the Willamette: The Pinot Noir Auction, this year’s event will feature 85 lots of Pinot Noir and seven lots of Chardonnay, each a one-of-a-kind winemaker’s expression of the 2019 vintage, according to auction co-chair Jessica Endsworth of the Northwest Wine Co.

The lots represent nine of the valley’s AVAs, and the auction features 17 first-time participants in the event.

In addition to fund-raising, the event is meant to show that, while many other varieties are planted in the appellation, the region wants to be known primary for its Pinot Noirs.

The auction will take place live and online 5 August from WillaKenzie Estate in Yamhill. There will be walk-around tastings this week for those attending in person and a variety of online tasting events and seminars.

Open only to the trade and media, licensed trade members interested in participating either in person or by virtual bidding can register at

“The 2019 vintage was a return to a classic Willamette Valley growing season, complete with late summer rains that characterise the Pacific Northwest,” said auction co-chair, Rob Alstrin, president and CEO of Adelsheim.

“The vintage is defined by elegant complexity with wines that are built to age,” he added.

Last week the Willamette Valley received formal recognition and protection by the European Union (EU) through Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status approval, according to Emily Petterson of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association (WVWA).

The only other similarly protected appellation in the United States is Napa Valley. The WVWA has over 230 members representing wineries, tasting rooms and vineyards throughout the Willamette Valley.

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