Shirley Brooks, VP of sales and marketing, Elk Cove Vineyards in Oregon said the Oregon wine industry still has mountains to climb but “there is definitely a better understanding of Oregon wines now in the UK”.
“Only a tiny percentage of Oregon wine leaves the US and even Oregon itself. We are just starting to get our wines out there on the world stage.
Brooks said consumers are starting to understand that Oregon can offer more than just Pinot Noir, which is the varietal the state is most famous for.
“We have grown our vineyard and we now have six different single vineyards and I would like to see a few more of them available to the export market. It’s a good expression of our diversity. Presently only two or three of our single vineyard wines are available in the UK but I would like this to be more like four or five.
“For us our white wine programme is equally important as the reds, even though reds make up the bulk of our wine. Pinot Gris is our flagship white and it is the number two planted varietal in the state. We focus on aromatic crisp white wines, and these have been well received. We hope to bring across Pinot Blanc in the future once these are well established.”
Others also point to the growing interest in Oregon as a wine producing state.
Howard Rossbach, president of Firesteed Cellars in Oregon, said the company’s wines are selling well through key premium wine retail outlets in the US, and it is now seeking similar top-end stores in the UK.
“Oregon has become really hot and it is the one place in the world that Burgundians are buying up lots of property; they aren’t looking at California or other New Zealand – it’s because wines from this area have finesse and elegance, and they offer new world fruit characteristics. The alcohol levels are modest – 12.5 to 14% abv, and there are similarities in terroir.