Oregon Welcomes State’s 23rd AVA

Mount Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon — the newest appellation in Oregon and nested American Viticultural Area (AVA) in the Willamette Valley — has received federal recognition as an official AVA. 

Drawn to reflect distinct soil, topography and climate attributes, Mount Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon AVA becomes the 23rd federally recognized winegrowing region in Oregon and the 11th nested AVA within the Willamette Valley. The new nested AVA was granted approval by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) on June 3, 2022 and took effect on July 5, 2022. 

Located in Polk County, the Mount Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon AVA is characterized by the warmth of the nearby Willamette River, the mild influence of the Van Duzer winds, and the rain shadow of Laurel Mountain to the west. It is the Valley’s second smallest AVA at 5,530 acres but one of its most densely planted with 584 planted with wine grapes. Mount Pisgah was formed 65 million years ago as a sea floor volcano, and has since been covered by marine sediment which pushed up out of the ocean. This unique geology allows the grapes to develop a deep complexity in the region’s shallow soils. 

Over five years ago, Brad Ford of Illahe Vineyards and Winery petitioned the TTB for the addition of the AVA to the wine country map. Ten vineyards and two wineries join the new Mount Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon AVA. A full list of wineries and vineyards can be found below. 

“Thanks to an excellent group of growers who helped identify the most important aspects of our little mountain, I have no doubt we will continue to work together to build a beautiful destination for people willing to go the extra mile,” said Ford.

The most common grape varieties in the AVA are Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and Tempranillo.  Mount Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon AVA is located 15 miles west of Salem, Oregon, and is the second most southern nested AVA within the Willamette Valley AVA, next to Lower Long Tom, which was newly established in November 2021.

“Recognition of Mount Pisgah, Polk County, shows again how we continue to learn about, and appreciate, new areas of viticultural distinction in Oregon. Each one adds its own chapter to Oregon’s story of unique soils, unmatched geology, topography and globally recognized wine quality” said Oregon Wine Board President Tom Danowski. “These federal AVA designations take years to achieve as the standards are rigorous for establishing a region as clearly differentiated.”

To differentiate from another “Mount Pisgah” in Oregon’s Lane County, it was necessary for the AVA to be named Mount Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon––now the second longest named AVA in Oregon after The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater AVA, approved in 2015 and nested in the Walla Walla Valley AVA. Oregon is home to 995 wineries and 1,370 vineyards planted, generating an annual economic impact of $7.2 billion for the state.

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