Arguably the most famous and prestigious of the Willamette Valley AVAs, the mitten-shaped Dundee Hills (romantically embellished, The Red Hills of Dundee) lie just over an hour out of Portland. And indeed, some of the Valley’s most famous vineyards and wineries are here: Domaine Drouhin, Archery Summit, and Argyle, as well as few that are happy to fly under the radar like De Ponte and White Rose. Eyrie started the Willamette Valley wine industry from scratch in the 60s, and Sokol Blosser is the first winery built from the ground up—not from a converted building. Today, 50 vineyards are spread over just under 2000 acres, from 200-1100 feet in elevation. There are 25 wineries, producing over 45,000 cases. The Red Hills offer up an abundance of fruit flavors, but the high iron content in the volcanic Jory soil makes for an acidic wine—meaning tart, young fruit flavors. This is well-drained, cool clay soil, sometimes full of rocks that look more like the Rhone’s galets than anything else in Oregon (Anderson Family Vineyards, for example)—and it’s red, very red. And although it might be the power of suggestion, there’s a distinctly red fruit character that comes from it. Underneath that red clay is basalt rock, which after a few decades, some of those vines are beginning to reach. Stewart Boedecker’s take on all this is slightly different from other producers, since he blends different AVAs with Dundee to get his signature cuveé (his wife Athena’s blend is predominantly Yamhill-Carlton fruit). But get a nose full of Stewart’s wine and the influence of the Dundee Hills is clear. The nose “starts with a high-toned cherry,” he says, “then leads to a forest floor, brambly tone—which I really dig.” Tasters sometimes get a subtle iron, mineral note that’s both earthy and a little meaty; like mushrooms. On the palette, bright cherry, raspberry, and currants, “lighter, higher-toned red fruit. There’s less wind, which leads to softer tannins. But that bright red Jory soil is what I think leads to that red fruit profile.” Red it is and a warmer vintage like 2009 makes it redder still, and this red factor could make for an unbalanced wine. But good winemakers make good wine whatever the vintage and here, the wineries of the Dundee Hills have an edge. They were here first and are a few years ahead of the curve, and do not take terroir lightly. These winemakers relish the bright acidity that the Dundee Hills offers, and are styling wine to express it. “Nothing like it” is not a cliché here. Every winemaker in the Red Hills of Dundee can demonstrate exactly that. Scroll down for a comprehensive list of Dundee Hills wineries and click “map view” to access the advanced winery search. Whether you want to visit a winery that provides beautiful vineyard lodging, has food available to complement its wines, hosts vineyard weddings, or produces wines from organic grapes, we make it easy to find the best Dundee Hills wine tasting and touring destinations.