The grapes for more than two-thirds of our 50 best wines were grown within an 11-square-mile section of the Willamette Valley American Viticultural Area, or AVA—Oregon’s first official appellation, established in 1983. However, the more important moment in the history of Oregon wine occurred in 1975, when Oregon began requiring every city in the state to implement an urban growth boundary. The result: numerous hillsides on the outskirts of Salem, McMinnville, and Forest Grove that might ha...

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