How do you find the best Oregon wineries? This is a hard question to give a definitive answer to since at best it is a subjective question that people will have different answers for. You can decide which wineries in the state are a must for you to visit by deciding what kinds of wine you like and how much you are willing to spend, as well as how deep your appreciation for fine wine goes. Concerns over sustainable agriculture can also be a factor. Here is a brief guide to the various areas where wineries in Oregon are found:

Columbia River Gorge. Located some 60 miles east of Portland, this region includes the Columbia Gorge American Viticultural Area as well as part of the Columbia Valley AVA. Covering an area of 40 miles, the area is host to 13 Oregon and 18 Washington wineries as well as 26 Oregon and 24 Washington vineyards. The types of wines produced in the area include Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah.

Willamette Valley. Undoubtedly, this is where many of the best Oregon wineries can be found. The Willamette Valley is the biggest wine producing area in the state, with its AVA running 150 miles long and 60 miles wide. The Valley is divided into six smaller AVAs, each of which has its own unique climactic and geographic characteristics for growing grapes, including the recently approved Chehalem Mountain AVA and the Yamhill-Carlton District AVA. There are more than 200 wineries in the Willamette Valley, spread over 12,000 acres of vineyards. Although this area produces many types of wine including Chardonnay and Pinot Gris, the Willamette Valleyhas become most famous for its cool-climate Pinot Noir.

Eastern Oregon. The greater part of the area of the Columbia Valley AVA lies in Washington state with only a small section in Oregon that stretches from the Dalles to Milton-Freewater. The area is 208 miles long and 185 miles wide, and has some 29,000 vineyard acres with 50 wineries. The most popular wine varieties produced in East Oregon includes Riesling, Merlot, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer.

Southern Oregon. Found in the southeast end of the state, the Southern Oregon AVA stretches 125 miles from the south of Eugene to the border with California and 60 miles wide at its widest. It encompasses the Umpqua Valley and Rogue Valley AVAs. The area is home to 17 wineries and 120 vineyards spread over 3,000 acres. The prominent wines produced in Southern Oregon include White Riesling, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Tempranillo.

You can use the above guide to find which area produces the type of wines you are interested in tasting. Once you ve decided on a particular area, there are a variety of online resources you can use to narrow down your search further until you find the wineries you want. For example, each wine producing area has its own official site with a directory of the wineries found there. You can also use tourist sites that post user reviews of the various wineries to help you find the best Oregon wineries to visit.