Willamette Valley a top wine destination

Willamette Valley a top wine destination

EUGENE, Ore. -- The Willamette Valley was named one of the top wine destinations in the US by TripAdvisor.

Sonoma County and Napa Valley in California were ranked in the number one and two spots, respectively, with the Willamette Valley rounding out the top 3.

Dan Smith, owner of Sweet Cheeks Winery in Eugene, said the climate and soil makes the Willamette Valley wines wonderful. "This is a cooler site, which allows our pinots to ripen slowly, and if we're lucky enough to have the summer we've had and the Fall, then all the flavors and acids come together to make it just what you've always looked for," said Smith.

"We can't do a cab or a merlot up here because we're not warm enough, but we do a dynamite job on the pinot noir," said Smith.

Mark Nicholl is the wine maker at Sweet Cheeks, and he says the Willamette Valley has a wide range of diversity for growing vineyards. "The Willamette Valley has a tremendous range of wines and wine styles. There's all these different marker climates up and down the valley," said Nicholl.

Nicholl says this harvest was successfull because of the summer weather. "We've had these warm, but not hot summer days...and beautiful clear skies," said Nicholl.

With this rankining on TripAdvisor, it may bring in more tourism and people to the Willamette Valley.

"I think a lot of people have been to Napa Valley and Sonoma, but I think people are always interested in trying something new," said Lisa Lawton, director of community relations at Travel Lane County.

"I think it will certainly attract more visitors to the area. I think they will be curious of trying our region if they have not been to our wine country," said Lawton.

The TripAdvisor rankings for top wine destinations in the U.S. are as follows:

1.Sonoma County, California
2.Napa Valley, California
3.Willamette Valley, Oregon
4.Finger Lakes, New York
5.Long Island, New York
6.Paso Robles, California
7.Temecula Valley, California
8.Walla Walla, Washington