One of the newest American Viticultural Areas, the Laurelwood District, is named for the type of loess soils found in abundance on the eastern slope of the Chehalem Ridge. Laurelwood soil is particularly suited to grape growing and consists of a windblown freshwater sedimentary topsoil and underlying basalt.
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris reign with the majority of vineyards planted to Pinot Noir. The influence of the two distinct layers of soil is apparent in wines crafted from older versus younger vines. In Pinot Noirs crafted from older vines, violet, anise, and white pepper dominate the aromatics, with flavors of blue and black fruit, present tannins, and earthy notes. The wines from younger vines, on the other hand, offer more floral aromatics, red fruit flavors, and soft, dusty tannins.
The Laurelwood District AVA was approved in 2020, further defining the region by the predominant Laurelwood soils. Although it is one of the newest AVAs, the area has a nearly 50-year-old winegrowing history. In 1972, the first vines were planted on Laurelwood soils by the Johnson family at Dion Vineyard.