The Power of Pinot

February 20, 2024

Why Oregon Pinot Noir is the Better Option When Choosing a Wine

By April Zawada

January 21, 2024

Wine is more than a drink. It is enjoyment. It is relaxation. It is a luxury that evokes emotion with every sip. But not all wine is the same. In particular, the Pinot Noir varietal is extremely interesting and is the better option when choosing a wine. Below I will explore my thoughts from an insider’s view of this magical little grape grown in an absolutely world-class Terroir.


Oregon wine is “raised”, not manufactured. Oregon typically contains smaller, less commercial boutique vineyards that have ability to hand select specific blocks, clones and barrels rather than a “formula” applied year over year to a mass-produced crop. Violet Vines embodies this approach making hands on decisions from vine to barrel to bottle every day!

Oregon uses many sustainable practices in the vineyard that are better for the environment and in my opinion, contribute to quality. Oregon receives so much rain in the off-season that we have the unique ability to “dry farm” our vineyards (meaning no irrigation). This also allows us to plant and grow cover crop between each row in the fall and winter which accomplishes several things. It replenishes nutrients to the soil (without the need for mass fertilization), soaks up large amounts of rain and controls erosion. Oregon also typically hand-picks, hand-sorts and hand-prunes its vineyards. Violet Vines incorporates these techniques harnessing the brilliance of Mother Nature.

Pinot noir is a very particular grape and can only be grown in specific regions. Its thin skin is very sensitive to its environment and requires constant attention. There are very few areas across the world that can offer the Pinot noir varietal such specific conditions.

Oregon’s Willamette Valley AVA is one of the few such renowned regions as it is cooler, dryer, less humid, and protected from the North Pacific Ocean by two mountain ranges on each side of the valley. This results in a steady, long growing season, forcing the roots to dive deeper into the complexities of the soil to look for water. Additionally, cooling winds come in late afternoon through a corridor in the coast mountains which cool the grapes and dry the vines so that they are naturally protected from mold and fungus. Collectively, the amazing terror delivers ideal conditions with minimal intervention. The result? A grape with intensity, character, and nuance. 

Health Benefits

Cooler climate grapes translate into lower sugar, lower alcohol, and lower calories. This resonates with many women and health-conscious people around the country including myself! There are many wine companies currently trying to market this model to women. The problem is that they typically use inexpensive hot climate varietals and then need to intervene which ends up striping the flavor from the wine. In the Willamette Valley, the grapes enjoy a long hang-time for greater flavor, naturally do not get over-ripe, and thus do not produce as much sugar. The more sugar content in the grapes means it ferments into a higher alcohol product. A higher alcohol product equals higher calories. I didn’t fully understand this until I became a part of the Oregon wine industry and I think it is an important concept to understand.

Pinot noir has the highest levels of resveratrol than any other grape making it the healthiest-rated wine (in moderation, of course!). Although red wines have many traits that make them healthy, Pinot noir boosts the highest amount of resveratrol which is a plant compound that is concentrated in the skins and seeds of grapes and berries. Resveratrol has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits including heart and brain health with new and exciting research being studied every day.


Pinot Noir is the most versatile red wine. It is easy to drink during all four seasons of the year due to its light body, complex aromatics, and higher acidity. It offers the flexibility to enjoy a vast variety of simple and healthy food pairings:

  • Think delicate semi-soft cheeses like fontina and goats milk cheese for an appetizer.
  • Think farm-to-table lean beef, chicken, pork or a savory vegetarian dish for the main course.
  • Think berry cheesecake or milk chocolate mousse for dessert.

{More on food pairing in upcoming blogs!}

Bonus…and important to us women!

Pinot Noir does not stain your teeth! If I’m out for the evening at a restaurant with friends, a wedding or a business dinner the last thing I want is to order a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Petite Syrah that will make my smile look purplish black. Yikes, not very attractive!

I invite you to raise a glass of Pinot to your well-being and celebrate the small producers of Oregon wine!

Note: consume in moderation of one-two (5oz) glasses per day.

Pinot Noir Grapes
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