At the invitation of the Oregon Wine Board, I attended the Oregon Pinot Camp 2022 (OPC), a three-day educational program sponsored by the Oregon Wine Board and Oregon producers to deepen understanding of Oregon wine. This year, about 20 from overseas and over 200 from the U.S. involved in the wine industry were invited to the event which was held at the end of June.DAY ０： Opening ReceptionMore than 150 wines were lined up at the opening reception, held the night before the program started. Managing Director Janie Brooks Heuck and winemaker Chris Williams of Brooks, which Village Cellars imports, welcomed us with tastings of the Brooks Extended Tirage Sparkling Riesling 2017 and Janus Pinot Noir 2018.The sparkling Riesling is secondary fermented in the bottle for 40 months, and showed citrus, oyster shell, and brioche aromas, rich acidity, and varietal character, together with yeasty notes from extended bottle aging. [Production: 300 cases]. The Janus is the flagship wine that founder Jimi Brooks first made in 1998 when he founded the winery. Approachable and balanced, it showed cherry, plum, violet, cinnamon and other spices, with good fruit and acidity. In Roman mythology, Janus is the god of doors, gates and transitions, and represented the middle ground between dualities, like the ultimate expression of Pinot Noir. [Production: 1,200 cases]We also met with the owner and winemaker Jason Lett and overseas export sales manager Russ Margach, of The Eyrie Vineyards (also imported by Village Cellars). The Eyrie is famous for the first Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards planted in the Willamette Valley in 1965 by Papa Pinot, the late David Lett. Pinot Gris was also planted for the first time in the United States at the same time.We tasted the The Eyrie Vineyards Original Vines Pinot Gris 2015 (magnum) and 2021, made from fruit grown on its own rootstock planted in 1965. The 2015 showed pear and quince compote, was textured, drinkable and layered, with a sense of maturity. It has no added sulphites. The 2021 (not in stock yet) was fresher and brighter than the 2015, with more acidity. We then tasted the The Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Noir 2018, also made from old vines planted in 1965. It showed wild berries, mushrooms, and earth, with deep and elegant acidity. [Production:440 cases].DAY １：Workshops: Geology and Sense of Place, + a busy dinnerThen, the program begins. The theme of the morning workshop was ‘Geology’, an essential topic when discussing Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. The venue was Domaine Serene, located in the Dundee Hills, in the same area as The Eyrie Vineyards.We moved to a slightly lower and gentler east-facing slope on the property where we could see the topography and faults, and were briefed on ‘volcanic basalt soil (= Jory Loam)’ fault which consists predominantly of 15-million years old basalt. The collision of the Pacific and North American plates that began about 15 million years ago lifted the seafloor to form the Coastal and Cascade Ranges. The lava (volcanic basalt) that flowed from the eruption on the east side of the Cascades reached a depth of 100m, and covered the surface of the Willamette Valley. Then, between 18,000 and 15,000 years ago, glaciers melted inland near Missoula, Montana, and repeated floods carried large amounts of sediment into the Columbia River Basin. The accumulated layers were gradually reoriented and brought to the surface by ongoing plate collisions, forming the complex soils of the Willamette Valley.Next, we moved into the vineyard where the grapes were planted. A 1.8 meters deep hole dug between the rows allowed us to see how the roots reach from the surface to the base rock. Apparently the grapes cannot express the character of the soil unless the roots reach the base rock.Next, we went to the Lange Estate, located northeast of the Dundee Hills. We spent the afternoon in the ‘Sense of Place’ workshop, with comparative tastings of Pinot Noirs in three flights. The purpose of Flight 1 was to experience the character of the primary soils of the Willamette Valley, with blind tastings of Pinot Noir grown on (1) volcanic basalt, (2) marine sedimentary soils, and (3) wind-driven loess.Flight 2 focused on ‘aspect’. As mentioned earlier, the topography of the Willamette Valley has very complex undulations due to uplift, eruption, and flooding, resulting in frost damage in early spring at lower elevations and inadequate ripening at elevations above 300 meters. This comparative tasting revealed how the different slopes and orientations of the vineyards affect sunshine and temperature, and wind affects skin thickness.In Flight 3, three winemaker panelists introduced pairs of wines made under the same conditions using fruit from different vineyards, and compared and tasted the effects of soil, elevation, orientation and microclimates.We returned to the hotel after the informative workshop for a 90-minute pre-dinner tasting of 150-200 wines, the same a s the night before. A three-course dinner was then served in a tent in the plaza next to the winery. There was wine on each table, but the producers walked around and generously served from their own museum collection of back vintages and magnums. We were very busy emptying the glasses between wines! After the meal, we watched the sun set over the Coastal Mountains with a glass of wine in hand.DAY ２：Workshops: Biology and the Oregon WayIn the morning, a biology workshop was held in the vineyard, followed by a blind comparative tasting of Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and sparkling wines. In the afternoon, we discussed how different factors such as soil, site, vintage, and vinification produce different wines through a comparative tasting of Pinot Noirs. The ‘differences’ come from multiple perspectives, so while it’s hard to pinpoint a characteristic to a particular condition. However, I was able to sense a consistent Oregon-ness in all the wines I drank. It is not easy to put into words, but especially the Pinot Noirs are not like those from other countries such as Burgundy or New Zealand.The soil, aspect, wind from both the ocean and the hinterland, all these influences make Oregon wines truly unique. It was a fascinating and exhilarating three days featuring countless wines.At the dinner. I always wanted to try the salmon bake, the Oregonian specialty dish using Native American cooking technique. It's also a must-have at OPC.