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'The next Napa': Willamette Valley makes Time's list of 'World's Greatest Places'

The magazine called the Willamette Valley 'the next Napa,' noting the region's increase in wineries and vineyards over the past two decades.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Time magazine is highlighting something many Oregonians already know to be true: The Willamette Valley is a top destination for wine. 

Oregon's popular winemaking region — which Time has dubbed "the next Napa" — earned a spot on the magazine's 5th annual list of the 'World's Greatest Places.'

This year, Time asked its global network of correspondents and contributors to help curate a list of travel destinations around the world "with an eye toward those offering new and exciting experiences," the magazine said. 

The list is comprised of an eclectic mix of places, from the ancient pyramids of Giza and Saqqara, to the famous food markets of Dijon, France, to the ski slopes of St. Moritz, Switzerland — and of course, the Willamette Valley. It's one of just five places in the United States that were featured in the Time's 50-spot list.

So what exactly makes the Willamette Valley among the best places in the world to visit, at least according to Time? In short, it's the region's many wineries and the vineyards.

In an article published on Thursday, Time called the region the "pinot noir powerhouse" in Portland's backyard. The magazine also noted the region's long winemaking history, which has caught the attention of prestigious French champagne maker Bollinger in recent years.

"The wine world let out a collective gasp in 2021 when Champagne house Bollinger made its first acquisition outside of France: not some place in Napa or Sonoma, but Ponzi Vineyards, which set the standard for Oregon winemaking back in the 1970s," Travel writer Nicholas Derenzo said in the article published to time.com.

The article also pointed out how the Willamette Valley's wine scene has exploded over the past two decades, growing from 135 wineries to more than 700 in Oregon's American Viticultural Area (AVA). As a result, the magazine said there has been a "constant flood" of new wine labels, testing rooms, restaurants and lodging options, along with more explorational ventures like Corollary Wines, which exclusively makes sparkling wines in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA.

This isn't the first instance where Time has put an international spotlight on Oregon. The magazine selected the city of Portland to its 2022 list of the world's greatest places.

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