The Columbia River Gorge:
A World of Wines

A Brief History

The Columbia River Gorge is an amazing place, not only for its diversity of wines, food and recreation but for its´ historical significance in history. For thousands of years, the river has played an integral part in the movement and survival of many peoples. As a passageway between the deserts of the east and the forests and ocean to the west, the Columbia Gorge has always served as a road upon which migrating people traveled in search of better weather or more consistent food sources. It is believed by historians that there have been humans living in the Gorge for over six thousand years, and that Celilo Falls, in the eastern gorge, is the oldest continually inhabited settlement in North America. The history of flora, fauna and geology in the Gorge is a unique tale which allows a view into many of the important steps in our continents´ evolution. Here one can broadly view the massive forces which carved our landscape and then focus in on the many small pieces which thread our world together.

Stunning Natural Beauty

Visitors to the Gorge are often amazed by the stunning beauty of the waterfalls and deep gorges carved out of the mountainsides, results of massive floods which came roaring down the Columbia basin at the end of the last ice age. As you travel west to east, you leave a dense range of mystical forests into a shimmering desert basking in intense heat and color. It is in the middle of this transition where we live, a forest to the west and desert to the east.

There are so many various reasons why humans have been attracted to the Gorge over time, from ample food sources and safe passage through the mountains to industry, agriculture, recreation and just the sheer beauty of it.

Winemaking And The Columbia River Gorge History

The world of wine here is not so old. European settlers in the 19th century planted vines around the Gorge, making wine for themselves and their friends, but it was not until the 1970´s that a commercial industry began to grow. As demand for wine in America grew, and as California´s wine industry flourished, more and more adventurous souls came to the Gorge seeking new land and new opportunities. Slowly, as the market grew, new vineyards were planted and advances in modern winemaking made commercial wine production possible, Washington gained a solid place on the American wine stage.

Now there are over 30 wineries operating in the Columbia Gorge. A new appellation was designated in 2004 to specifically identify wines produced from Columbia Gorge grapes. Our area is quite diverse geographically, ranging from cool climate high altitude vineyards in the west to hot and dry desert vineyards in the east. Within this wide range, many different styles of wines are produced, covering almost the entire gamut of winegrape varieties grown in the state. A visit to the wineries of the Gorge will cover many different styles and influences, from dry, crisp white wines from the cool climates to ripe, luscious reds grown in the heat of the desert.

COR Cellars And The Gorge Community

COR Cellars is located on Old Highway 8 outside of Lyle, WA, a place where in the last few years a small band of like minded winemakers have all found their way to share similar ground and similar ambitions. We work closely with our neighbors and friends in sharing a commitment to producing only the highest quality wines which showcase our select vineyards in the best possible style. While there is much that we share idealistically, we all produce different varieties and styles of wines, so a visit to Lyle will take you across many different wines and influences; French, Italian, Spanish and Swiss. It is our collective hope that visitors coming to Lyle find a variety of wines which open their eyes to all that the Gorge and Washington in general has to offer.

Enjoy Outdoor Activities Near Lyle, Washington

In addition to the classic pleasures of wine and food, Lyle is also smack in the middle of some of the best hiking, fishing. kiteboarding, windsurfing, kayaking and mountain biking on the planet. The cultural past of ancient peoples mixed with a vibrancy and energy of youth showcases many different views and personalities of our history. We hope that you come with open eyes and open minds, for they will certainly be filled with many delightful surprises.