Oregon relaxes wine naming rules

How would you like to be the first on your block to serve a genuine Oregon Pinot Grigio?

Impossible, you say? Oregon law requires that particular wine to be called a Pinot Gris, not Pinot Grigio.

Not anymore. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has introduced something new to the state's burgeoning wine industry: reasonability.

Oregon had long had the nation's tightest strictures on what it could and could not name its wines. That has changed, bigtime.

Winemakers now will be allowed to name a wine in any of 11 styles if it contains at least 75% of the specific grape, such as Sangiovese, Zinfandel and Syrah, the same standard as in all other states. Oregion previously had required 90%.

Considering that Oregon growers have 65 different grape varieties, continuing to require 90% presence in 54 styles -- including Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris -- isn't a huge move, but it is a start.

For a look at Oregon's wine trails, just click here.

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