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Getting the dirt on Oregon wine

Most Oregonians probably know that the Willamette Valley produces some of the most acclaimed wine in North America - and it's no surprise that both the climate and skill play a role in that.

But did you also know that a big part of our viticultural success comes, literally, from the ground up? It's true.

Twelve of the 16 essential elements for wine grapes come from the soil, greatly affecting what the French call terroir ('the taste of the place').

On Wednesday, June 20, you can get the dirt on how our local geology and hydrology have affected our vaunted place in the global wine world, when Scott Burns, a professor of geology at Portland State University, presents the Washington County Museum's Crossroads lecture.

Burns' lecture, titled 'The Mystery of Terroir - the Relationship of Geology, Soils and Climate to Wine,' will take place from 2 to 3 p.m. at the museum, 17677 N.W. Springville Road, on Portland Community College's Rock Creek campus.

Crossroads lectures are free to members and $3 for the public. For more information call 503-645-5353 or visit www.WashingtonCountyMuseum.org .