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Andrew Alden

GSA, The Aftermath

By October 22, 2009

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Today, the day after the GSA Annual Meeting is over, I will be taking a field trip to three wineries in the Columbia River region. A presentation at the meeting noted that the Washington/Oregon wine region is the world's largest viticultural area on basalt soils, and that the chemistry of these soils makes them exceptionally fertile. At the least, I hope to acquire a bottle of Subduction Red, a Rhone-style blend from Syncline Cellars. See its sister, Syncline Syrah, in my gallery of geologic wine labels.

A day of total terroir: Geologists tour the Napa Valley
Geology and wine


October 22, 2009 at 6:16 am
(1) RAL says:

I’ve been dropping by this site on an irregular basis for many years, a result of a lifelong amateur interest in geology.

It is a clearly a labor of love on your part. It is always interesting, well organized, and informative. Your attitude about all this is most admirable.

Just wanted to leave a brief note and say thanks ever so much for all you do here. Now I’m off to explore the section on the Ice Age Flood Trail. Enjoy your wine :-)

October 25, 2009 at 7:41 pm
(2) TrishBerrong says:

Hi Andrew ~ I want to second RAL’s comments, I am learning so much from your class.

I was born and raised in White Salmon WA, so am very familiar with the Columbia River Gorge. Truly one of the most spectacular places in the world (of course, I am biased)!

Did you try any of the wines from the winery in Bingen? They are quite tasty, especially the Pinot Noir.

I have lived or traveled extensively from Walla Walla to the mouth of the Columbia and now live near the mouth in Ocean Park WA. I plan one day to follow the Columbia where she meets the Snake to her mouth in Canada, I traveled that route to the border when I was a kid.

My Dad worked the woods of Gifford Pinchot National Forest and he is responsible for my interest in geology. I am having so much fun learning and collecting specimens.


October 28, 2009 at 12:08 am
(3) Jim Repka says:


As I read this post I could not help but think of my time at Berkeley, where my intro class was taught by David Jones, who had recently come to Berkeley from the USGS.

David (who passed away in 2007) and his wife owned Lava Cap winery in the Sierra gold country near Placerville, named for the volcanic deposits that overlay the placer deposits in parts of the region. Though as students we could not afford his fine products, I recently attended the wedding of some former students where they served Lava Cap Petite Sirah, which was wonderful (I should have photographed the bottle for your gallery)…

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