How To Pronounce Willamette

by Tim Elliott on February 15, 2011

It's Willamette Dammit! T-Shirt

Photo from Willamette Valley Vineyards store

One of the dangers of being a wine podcaster is you have to say wine terms and regions out loud. It’s hard enough to keep everything spelled correctly and often over the years I’ve made some embarrassing mistakes on the podcast.

But the one that is probably most distressing for me was my butchering of Oregon’s Willamette Valley in Winecast 8. This provided an opportunity for Willamette Valley Vineyards President Jim Bernau to set me straight in Winecast 62 with a bit of good-natured ribbing. I only mention this embarrassing episode now since I am seeing a fair amount of search traffic for “pronounce willamette.”

So, for the record, the correct pronunciation of Willamette as it relates to the Oregon wine region is “Will-AM-it” as in “It’s Will-AM-it, damit!”

I have also made a note to add another podcast on the region to my things to do list so I can set the record straight in audio, too.

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  • Johnandjudylore

    Thank you for the correct pronunciation of Willamette! I “will admit” I was using the incorrect pronunciation.
    John Lore

  • Biff Sarin

    That’s alright. I just returned from a trip to NAPA. While there, I visited Viader Vineyards (BTW: absolutely BREATH-TAKING views) and learned the correct way to pronounce a winery which I had been following (and mispronouncing) since they were ‘WS wine of the year’ in 1998. I had always pronounced it vee-A-der like (Darth Vader with a long ‘V’). Turns out it is pronounced like vee-a-DARE or via-DARE. Great wine with a funny name, run by a ROCKSTAR wine maven of the same name.

    I don’t envy your position Tim, your podcast is a veritable minefield of linguistic challenges.

  • Donna Frank

    Thank you. I’ve been there several times but the way the locals pronounce it kind of rolls off them too quickly for one to internalize it! A gorgeous area of the world and the best domestic Pinot Noir … ah… I miss Oregon and Willemette Valley.

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