How to Properly Pronounce Willamette

Nothing says “you’re not from around here” faster than butchering certain words. Visiting Toronto, drop the second T. In New York City Houston Street divides the New Yorkers from the tourists.

That and scrunchies if you ask Carrie Bradshaw.

Wine Wednesday

What words should one learn to properly pronounce before moving to Oregon? For this wine lover, the answer was easy, Willamette. While it’s true Willamette Valley is far more laid back than say, Napa. Mispronunciations that big, are ripe for correction.

This wine writing introvert wanted to avoid all that before she sips and tells by learning how to properly pronounce Willamette.

How to Properly Pronounce Willamette

Unlike Italian words like Orecchiette and Otranto that require repetition, repetition, repetition, a simple rhyme heard once helps to properly pronounce Willamette.

It’s Willamette Dammit!

Pronunciation key for Willamette: Will-AM-it

A quick video for those who prefer to hear words pronounced correctly.

A bit of an unofficial slogan for Willamette Valley, It’s Willamette Dammit is quick and easy to remember.

I was curious how the phrase caught on and did a little digging.

There was a T-Shirt printed at least as far back as 2011 by Willamette Valley Vineyards with It’s Willamette Dammit on it.

Ah-ha! A clue!

Looks like my journey to discovery the Willamette is just getting started.

Being new to Oregon, it’s important to show respect for Willamette. So I’m planning my trip to Willamette Valley Vineyards, Sunset Magazine’s Best Vineyard/Tasting Room 2016.

Gotta see if I can find one of those T-Shirts!

Oh and for those still not sure.

How to Properly Pronounce Houston

It’s How-Stun. Not Hue-Stun like the city in Texas. Why? Now that’s a good question. I’ll leave it up to the New York Times to provide that answer.

For now, this former New Yorker and one-time Torontonian is getting to work. I need to find me one of those Willamette Dammit T-Shirts and learn how to properly pronounce over 500 winery names in the Willamette Valley.




  1. Funny post 🙂 I was taught how to say Wil-LAM-ette by my Oregonian friend. I used to live in a town called McPherson (Mick-FUR-sun) which had the slogan “No Fear in McPherson.” All these sublet things that separate locals from non-locals. Oh and Houston street? As a descendant of the HOW-ston family I’ve known the “real” way to say it my whole life. 😉


    1. Ok now that’s a story I want to hear! Your Houston Family tale. I can’t trace my family back for too many generations on either side, so I’m always fascinated by others stories.


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