Oregon’s Willamette Valley — about 40 minutes away from Portland — is known for one thing: pinot noir.
And while the pinot noir from this region is oh-so tasty, the Valley has much more to offer wine lovers. There are a whopping 378 wineries in this region, and the following four wineries all offer visitors experiences that they’re sure to remember for years.
So, hop on a plane or get in a car to see and taste wine from Oregon’s largest wine-producing region.
The view at Stoller is just incredible. You’ll take in the tire swing, chairs, and rolling hills of the on-site vineyard. Sip Stoller’s tasty vino from the open-air, 100-percent solar-powered tasting room as you soak up this picture-perfect view. I fell in love with the pinot reserve and even took to a crisp, sharp chard. If the weather’s nice, enjoy your glass outside by the tire swing.
The drive getting here is magnificent and takes you through the Valley’s rolling hills. The Allison Inn and Spa (tip: if you’re staying there, ask the concierge to arrange tastings and for tasting coupons) brought me along with a few other writers to this winery and the three others below back in May. After a tour of the winemaking facilities, we headed underground for a private tasting. Held in a romantic dim-lit room, the tasting had a medieval feel to it. The most memorable drink there was white pinot, a specialty you’ll enjoy if you book a special tasting. This is a private tour, so be sure to book ahead if you’re interested.
As this winery’s name might suggest, the view here is great. Five different Cascade peaks make up this straight-out-of-a-storybook vista. On clear days, you can even see Mt. Hood. Take in these sweeping mountain views as you sip wines inside Hawks View’s modern — complete with marble countertops and bright, white walls — tasting room. After a brief tour of the winemaking facilities, we had lunch outside on the patio. I choose to accompany my meal with a deep and dark red malbec. But this winery is known for its pinot noir (naturally) and pinot gris, too.
Fun fact: The owner of this winery, James Frey, is also an artist. You’ll immediately fall in love with his 1,500-square-foot art gallery that’s beside the tasting area. Try the riesling or pinot noirs here. I personally really enjoyed the riesling and appreciated the break from all the pinot. I also liked how the owner also paired his wine with award-winning local cheese from Briar Rose Creamery for our tasting. If you’re winery hopping and need food to pair with your vino, I’d suggest this place. I loved the classic chèvre and could not get enough of the chocolate-covered goat cheese truffles; yes, they were heavenly and decadent.
Teresa Tobat is a travel writer and editor based out of the Washington, D.C. area. View her website at teresaktobat.com. Follow her tweets @ttobat88.