Oregon Wine Country Travel Review

oregon wine country
Exploring Oregon’s Wine Country

For the past forty years, Oregon’s wineries have sprouted up from just a few, small vineyards to over four hundred and fifty total, many located near the Portland area in the Willamette Valley. Oregon’s “Wine Road” winds through the Chehalem Mountains and the Red Hills of Dundee and are open from spring to fall but be wise and call ahead. Around them have grown beautiful inns, restaurants, a vibrant art culture and many festivals and outdoor events. The signature wines abound, including Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gerwurztraminer, Chardonnay and Rose.

Here are some great wineries to visit:

– Archery Summit: 18599 N.E. Archery Summit R., Dayton, OR. The specialty wine at Archery Summit is Vireton, a delicious white wine and it’s Pinot Noirs are award winning; especially its 1996 Premier Cuvee.
– Argyle Winery: 691 Highway 99 West, Dundee, OR. Renowned for its method champenoise brut rose as the first wine from Oregon served to the President of the United States, this picturesque farmhouse is sure to please the eye as well as the pallet.
– Brick House Vineyards: 18200 Lewis Rogers Lane, Newberg, OR. Opened by Doug Tunnell, former CBS foreign correspondent after a four-year-stay in France, Tunnell produced a subtle Gamay Noir from organic grapes planted on Ribbon Ridge in the Chehalem Mountains.
– Erath Vineyards: 9409 Worden Hill Rd. Dundee, OR. Boasting their new Chardonnays from French grapes, owner Dick Erath and master winemaker Rob Stuart continue to amaze with their creativity.
– Lange Winery: 18380 North East Buena Vista Dr., Dundee, OR. Don and Wendy Lange lend their expertise to create some the best Pinot Gris in the area.
– Panther Creek Cellars: 455 North Irvine St., McMinnville, OR. This former power station now houses a traditional winery and among the excellent Pinot Noirs is an excellent 1997 Muscadet Melon with a whiff of apricot.
– Rex Hill Vineyards: 30835 North Highway 99 W., Newberg, OR. Lynn Penner has crafted a Tuscany-style winery from a hazelnut drying barn which produces a unique Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Reserve Chardonnay.
– Sokol Blosser Winery: 5000 Sokol Blosser Lane, Dundee. If you are in the mood for a fantastic dessert wine look no further. The Evolution No. 9 is a dry, fruit-blend of nine white wines and ice in a gorgeous, frosted-glass bottle.
– Tasting Room in Carlton: 105 W. Main St., Carlton. Jay McDonald’s historic building is a former bank with the wine cellar now located in the building’s vault.
– WillaKenzie Estate: 19143 North East Laughlin Rd., Yamhill, OR. The soil created by the merging of the Willamette and McKenzie rivers gives this winery its name. Laurent Montalieu, the resident winemaker, says the soil rich in silt is responsible for a more palatable wine. The 1997 Pinot Gris is evidence enough.
– Yamhill Valley Vineyards: 16250 Oldsville Road, McMinnville, OR. Owner Steven Cary is quite proud of his Pinot Blancs, in their second year of production. Don’t miss out on his 1995 Pinot Noir Reserve either.
Here are some great places to stay:
– Springbrook Hazelnut Farm Bed & Breakfast: 30295 North Highway 99 W., Newberg. Prices range from $95 for double rooms to $175 for the carriage house and credit cards are not accepted. The mansion was built in 1912 in the Arts and Crafts milieu by a Pennsylvania furniture maker and is decorated with period pieces. Boasting formal gardens, a delightful pond as well as amenities like a swimming pool and tennis courts, owner Ellen McClure’s breakfasts of yogurt parfait, fresh fruit and baked goods will make the welcome complete.
– Partridge Farm: 4300 E. Portland Rd. Newberg, OR. This Inn will whisk you back to a more gentle time when guests were pampered with superb treatment and delicious breakfast fare. The Victorian farmhouse has two suites and one large bedroom available with country rustic furnishings and splendid views of the valley.
– Wine Country Farm Bed & Breakfast and Cellars: 855 Breyman Orchards Road, Dayton, OR. This inn features views of the upper Willamette Valley and the Cascade mountains, as well as a glimpse of Mount Jefferson. The six double rooms range from $84 to $125 per night and the inn includes a wine-tasting room and Arabian horses kept by owner Joan Davenport.
– Youngberg Hill Vineyard & Inn: 10660 South West Youngberg Hill Rd., McMinnville, OR. This inn is a former 1890’s farmhouse featuring seven guest beds with overstuffed armchairs to encourage pleasant conversations or just relaxation. The views from the veranda of Kevin and Tasha Byrd’s home are a perfect backdrop for a delicious breakfast before your day of winery tours.
– Downtown Portland: For the boutique hotel experience in the midst of wine country, the Hotel Vintage Plaza on Broadway offers doubles from $160 – $200 per night. The Heathman Hotel is reminiscent of 1920’s luxury and has double rooms starting at $210 per night. Chef at the Heathman Restaurant Philippe Boulot ensures guests a gastronomic delight.

Another great option you have is to get a limo ride to all of the wineries. You can get a large group together to split the bill and have a great time doing a wine limo tour around Portland. That is what I would do anyway!

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