The colorful vines lining the hills of J. Wrigley vineyards combat the dark and rainy gloom that embodies Oregon in October. Perched atop one of the larger hills in the valley, I have a birds-eye view of the surrounding vineyards and forests from the tasting room patio. During the summer the area would buzz with tourists and traffic noise, but today it’s silent. Harvest has come and gone, school is back in session and the rainy fall weather deters most area vinophiles from venturing out for a day of wine tasting. I have this winery (and most subsequent ones) to myself. The resulting intimate and authentic tasting encounters are what has come to define Oregon wine country.
Anyone familiar with Oregon Wine Country will tell you it can’t be experienced in one day, or even in one trip. Each AVA and appellation has its own character, taste and highlights that are worth experiencing at least once. One of the more popular areas to wine taste in the Willamette Valley is the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, due to its stunning vineyards, beautiful views, and close proximity to Portland. If you’re looking for the best views in Oregon wine country, look no further.
If you’re like me and embark on a day of wine tasting without the forethought to pack a picnic lunch, I highly recommend paying a visit to Durant Vineyards. In addition to being one of the only vineyards in Dundee Hills that serves food (priorities), Durant Vineyards offers guests spectacular views of the Willamette Valley from the large patio, as well as a friendly staff and a spacious tasting room. READ MORE
Located in McMinnville AVA, Coeur de Terre is a fairly new vineyard with a lot of passion behind it. French for “Heart of the Earth,” the name Coeur de Terre was inspired by a large heart-shaped rock found while excavating the grounds for the vineyard. The owners, Scott and Lisa Neal, planted the vineyard themselves and have lived on the property, farmed the land (using organic farming techniques), and made the wine since its inception. READ MORE
Perched atop the picturesque Dundee hills, Domaine Drouhin’s 225-acre estate boasts some of the best views in the area. The tasting room is large with high ceilings and offers guests the quintessential “big-winery tasting experience.” The fine wines, architecture and French style may initially come off as a bit intimidating or ostentatious to first-timers – however the friendly and knowledgeable staff are quick to make you feel at home. READ MORE
When I first entered the White Rose tasting room, it took my eyes a few minutes to adjust to the small (very) dimly lit interior. The cozy rustic wood and leather décor present the feeling of stepping into an attic or log cabin. While the grounds are beautiful, the tasting room offers no windows for guests to enjoy the view. Despite this, the intimate experience and A+ hospitality make the tasting room worth a visit. I was somewhat surprised to discover they only serve Pinot Noir READ MORE