While the state of Oregon might not sound like the most affluent place for wineries, Willamette Valley produces some of the finest wines in the world. The cold weather and the scarce amount of sunlight that falls on this corner of the world aren’t favorable conditions for making wine. Frost is common and the region’s best-selling wine, the Pinot Noir is extremely sensitive to cold weather. Yet, the wine tasting in Oregon crowd is huge and people from all over the United States come here for a glass of red. So the question remains, what makes the wines from Oregon so good?
The answer is passion, and it is in no way an underwhelming usage of the word as the people that work in the Oregon wine industry are extremely dedicated to their job. To be making wines in such egregious conditions and have it consistently rank among the best in the world is no small feat. The people who make wines in this region all have two things in common, they are enthusiastic winemakers, and they love tinkering to get the perfect bottle. In this article, we shall take a look at some of the finest wineries and wines in Oregon and Willamette Valley.
Wine Tasting in Willamette Valley
Willamette Valley sits on the same latitude as other great wine regions such as Burgandy and Bordeaux. However, the similarities end there. The region had a very dramatic past as it is part of the Pacific Ocean’s Ring of Fire. That very past has lent the region a very unique ground, one that consists of marine sedimentary, loess, and volcanic soil.
Oregon is also featured on our guide to wine tasting along the West coast.
About Willamette Valley
The Willamette Valley gets access to winds from the ocean, courtesy of a sizeable gap in Oregon’s coastal range of mountains. This breeze helps keep summer temperatures to a minimum and maintain the acidity of the grapes. This is extremely important for wines such as Pinot Noir, which are sensitive to temperature.
You will find that in Willamette Valley no two places have the same kind of wines. Each region in the valley produces a distinct type of Pinot Noir. People from all over the world love and rejoice the Pinot Noir from Oregon, however, the whites also have their charm. Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and the Reisling are some of the varieties that are grown here.
Now that we know what makes Willamette Valley so special, let us take a look at some of the places in the valley that you need to visit and enjoy a fine evening of wine tasting in Oregon.
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Wine Tasting in Eugene
Whether it is an afternoon stroll in the valley or a relaxed evening, for every occasion you can enjoy a glass of wine here in Eugene. You can enjoy all varieties of wines in the many tasting rooms that overlook vineyards. At urban wine bars, you can enjoy a delectable pairing of the freshest food straight from the farm and aged wines straight from the barrel.
Top Wineries in Eugene
Sweet Cheeks Winery
This winery was named after the shape of the vineyard and started out in the 80s as a supplier of grapes before turning to winemaking in the 2000s. They have some of the best Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Reisling in the region. They also have a tasting room at the Fifth Street Public Market.
This place sits a few blocks away from the Fifth Street Public Market and is run by a New-Zealander, who initially arrived to make wines at King Estate Winery. Capitello is unique as you can sample wines, particularly Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc from both Willamette in the USA and Marlborough in New Zealand.
Wine Tasting in Albany Oregon
This region lies smack dab in the middle of Willamette Valley and is one of the world’s most famous wine-growing regions. To add to that Albany also happens to have an award-winning craft beer scene, many distilleries, and a great artisan cider industry making it a paradise where liquor flows free. Being a hilly region, you will easily find a ton of wineries within an hour from Albany.
Top Wineries in Albany Oregon
A family-owned vineyard located in North Albany, it is an estate vineyard that has been around since the late 70s. They make award-winning Pinot Noirs and Pinot Gris. The winery is most well-known for their annual Federweisser Festival where they make the German sparkling wine of the same name.
Willamette Valley Vineyards
This winery is considered one of the best in all of Oregon and is located in Turner, 20 minutes away from Albany. They have a great tasting room, which was given a renovation in 2013. The room has one of the best food pairing menus in all of Oregon.
Wine Tasting in Corvallis
From winemakers telling their stories to the quaint boutique wineries that are in the area, wine tasting in Corvallis is an experience unlike any other. The favorable conditions make it one of the premier places in all of Willamette to make wine. A majority of the wineries are family-owned and they place a strong emphasis on using sustainable practices to get the highest quality of wines. The tasting rooms are located in the countryside and you can have a picnic, and stroll around as you enjoy the vino.
Top Wineries in Corvallis
Heart of Willamette Wineries
A scenic and artisanal setting, paired with the best wine you can find in Oregon, Heart of Willamette wineries are one for the wine connoisseurs. Their wineries are located all over Corvallis and are no less than 30 miles away. You can enjoy a fulfilling tour for as low as $30!
Lumos Wine Company
A winery that prides itself on making organic wines with minimal intervention. The Lumos Wine Company has its tasting room in Wren OR, which is only a mere 16 miles from Corvallis. It is located inside a barn, heightening the farm experience even more.
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Wine Tasting in Portland
The city of Portland might not seem like a great destination for a wine tasting in Oregon tour but that is not the case. Since it is in the vicinity of the Van Duzer corridor there are a dozen or so vineyards near the city. In fact, the wine tasting scene is so good here that you will often find it clubbed with other activities that make it an ideal day out. You will be surprised to find that some of the most reputed wines come from Portland.
Top Wineries in Portland
Elk Cove Vineyards
A family-owned establishment, Elk Cove has been consistently named as a winery of the year multiple times. Their Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris have both been named the best in the world. Their famous Gaston Tasting room offers some of the best views of Portland.
Ponzi Vineyards and Winery
A tasting room sitting atop the Chehalem mountains and a state-of-the-winery, the Ponzi Vineyards and Winery have been family-run for over 5 decades. Their Tavola Pinot Noir has been ranked as the best pinot noir served in US restaurants. You can switch up between a vintner’s tour or add food pairing for an enhanced experience.
Wine Tasting in Dundee
A conveniently located town, Dundee has been one of Oregon’s most frequented spots for wine tasting. Located off Highway 99W you will find a host of wine tasting rooms on either side. Almost all of Oregon’s famous wineries have a wine tasting room in Dundee but that has not dissuaded local winemakers. You will still find plenty of great vineyards in and around Dundee Hills.
Top Wineries in Dundee
One of Oregon’s oldest and largest vineyards, Hyland is located in close proximity to Dundee and even has a tasting room in Dundee. The wines from this vineyard come from old-aged vines, giving a complex taste. The Hyland tasting room has a great ambiance and the inclusion of a fireplace just makes it a delight.
Dobbes Family Estate
This is one of the wineries where the wine itself is made in Dundee. You will get to taste from a range of 8 wines that are sourced from vineyards in both Willamette and Rogue Valley.
Wine Tasting in Bend
While Bend is known nationally for the best breweries, its wine scene is also fairly good. Afterall Bend is located in Willamette Valley. Bend has an array of candle-lit wine bars and local wineries. This is a place where the drinks flow freely. Bend also has a great outdoor scene, so you can have your glass of Pinot Noir with a view and perhaps after a strenuous skiing session.
Top Wineries in Bend
While it isn’t exactly a winery, you can still consider The Row to be one of the best places to get a glass of wine in Bend. You can have a serving of chicharrones followed by a rotating order of wine by the glass!
Va Piano Vineyards
While this winery serves some of Willamette’s amazing wines, it also serves you wines from the other wine state of the US, Washington.
Wine Tasting in Mcminnville
An hour away from Portland, Mcminnville is a place with a selection of wineries and vineyards. The town is located in the foothills of its namesake mountain and makes for a great place for growing some of the finest wines in the nation. You can find a number of wineries and tasting rooms hidden in the hills and exploring each one of them is an experience in itself.
Top Wineries in Mcminnville
Martin Woods Winery
One of the last remaining authentic Oregon wineries, you can find some of the best artisanal Pinot Noirs in this place. Run in a small place by none other than Martin Woods himself, this winery prides on making some of the finest bottles of wine you can get your hands on.
Coeur De Terre
Carved into a deeply wooded hillside, the tasting room offers exquisite views of the estate. Here it’s just you, the glass of wine, and the views; you are not likely to get any cell service here.
Wine Tasting in Oregon City
Wine tasting in Oregon City has some hidden gems. You can find many wineries just 10 mins away from the city and some of them are a great place where you can kick start your wine adventure.
Top Wineries in Oregon City
Forest Edge Vineyard
A small winery run by a couple, here you can kick off a wine trail and enjoy a selection of wines. You can also let your curiosity run astray and ask the experts anything you wish to know about wines.
Christopher Bridge Wines
An outdoor patio, a beautiful garden, and a great view of the vineyard await you at Christopher Bridge Wines. You can choose from their superb reds and whites.
Wine Tasting in Jacksonville Oregon
Often noted as one of the top 10 wine destinations in the world, Jacksonville OR is gaining its reputation as one of the places to be. With over a hundred wineries in the region, it is a place where you can get fantastic wine tasting in Oregon at a fraction of the price of other places in Willamette Valley.
Top Wineries in Jacksonville
Named as one of the top places to visit by the Internation Food, Wine, and Travel Writer’s association, DANCIN has a vineyard and a tasting room just two minutes away from Jacksonville.
South Estate Cellars
Located in one of Jacksonville’s oldest buildings, South Estate Cellar has an impeccable wine tasting room and a European-style wine garden.
Wine Tasting in Seaside
A bustling coastal town, Seaside OR is also home to many boutique wineries as well as miles of sandy beaches. Only a mere 75 miles away from Portland, you can find a great number of wineries here in Seaside.
Top Wineries in Seaside
Buddha Kat Winery
While the winery itself isn’t located in Seaside, there is a great tasting room that serves some of Buddha Kat’s finest reds and whites.
Rated highly, Naked Winery has one of the cheapest wine tasting fees in all of Oregon.
Conclusion – Wine Tasting in Oregon
If you are looking to sate your taste with a glass of the finest wine, look no further than Willamette. Here wine tasting in Oregon is an art and the fine reds and whites are the artists, you the viewer has to simply sit, back, relax and take a sip. Go here to learn more about the best places for wine tasting near me.
Which winery are you going to go to next?