On a recent girls weekend trip to Oregon, my friends and I spent a day wine tasting in Willamette Valley. While we only made it to three vineyards/tasting rooms, Oregon has many incredible wineries that are worth a visit – and I intend to hit them all the next time I’m in town. Here is a list of 10 great Oregon wineries you should check out if you ever find yourself in the area.
Founded in 2003 by Andrea and James Frey, Trisaetum (tris-say-tum) is a family-owned and operated winery that includes three estate vineyards. It’s known for its award-winning Pinot Noirs and Rieslings. The Ribbon Ridge vineyard houses the winery and tasting room, as well as a 1,500-square-foot gallery filled with the paintings and photos of James Frey. The winery offers three flights daily, each with five wines ($10; fee is waved with purchase of a bottle per taster).
Insider’s tip: If you visit, I recommend getting a private wine tasting in the barrel cave. Our group had the opportunity to do this, and it was one of the best wine tasting experiences of my life.
Looking for a tasting with a view? This is the spot for you. Founded in 1993, Stoller Family Estate spans 373 acres, making it the largest contiguous vineyard in the Dundee Hills. Over the last two decades, the winery has made a name for itself as one of the top producers of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The state-of-the-art tasting room features floor to ceiling glass garage doors that open in the warmer months and offer stunning views of the vineyard. You can even stay the night at one of the vineyards three guest houses: The Estate House, Wine Farm House and Cottage.
The tasting room is open daily from 11am to 5pm, and the tasting flight is $15.
Insiders tip: In the summer, bring a picnic and sit outside while sipping on Stoller’s amazing wines.
A family owned winery located in the Yamhill-Carlton area, WillaKenzie Estate was established in 1991 when founder Bernard Lacroute purchased a 420 acre cattle farm and started planting grapes. Today, nearly two-thirds of the 105 acres of vines are Pinot Noir, but the winery also grows Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Meunier, Gamay Noir and Chardonnay…there’s really something for everyone!
The tasting room features a scenic patio where you can sip wine around the fire pit or at one of the patio tables. If you’re up for it, you can try a game of pétanque as you enjoy a glass of Pinot. If you’d rather just sit and relax, the patio offers wonderful views of the winery, and if you’re lucky, you may even see herds of cows mosey on by.
The tasting room is open daily from 10am-4pm (Nov.-Apr.) and 10am-5pm (May-Oct). A traditional flight is $20 per person, and reserve flight is $30 per person. You can also get a 90-minute VIP wine and cheese tasting for $40 per person.
This 42-acre vineyard, located on top of the Dundee Hills AVA, first started planting grapes back in 1997. Today, Vista Hills is the purveyor of fine wines, all sourced from its own estate. The altitude and conditions are ideal for creating Pinot Noir, but the vineyard also produces Pinot Gris varieties, too.
The Treehouse Tasting Room offers great views of the estate and surrounding region. You can sit at a table inside by the fireplace, or on a nice day, head outside to the patio to soak in the rays and the scenery. The tasting room is open daily from 11am-5pm, and groups of eight or more are encouraged to call for a reservation. Flights of estate wines are $15.
Insider tip: The winery allows you to bring in outside food. Pack a picnic of cheeses, fruits, bread and olives to complement the various wines you try.
Born in the fall of 1999, Bergström Winery is a family owned establishment. Today, the winery consists of five vineyards, totaling 84 acres. It produces approximately 10,000 cases of wine each year, including nine different Pinot Noirs and two Chardonnays. The tasting room is open daily from 10am-4pm. Flights feature four wines for $20, usually from a limited production single vineyard Pinot Noir and Aigrid Chardonnay. The tasting room is surrounded by the Winery Block and Silice Vineyards, giving you a great backdrop for your wine tasting. You can also reserve a private tasting in the winery’s barrel cellar. These are available for up to 10 people and cost $50 per person.
Insider tip: It’s important to note that Bergström is a little more upscale compared to others. If you’re looking for a fancy day of wine tasting, this is your place.
Founded in 1998, Penner-Ash Wine Cellars specializes in producing Pinot Noir, Syrah and Reisling in the northern Willamette Valley. The winery sources from a range of different vineyards, giving it a diverse portfolio of wines. Penner-Ash was founded by the first woman winemaker of note in Oregon, Lynn Penner-Ash, and she runs the establishment with her husband, Ron. In 2005, they built the estate winery in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, which houses their tasting room.
The tasting room is nestled into a hillside that overlooks the valley, and offers views of Mount Hood and Mount Jefferson. Guests can also get a glimpse of some of the wine making action, as the tasting room features windows that look in on the winery. It is open daily from 11am-5pm, and flights of five wines for $25. You can add a private tour for $10 per person. Private seated tastings are also available for $50 per person.
Insider tip: This is another slightly more upscale winery. However, you can bring in your own food, as long as you keep it outside in the Oak Grove picnic area.
Ghost Hill Cellars
As the name suggests, Ghost Hill gets its name from a 1850s legend of an old gold miner who was murdered on the hill where the winery sits. According to the tale, he still wanders the property, searching for his stolen gold and seeking revenge for what happened to him that fateful night.
Owned by the Bayliss Family, Ghost Hill planted its first vines in 1999, all 16 acres of which are Pinot Noir. The vineyard sits on Savannah Ridge, in the Yamhill-Calrton District. From the winery, guests get an amazing view of the Willamette Valley, the Eola Hills, the Chehalem Mountains, and the Red Hills of Dundee. Ghost Hill has a small tasting room on the property, which features a sliding barn door and old windows from a nearby church. The tasting room is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from March until Thanksgiving (12pm-5pm). Tastings are $10 per person for four wines (not a bad deal at all!) and no winery tours are offered. If you want to come for a private tasting, those are available by appointment only.
Insider Tip: While it’s known for its Pinot Noir, Ghost Hill also makes a pretty darn good Rosé.
One of the older vineyards in the region, Argyle was founded in 1987 and has been producing award-winning sparkling wines, barrel fermented Chardonnay and beautifully textured Pinot Noir. The winery farms from three different vineyards: Knudsen Vineyard, Lone Star Vineyard and Spirit Hill Vineyard. The tasting house, however, isn’t located near any of these. It sits in Dundee, independent from where the wines are harvested, fermented and aged. This was our last stop on our wine tour of the Willamette Valley, and it didn’t disappoint.
The tasting house is very large, the biggest one we had seen so far that day. It’s open daily from 11am-5pm, and you have your pick of sitting at a table, at the bar or outside (on a nice day). They offer three different tasting flights ($18 each): POP -prestige Sparkling Wines; Red Diamond – prestige Pinot Noir; and Clubhouse – a mix of red, white and sparkling wines.
Insider tip: If you have a large group, order one of each tasting so you can all get a sample of the different wines.
Since pouring its first vintage in 1990, Domaine Serene has produced hundreds of award-winning wines. It has a reputation as a leader in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In 2005, it expanded its product offering by purchasing a wine estate in the Burgundy region of France so it could produce a different varietal.
Domaine Serene is located in the Dundee Hills, and produces wines from six vineyard estates spanning three Willamette Valley viticulture regions. The tasting room is open seven days a week (11am-4pm Sun-Thurs; 11am-5pm Fri-Sat). Visitors can enjoy a range of different tastings, from a casual estate tasting ($20/person) to the 45th Parallel tasting ($125/person). They have a tasting for every palate – and wallet.
Insider tip: Get a selfie or group shot in front of Woolly, the steel-constructed sculpture of a Woolly Mammoth that was designed to honor the geological past that shaped the vineyards diversity.
Purchased by Dr. Robert Pamplin in 1999, Anne Amie was founded on the vision of creating wines of the highest quality. Here, Pinot is the king. The vineyard produces Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc, all three of which are at the heart of the winery’s foundation. These are complemented by Riesling and Müller Thurgau varietals.
The vineyard is located in the hills of Yamhill-Carlton District, on the hilldside of the Chehalem Mountains. The tasting room offers beautiful views of the valley. It’s open daily March-December from 10am-5pm, and Friday-Monday January and February from 10am-5pm. Flights are $15 and include tastings of regularly rotating white and red wines. Guests can reserve a spot on a vineyard or cellar tour most Saturdays and Sundays, which includes some tastings of select Anne Amie wines and a logoed Riedel glass ($30/person).
Insider tip: If you enjoy some fun with your wine, bring along some cards or board games. The tasting room as plenty of space!
Another final tip if you’re planning to go wine tasting in Oregon…try to visit with a club member. They get discounts on tastings and bottles of wine purchased at the vineyard, and sometimes they even get tastings for free (for up to a certain number of guests). They receive a lot of perks you wouldn’t get as an average visitor. I highly recommend it. Or, if you don’t know anyone who’s a member, you can sign up and get all the benefits. But if you don’t live in Oregon, it might not be worth it.
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