Why Visit The Best Willamette Valley Wineries
If you are planning a trip to the Willamette Valley wineries in Oregon, you’re making a wise decision.
The Willamette Valley is one of the most picturesque wine regions in the United States. The rural beauty of the rolling hills blends perfectly with the small town charm of the local communities. Cities like McMinnville and Dundee feel like throwbacks to a simpler and less hurried time. Try to picture yourself winding your way along rural roads lined with breathtaking vineyards that are interspersed with dense forests and gorgeous fields full of grazing horses. This is a truly idyllic place to visit.
Now let's talk about the wine. The best Willamette Valley wineries produce Pinot Noir. The Pinot from this region is widely considered to be among the world's finest. Often compared to Burgundy, the pinnacle of Pinot perfection, the Willamette Valley stands proudly as an ideal growing region for this delicate grape. The cool and humid climate paired with ideal soil conditions allows growers to match Old World styles with a touch of New World flair.
You can easily reach the Willamette Valley wineries from Portland Oregon. It will take you about 30 minutes to reach the first wineries worth stopping at. You'll need several days to hit the top Willamette Valley wineries, so give yourself plenty of time and find a nice place to base yourself. While there are clusters of wineries throughout the valley, you can spend a fair amount of time driving between some.
There are also some less than ideal roads leading to some of the best Willamette Valley tasting rooms. Consider renting an SUV if you plan to drive. Or better yet, find a local tour guide who already knows how to navigate the rural roads.
Planning your wine tasting trip is the fun part. We hope we can help by recommending our favorite wineries. You can use these as a starting point as you plan out an itinerary. And you can use our wine country travel tips to make sure you have a great time. Enjoy!
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These are the Top 10 Willamette Valley Wineries to check out now:
Heres a nice way to start your visit to the best Willamette Valley Wineries. Adelsheim Vineyards is open 7 days a week, their friendly staff offers various flights ranging from $15 - $25.
Adelsheim was one of the pioneers in the Chehalem Mountains vineyards nearly 50 years ago. From the beginning, they focused on being stewards of the land. You will be happy to know they are a certified sustainable winery. There goal is preserve this wonderful wine region so future generations can enjoy the amazing Willamette Valley wines.
Sip on Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir from this stunning producer as you map out the rest of your Valley tasting tour.
Just down the road from Adelsheim is Bergström. Even though their wine tastings are by appointment only, you should include a stop at Bergström. This Dundee based winery produces some of the finest Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs in all of Oregon, if not the US.
The winery offers two different wine tasting experiences. The Signature Tasting ($30 per guest) is geared towards tasters who are new to Willamette Valley wines. The Ekollon Experience ($75 per guest) is an elevated tasting that allows you to taste through the top wines, limited-production estate wines, library wines, a food-pairing menu, and a tour of the vineyards. This wine tasting experience makes Bergström Winery one of the best Willamette Valley Wineries in our opinion.
You have to carve out time to visit Chehalem. They are another one of the pioneering Willamette Valley wineries in the Chehalem mountains; the vineyards were planted in the early 80’s by Founder, Harry Peterson-Nedry. This was the first winery to produce estate wines from the Ribbon Ridge AVA. Chehalem boasts a number of glowing reviews of its wines from Vinuous and the Wine Advocate. Of course, the Pinot Noir is a standout.
You can either visit their tasting room and wine bar in Newberg or you can visit their winery. Winery visits are by appointment only. There are two tasting options at the winery. The private tasting and tour is $40. The library and winery tour is $60.
The tasting room offers wines by the glass at the wine bar or you can purchase a seated tasting as part of a group of 8 or more.
Shea Wine Cellars
Shea Wine Cellars is finally opened to the public! However, please note, this is another Willamette Valley winery where you must make a wine tasting appointment before visiting. You should spend a few minutes to get your appointment locked in. Trust us!
Obviously, they are owners of the famed Shea vineyard. That's the vineyard where many of the best Willamette Valley wineries buy their fruit and have been for over 25 years.
For many years they only sold their grapes to other wine producers, but now they make incredible Pinots and Chardonnays from a small fraction of their Willamette Valley vineyard.
Situated atop the Dundee Hills, Domaine Drouhin offers one of the best experiences in all of Oregon. Take in some of the most spectacular views while sipping on superb wines with a French connection. The Drouhin family has been integral in wine production in Burgundy, France for decades. They realized that the Willamette Valley offered many of the same conditions that lead to great Burgundy wines.
The proof that they were right is in the bottle. This is another Willamette Valley winery with lots of 90+s next to their wines. As is often the case here, the Pinots are the star of the show. You can judge for yourself in their tasting room every day but Wednesday. A tasting will cost you $40 per person.
We believe Domaine Drouhin will be on our list of the best Willamette Valley wineries for years to come.
The Four Graces
Also in Dundee, The Four Graces is named after the four daughters of the winery’s founder. For $15 you get to taste through 5 of their estate wines. The historical farmhouse dubs as the tasting room and guests are encouraged to bring along snacks to enjoy a picnic out in the gardens.
Beaux Frères is open to the public, but by appointment only. Make sure you schedule them into your Willamette Valley wine tasting tour. It’s certainly worth it to taste through some of the best Pinots coming out of Oregon.
The winery offers two tasting options. You can go for the classic tasting for $25 per person. For this, you taste for wines and get a nice overview of their farming and winemaking practices. For $75 you can join them on a tour and tasting that includes a hike through the vineyards! This wine tasting and education experience lasts about an hour and a half.
Can't make it to the winery? Order their award-winning Pinot Noir and enjoy it at home.
Beaux Frères owns a contiguous vineyard of 30 acres that were planted in 1988.
When a domestic Riesling is honored 96 points from Wine Enthusiast, you might think about paying a visit. Located in Dundee, Trisaetum produces several estate (and award-winning) Rieslings in conjunction with sparkling wines, Chardonnays, and Pinot Noirs.
They have a beautiful tasting room that features some amazing artwork and great views of the vineyards. We've found that the staff at Trisaetum is very knowledgeable. This is a great place to learn about Pinot Noir clones. The tasting fee is reasonable at $20 per person for five wines.
We've found the roads to the Trisaetum winery can be a bit tricky. This is where you'll want to be in an SUV or with an experienced guide.
Grochau is one of the newer kids on the block. But age hasn't stopped them from producing dynamite wines from organically farmed vineyards. Located in Amity, you’ll get to taste through a number of value-driven wines and unique varietals such as Melon de Bourgogne and Gamay Noir. The Commuter Cuvée is hands down one of the best-priced Pinots from all of Oregon.
Also in Amity, you can find the beautiful estate of Cristom Vineyards. The second generation of the Cristom family is now running the show at this top Willamette Valley winery. Cristom is well known for their whole-cluster style of fermentation. They are mostly regarded as a Pinot house, however, they do produce an estate Chardonnay and gorgeous rosé of Pinot Noir.
Conclusion and Resources
You don't have to be a Pinot fanatic to enjoy visiting the best Willamette Valley wineries, but it certainly helps. This is the region that will take your Pinot Noir game to the next level. You will have the opportunity to taste a wide range of Pinot styles from a number of different clones. Make sure you interact with the tasting room staff at these wineries. We've found the Willamette Valley wineries to have some of the best-educated staff of any wine region.
Here are a few links if you want to get a little deeper into Pinot Noir and the Willamette Valley:
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