Oregon’s wet weather and short summers meant people used to doubt whether the state could ever successfully produce wine. That was 30-plus years ago, but since then it has increasingly received international acclaim and these days the Willamette Valley is the center of a wine region that is world-famous for some of America’s best Pinot Noir.
Here are 10 of the top vineyards in Oregon to visit:
- DOMAINE DROUHIN (6750 Breyman Orchards Road, Dayton OR 97114, 503-864-2700) is among Oregon’s very finest vineyards. Its motto is “French soul, Oregon soil” and it is owned by the Drouhin family. For the fourth generation, the wines are made using similar techniques to the family’s wines that are produced in Burgundy, France. More information can be found at www.domainedrouhin.com or @DrouhinOregon on Twitter.
- TYEE WINE CELLARS (26335 Greenberry Road, in Corvallis OR 97333, 541-753-8754) can be found one the Buchanan Family Century Farm, which was founded in Willamette Valley over 120 years ago near Corvallis. More information can be found at www.tyeewine.com or @TyeeWine.
3. WINTER’S HILL VINEYARD (6451 Northeast Hilltop Lane, Dayton OR 97114, 503-864-4592) conducts tastings in the winery which is surrounded by a landscape of forest and fields.
4. WILLAMETTE VALLEY VINEYARDS incorporates food and wine pairings so that visitors can discover local ingredients along with the wines, which are inspired by the wines of Tuscany among others. Pinots are featured with food like steelhead salads through roasted lamb to short ribs.
Find out more by visiting www.wvv.com.
5. KING ESTATE WINERY (80854 Territorial Highway, Eugene OR 97405, 541-942-9874) was discovered by Ed King in 1990. In the next four years over 100 acres had been planted to create the most diverse soil vineyard ever created in Oregon. Organic winemaking processes enhance the complex fruit flavors and help create wines of great acidity, with structure and minerality to match. Learn more at www.kingestate.com or @KingEstate.
6. CHERRY HILL WINERY (7867 Crowley Road, Rickreall OR 97371, 503 623-7867) nestles in the Eola Hills of the Willamette Valley. This is a boutique winery where super-premium Pinot Noir is produced by hand. Find out more at www.cherryhillwinery.com.
7. YAMHILL VALLEY VINEYARDS (16250 SW Oldsville Road, McMinnville OR 97128, 503 843-3100) is the oldest winery in the McMinnville American Viticultural Area. It grows, produces and bottles all its own grapes on a 150-acre estate in the foothills of the Coast Range Mountains. The grapes here are the three Pinots – Noir, Gris, and Blanc – Chardonnay, and Riesling. Find out more at www.yamhill.com.
8. DE PONTE CELLARS (17545 NE Archery Summit Road, Dayton OR 97114, 503 864-3698) is on the site of one of the Willamette Valley’s oldest vineyards. The first Pinot Noir from here was released to critical acclaim back in 2001. As well as Pinot Noir, De Ponte is famed for its Melon grape, which is rare throughout the US.
9. YOUNGBERG HILL VINEYARDS (10660 SW Youngberg Hill Road, McMinnville OR 97128, 503 472-2727) began farming organically in 2003 and continues to move further in that direction. It is a small, producer of both Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.
10. PENNER-ASH WINE CELLARS (15771 NE Ribbon Ridge Road, Newberg OR 97132, 503 554-5545) sources its grapes from the best Oregon vineyards in Oregon along with its own Estate Vineyard, which with its adjacent winery and tasting rooms boasts some spectacular views. Find out more at www.pennerash.com or @pennerash.