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Willamette Valley: The “Other” Wine Country

  • December 5, 2018
  • By Lori, Communications Team
  • 0 Comments
Willamette Valley: The “Other” Wine Country

Wine aficionados may first think of Napa Valley or Sonoma County when thinking of a wine-centric getaway, but just an easy hour drive south of Portland, Oregon’s airport is the Willamette Valley. Here you’ll find award-winning Pinot Noirs, as well as outstanding whites and rosés, plus some of the highest rated sparkling wines outside of the Champagne region of France.

Here are 5 wineries and 4 places I’d recommend based on my travels and tastings.

Wineries

Argyle – This welcoming winery has been recognized by Wine Spectator’s “Top 100 Wineries of the World” in red, white, AND sparkling categories. Their sparkling wines have won numerous other awards and are fabulous, as is their convenient main street location in Dundee. Reservations aren’t required but are recommended.

©Argyle Winery

Domaine Serene – Owned by former Minnesotans, this winery is not only beautiful, but is also a consistent producer of some of the best Pinot Noirs, not only in Oregon and the U.S. but in the world. They offer six different levels of tastings from casual drop-in, to those that require reservations, and some that come with food pairings.

Durrant Vineyards/Red Ridge Farms – This is an excellent winery to stop at around lunchtime – not only for their approachable wines but also for the large lawn, perfect for a picnic (or nap). There is also a charming gift shop, locally made olive oil, and beautiful gardens worth exploring, too.

Soter – The wines are impressive, but it was the remote hilltop location and the spectacular architecture of the main building and hillside tasting cabins that really swept me off my feet, as well as their commitment to the environment. It was truly a unique experience – and being welcomed with a glass of rosé as you get out of your car isn’t too bad either.  To visit, you need to make reservations (and be sure to read the directions on how to get there).

©Andrea Johnson/Soter Vineyards

Winderlea – We stopped here on a whim and were pleasantly surprised by both the wines and the setting. Their 2014 Pinot Noir was one of my favorites and sitting outside on the massive deck, overlooking their vineyards was a great way to end a rigorous day of tastings.

©Winderlea Vineyards

And because you can never have enough great wine, here are two more wineries to check out:

Sokol Blosser – The place was so packed with people, it was hard to sip and enjoy, so I’d suggest going mid-week.

Ken Wright Cellars – We didn’t get here, but I wanted to. Ken Wright has been called the “Master of Pinot Noir in Oregon” and has been making exceptional and award-winning wines since 1994 – longer than just about anyone else in the area.

Places to wander and eat

Dundee – Along the main street there are at least 10 tasting rooms in this little town, making this a great starting point – or perfect for an all-day tasting extravaganza. And it’s only 45 minutes – 1 hour from Portland.

Red Hills Market – Located on the main drag in Dundee, this expansive market is a fabulous place to grab a picnic lunch, to-go food to eat there, or a personally chosen selection of cheese, charcuterie, and wine. All the food is locally sourced and the wood-fired pizza is out of this world.

McMinnville – Further to the southwest, McMinnville is a larger town with more amenities, numerous tasting rooms, several breweries, and a charming tree-lined main street with quaint shops and excellent restaurants.

Ruddick Wood – This beautiful gastro pub in the town of Newberg offers excellent craft beers, an outstanding burger and truffle fries, and so much more. Not only is the food fabulous, but the interior space is warm and inviting.

Where’s your next epicurean adventure? Share it with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

By Lori, Communications Team, December 5, 2018 Lori is a content writer at Sun Country Airlines. When it comes to what she loves most about Sun Country, it’s all about the affordability and nonstop flights from MSP (oh, and the ease of Terminal 2). Her favorite destinations are the ones she hasn’t been to yet, but can’t wait to explore, including Portland, Austin, and Santa Rosa.

Lori, Communications Team

Lori is a content writer at Sun Country Airlines. When it comes to what she loves most about Sun Country, it’s all about the affordability and nonstop flights from MSP (oh, and the ease of Terminal 2). Her favorite destinations are the ones she hasn’t been to yet, but can’t wait to explore, including Portland, Austin, and Santa Rosa.

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