Oregon is known for many things, not the least of which are its many (upwards of 700) wonderful wineries. With three major growing regions covering more than 30,000 acres, the state is producing some stellar wines. It may seem daunting to start picking wineries because of all the options, but there are some standouts that deserve special attention.
Willamette Valley Vineyards
If you only visit one winery in Oregon, go to Willamette Valley Vineyards. It’s one of the largest wine producers in the state and the grounds are straight-up gorgeous. Willamette Valley Vineyards offers a variety of experiences where you can familiarize yourself with the winery and its wines. Try a tasting flight for the quickest experience, or sit down for a while and order something to eat from the tasting menu with a glass of wine. Each menu item includes a wine pairing suggestion. If you want to up the ante, book one of the wine pairing dinners, where you’ll enjoy a three-course dinner with wine, while the head chef and a Winery Ambassador share wine tips and Willamette Valley's history. You can also join a daily tour of the winery, book private tastings, and even spend the night in one of the suites. Overnight stays come with a private tour and tasting included.
Domaine Serene is stunning, beautiful, upscale, and the place to go if you want a winery to impress you. It's is open for drop-in wine tastings seven days a week (but make reservations if you’re coming with a group), or you can select one of the special tasting experiences that range from a ritzy dinner and wine experience to private VIP tastings and tours of the winery. But where Domaine Serere really shines is in its more exclusive events. Become a member and you can join in members’ only tastings where you’ll have special access to a private lounge, as well as rare and limited wines.
Owned and operated by Franco Marchesi, this Hood River winery—much like the town itself—offers an easy-going and laid-back atmosphere with ample throwbacks to Italy, including a mural from Piedmonte, Italy (which is Marchesi’s hometown) and Northern Italian grapes on the vines Marchesi planted here. The staff is friendly and kids are welcome. In the summers, enjoy sitting on the outdoor patio, or get cozy with a heater and blanket in the winter.
King Estate Winery
King Estate is known for its pinot gris and pinot noir—both of which are fabulous —but you’ll still be able to taste and buy other wines. However, what’s truly impressive about King Estate is its commitment to the environment. All 1,033 acres of the winery are Oregon Tilth Certified Organic and biodynamic. But that’s not all. The winery also grows its own fruits and veggies on 30 acres, has flower gardens pollinated by its own hive of bees, a raptor program, and the food menu at the on-site gourmet restaurant is fully organic.
Sokol Blosser Winery
Tucked into the picturesque Dundee Hills of the Willamette Valley, Sokol Blosser Winery crafts wines from organic grapes and farms with a focus on sustainability and being good to the land. While the winery and its beautiful tasting room look modern, it’s actually one of the oldest wineries in Oregon and was founded in 1971 before the state had a wine industry. Wine tastings include table-side service and while there’s no restaurant, there are charcuterie boards, a cheese selection, and a few menu items. Since the winery is so close to Portland it's a popular one so reservations are always a good idea.
Stoller Family Estate
Stroller Family Estate has a large and bright tasting room that overlooks the winery's expansive fields and vineyards. It's kid- and dog-friendly, so bring the whole family along and let them run and play in the fields while you kick back with a glass of wine (the pinot noir is a major hit). Tastings are affordable and come with a few different options. Try the basic tasting featuring five wines, pair your tasting with a tour, book a history tasting where you can learn more about the surrounding wine region, or try a gastronomic tasting and tour that offers food pairings to go with the wines. You can purchase charcuterie, deli sandwiches, or cheese plates to go with your tasting, or bring your own food. At the end of the day, this is a scenic spot to relax in one of the Adirondack chairs and watch the sunset.