West coast wine tasting on a budget

Old Jan 15th, 2022, 03:57 AM
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West coast wine tasting on a budget

Good morning, We're looking to take a trip to the West coast (CA, OR or WA) to do some wine tasting that wont break the bank. I remember going to wineries in CA where is was $20 to do a wine tasting and I'm wondering if there are any wine regions that are more affordable?

Thanks!
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Old Jan 15th, 2022, 05:34 AM
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If you are planning on flying to the west coast be prepared for sticker shock on flights, rental cars and lodging. The price of wine tastings will pale in comparison. You may find it a bit cheaper to fly to Portland and rent a car there. There are vineyards from Portland south in the Willamette Valley all the way to the Medford area.
Another way to get to the west coast without flying is to take an Amtrak train to Seattle, Portland or Sacramento. If you travel in an Amtrak Roomette you don't have to have a mask on if the door is closed.
If you like cheese to go with your wine, plan to visit the Tillamook Cheese factory just north of Tillamook Oregon.
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Old Jan 15th, 2022, 07:10 AM
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I'd definitely look in the Amador/Calaveras County areas. Especially around Plymouth. The Shenandoah Valley loop out of Plymouth has more than 30 wineries and some are really top notch. Most don't charge for tastings and the few that do offset against purchases. Easy drive from SMF (except during Sacramento's morning and late afternoon commutes). I think of it as Napa/Sonoma 30 years ago, when vintners actually encouraged casual tasters. Plus the benefit of being in the lovey Sierra foothills with the Gold Rush era towns and being relatively close to Yosemite.

Also wineries in Clarksburg/Sacramento delta/Lodi region.

Also several of the wine regions along the central CA coast / SoCal have free or less expensive tasting (though some are just as high as Napa/Sonoma)
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Old Jan 15th, 2022, 09:35 AM
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I live in Oregon. Most wineries do not charge a tasting fee. I believe Alaska Airlines does not charge to fly your Oregon wines home for you.
There are several places you could use as a home base- McMinnville, Eugene, Roseburg, Medford.
Just outside of Roseburg is where the first Oregon Pinot grapes were planted- Hillcrest Winery. Its very small winery, the owner is very knowledgeable about wines. Fascinating to listen to if he happens to be there.
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Old Jan 15th, 2022, 12:24 PM
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Second janisjs suggestion of Amador County wineries, did this with late husband, also can recommend El Dorado County just off I-50 around Placerville, many wineries to visit, mostly low cost and a few that were free. Big plus is it is in Gold Country so you can visit a gold mine, although we liked the section of Highway 49 a bit further south when we did a gold country trip.
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Old Jan 15th, 2022, 01:41 PM
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Yes, pretty much anywhere outside of the really popular "wine destination" areas, like Napa and Sonoma, the wine tasting is either free or pretty low cost, with fees refunded if you buy something. I think that the reason wineries in the more popular areas charge such high tasting fees is because wine tasting has become it's own activity rather than as a way to taste before buying - too many people were using tasting rooms like bars and just going to drink without any intention of buying anything.
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Old Jan 15th, 2022, 02:55 PM
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Plus the fee tastings include 3-5 choices to taste. Not unlimited like the old days. Tasting rooms used to be mobbed with drinkers and no buyers.
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Old Jan 17th, 2022, 04:33 PM
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Willamette Valley (for the wineries) paired with the Oregon Coast makes a nice trip. Fly into Portland and rent a car.
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