The Willamette Valley is Oregon’s premier wine region. With a milder climate than any growing area in California, cool-climate grapes like Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris thrive here, and are being transformed into world-class wines. We’ve picked our favorite wineries, tasting rooms, and restaurants for this wine-fueled itinerary. The Chehalem Mountain and Ribbon Ridge AVAs highlighted here offer more than 150 vineyards. Best of all, the region is less than an hour away from Portland, making for an easy day trip. Start out early, especially on weekends, and don’t forget your designated driver.
By Dave Sandage and John Doerper
Stop 1: Ponzi Vineyards
First planted in 1970, Ponzi has some of Oregon’s oldest Pinot Noir vines. In addition to current releases, the tasting room sometimes offers older library wines.
Try: Arneis, a crisp Italian white varietal.
14665 SW Winery La., Beaverton 503/628–1227
Stop 2: Rex Hill Vineyards
Before grapevines, the Willamette Valley was widely planted with fruits and nuts. Enjoy classic Oregon Pinot Noir in this tasting room built around an old fruit and nut drying facility.
Try: dark and spicy Dundee Hills Pinot Noir.
30835 N. Hwy. 99W, Newberg 800/739–4455
Stop 3: Fox Farm Tasting Room
In addition to offering their own wines, this multi-winery tasting room in downtown Newberg features samples from several small local producers. The menu changes periodically.
602 E. First St., Newberg 503/538–8466
Stop 4: Utopia Vineyard
The tasting room at this small Oregon winery is quite intimate—you’ll likely be served by the winemaker himself.
Try: light and slightly sweet Rosé.
17445 N.E. Ribbon Ridge Rd., Newberg 503/298–7841,
Stop 5: Adelsheim Vineyard
One of Oregon’s older Pinot Noir producers, Adelsheim has a gorgeous tasting room inside its modern winery, with friendly, knowledgeable employees.
Try: dark and smoky Elizabeth’s Reserve Pinot Noir.
16800 N.E. Calkins La., Newberg 503/538–3652
Stop 6: Bergstrom Winery
Bergstrom has a beautiful vineyard and tasting room, but the real high point here is the classic Oregon Pinot Noir sourced from several of its estate vineyards as well as other local sites.
Try: earthy Bergstrom Pinot Noir.
18215 N.E. Calkins La., Newberg 503/554–0468
Stop 7: Subterra Restaurant
Go to Subterra for casual fine dining in a wine cellar atmosphere underneath the popular Dark Horse wine bar. The menu features global cuisine and a good selection of local wines.
1505 Portland Rd., Newberg 503/538–6060