Looking for the best wineries in Willamette Valley, Oregon. Here’s a complete guide below!
Oregon might be most known for its proximity to beautiful National forests and scenic waterfalls, but for wine enthusiasts Oregon’s reputation for Pinot Noir is on the same level. There are around 700 wineries in the Willamette Valley alone, which can be a little intimidating when you want to plan a wine tasting tour or you’re just passing through the area.
I come from a family of avid wine tasters and my girlfriend is in the wine industry. Suffice to say, I drink a lot of wine! I still may not be able to tell you all the complex flavors that make up whatever I’m drinking, but I can tell you what wineries have stood out to me based on the experience I had tasting there, the atmosphere of the space and the feelings I had trying each wine.
Wine tasting is already pretty subjective, and even if a vineyard has a lot of accolades, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be the right fit for you. Each winery has a different experience to offer and it all depends on what you’re looking for. (And if you don’t actually know what you’re looking for, there’s a place for that too.)
A Guide to the Best Wineries in Willamette Valley
best for sparkling wine
Bubbles don’t just have to be for special occasions. At Argyle, you can get a flight of only sparkling wines that includes whites and rosés, as well as offer a variety of flavor profiles from dry, crisp and floral.
Argyle was founded with sparkling in mind. In 1987, vintner Rollin Soles believed the valley would be ideal for producing these delectable bubbles, and since then they have expanded to include Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs and Rieslings in their repertoire. So, if not everyone in your party is feeling sparkling, that isn’t the only option.
best for wine and more
Although wine is just one facet of Durant Red Ridge Farms, the history behind it is extensive. The Durant family was among the first in Oregon to start growing wine grapes in 1973. For almost 50 years after, the farm has expanded to include an olive mill, plant nursery, gardens, hiking trail, overnight lodging and a gift shop. Truly, a visit to Durant could be it’s own weekend excursion.
The wines are good and the olive oil is even better. There are tastings available for both, either together or separate and the gift shop makes it hard to leave without taking a bit of Durant home with you. (I know I have.)
best for a view
The name “Fairsing” comes from ancient Gaelic, meaning bountiful. The property is a mix of ridges, forest and streams with the tasting room atop of the hill overlooking the valley and forest below. The panoramic view is breathtaking and makes a great photo opp. Even the tasting room is inspired by Owners Mary Ann and Mike McNally’s Celtic roots, including a seven circuit labyrinth.
As for the wines, Fairsing flights offer a deeper dive into Oregon’s Pinot Noir, making it a great location to experience the beauty and taste that Willamette Valley has to showcase.
Bells Up Winery
best for winemaker interaction
Music lovers will especially enjoy the theme of this winery. Bells Up refers to the lifting of the French horn “bells” to project sound during an intense moment in classical music. Winemaker and owner Dave Specter played French horn when he was younger and calls the winery his “Bells up” moment.
That passion is obvious, especially because each tasting experience is hosted by Specter. It’s a truly unique opportunity to have a one-on-one interaction with the wine maker. Even if you’re a wine novice, Specter takes the intimidation out of learning what is in the glass.
best for LGBTQ+ representation
In being part of the queer community, it’s important for me to be able to support LGBTQ+ businesses. Remy Wines is one of the Willamette Valley’s out winemakers who knew she wanted to be a winemaker since she was eight years old and worked in wine since she was 14.
Remy’s Wines are considered to be made in the old world Italian style. She has two labels, both with gorgeous, sapphic artwork that makes the bottles as good to look at as they are to drink! One of them, The Three Wives Wines, is based off an old family story of mistaken identity, which I recommend asking about on your visit.
Stoller Family Estate
best for variety
For those who aren’t sure exactly what they want, but are still looking for a fun and special experience, Stoller Family Estate has you covered. The Stoller brand is one of the best known in the state, and is the best place to go if you want options.
There are multiple tasting flights, including their classic Stoller tasting, which ranges from Chardonnay to Pinot Noirs; History tasting, which highlights some of the oldest vineyards in the region; Gastronomic Tasting, which curates food and wine pairings; and a library tasting of their most exclusive wines. I went with the classic tasting, and the range of their wine brands gave me a full impression of how extensive their collection is.
Have you been to any of these Willamette Valley wineries before? Are there any other exceptional experiences at wineries in the region you’d add to this list? Comment below!
For More Travel in this Region:
- Where to Stay in Vancouver: A Complete Neighborhood Guide
- The Best Waterfalls in Oregon: Your Ultimate Guide
- Luxury Guide to Portland, Oregon
- Best Things to Do in Richmond, BC to Get a Taste of Chinese Culture
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