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First time in Oregon Wine Country

I need help. We are venturing to Yamhill County for our first adventure in Oregon Wine Country, and we have no idea where to start. Is there any town that you would recommend as central to a lot of wineries and also have a bunch of great dining options? I have read up on McMinnville, Salem, Newburg, and Dundee, however I am still clueless on what's best. Any insight you can provide would be extremely helpful! Hotel recommendations, dining options are NEEDED! thank you.

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  1. Do a search here (Chowhounds) for McMinnville and Newberg (note spelling) and you will find all that you need re dining, from fairly recent posts.

    No help here for lodging.

    1. Dundee is most central.
      Try Dundee Bistro.

      1. I too am planning a trip that includes the wine country after a run down the coast. Are you going soon? Maybe we can share some reviews

        2 Replies
        1. re: AlaskaChick

          I am going in April (i like to plan ahead). we definitely should share information! When will you be there? I have received great reviews for Dundee Manor B&B and Wine Country Farm as far as accomodations go. It also looks like Chow hounders love Dundee Bistro and A la Maison. Nick's seems to be hit or miss.

          1. re: AlaskaChick

            AlaskaChick - are you back from your trip down the Oregon Coast? we are changing course and starting in Seattle, then driving along the coast to Portland. any suggestions for our travels on the upper Oregon Coast????

          2. Whatever you do, make sure you get to the Joel Palmer House for mushroom soup!

            3 Replies
            1. re: JohnnyT

              absolutely! Do you have any lodging recos or winery recos?

              1. re: strephking

                Just a reminder folks, lodging discussions are off topic for Chowhound. Please discuss the food and local wineries.

              2. re: JohnnyT

                Have you been to the Painted Lady, and if so how would you compare it to the Joel Palmer house? I'm headed up Wednesday and have a reservation for Joel Palmer Friday night, but I've been finding reviews both pro and con for both restaurants!

                Someone in another thread mentioned they liked Cuvee quite a bit and if they're in the area now that's where they go, but I haven't found much about it more recently.

              3. The Painted Lady in Newberg is a really nice place with very good food. Prix fixe meals only.

                Some wineries/vineyards to visit that do not require reservations (they have tasting fees, often waived with purchase, but you are not 'required' to purchase bottles):

                Adelsheim, Bergstrom (both in Newberg); Domaine Drouhin (in Dundee); Cuneo, Carlton Winemakers Studio, and Scott Paul (all in Carlton); Bethel Heights, Cristom (both near Salem, further south).

                My favorites of those are Adelsheim, Domaine Drouhin, Cuneo and Scott Paul. I keep meaning to make it to Bethel Heights and Cristom, but haven't made it yet...

                1. I also like Maysara which is relatively new, but super awesome, you just taste in the barrel room, very low key.
                  Stoller Winery is also near Domaine Drouhin and relatively new. They are the first Green certified blah blah blah winery, but it is honestly pretty cool; great young female winery, very pretty estate.

                  I second the rec for the Painted Lady for an amazing dinner! IF you go to Maysara there is this little place on the corner where you turn off, the Maysara people frequent it, and we went there for lunch once. It was great, kinda homey but inexpensive and surprisingly good.

                  OOh, I always love to go to the Argyle Tasting Room for some bubbles. Their extended Tirage is so freaking good I can barely stand it.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: wineangel

                    where is Maysara? i don't see it on my map.

                  2. Thanks everyone for the recommendations. And a special thanks to wineangel for reminding me about Argyle - sparkling/champagne is my wine of choice so I'll be sure to get by there. Maysara sounds like my kinda place - very low key.

                    Strephking - go to maysara.com and there are maps to their winery there. I'll be in the area in a couple weeks and will let you know what I find. Thanks for sharing your recs with me.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: AlaskaChick

                      i can't wait to hear your suggestions! enjoy your travels.

                    2. I was reading a book about Oregon that mentioned that wineries in Oregon were only open between Memorial Day and Thanksgiving. Is that a fact?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: strephking

                        There might be some confustion because lots of the wineries participate in Memorial Day weekend and Thanksgiving weekend open houses. Usually they ask at other times that you call for an appointment.

                      2. That's not at all true.
                        The larger ones are open year-round.
                        Even many of the smaller ones are open two days a week or by appointment.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Leonardo

                          Although some of the bigger wineries may be open year round, it is always wise to call prior to your trip to set up appoinments, even during the "season". The smaller wineries will be much more accomodating for those that plan ahead, as opposed to those that call from the driveway to set up an appointment for right now.

                          1. I would recommend the Torii Mor winery for a lovely tasting experience. Fashioned along the lines of an oriental tea house, it is serene and the grounds and view beautiful. I completely recommend the Torii Mor Olson Vineyard Pinot Noir or the Torii Mor Temperance Hill Pinot Noir. Both are yummy.

                            1. I know this is an older post but I just found it and wanted to add my 2 cents. I live in McMinnville and am a little biased as to which town is best for a base for wine tasting. Avoid Newberg in my opinion as a base for your touring- it's lacking in character, shopping and dining (sorry Newbergers... like I said, I'm biased). I would reconsider eating at Nick's. My family has eaten there for nearly 30 years and I've never been disappointed. That being said, Nick's daughter recently (within the past month) took over the restaurant with her partner and they have been making a lot of changes. They just returned from a 4 month stay in Italy and have brought back some very creative recipes and ideas. They still have the amazing minestrone and the crab and pine nut lasagne shouldn't be skipped but there are some great new additions. We also love Bistro Maison in McMinnville -they have great mussels and pommes frites... and fondue... and coq au vin.... and homemade ice cream.....

                              For wineries, you won't have a shortage of places to go. Although the very small ones (and there are some VERY small ones) aren't open often, the bigger ones are and there are some great tasting rooms which feature the smaller winemakers. For amazing reds, try Cuneo in Carlton - right next door is Carlton Winemakers Studio which has a variety of small wineries. If you like sparkling, try Laurel Ridge. They are between Newberg and Carlton and have a nice variety of wines in a beautiful setting- and are open daily. Have a great time in Yamhill County!