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pacific northwest wineries [Moved from Wine Board]

we are planning a summer road trip and wondering about visiting wineries in oregon and washington - does anyone have any recommendations for good ones to visit, places to eat and stay along the way?

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  1. There are quite a few wineries in the NE suburbs of Seattle. The main town is Woodinville (close to Bellevue and Redmond). I think the most well known of the wineries is Chateau St. Michelle. My son used to live quite close by but unfortunately we never got to tour the vineyards. I can recommend the nearby Salish Lodge - the food is very good and you can also see the Twin Peaks waterfall across the road!

    1. When we lived in Washington, we tried to make a yearly pilgrimage to Walla Walla in Eastern WA. The place is nothing but wineries, and some good ones at that. Woodward Canyon, Dunham, Canoe Ride, Seven Hills are among my favorites. L'ecole 41 is probably the biggest and fanciest, but I'll probably skip it if I make it out there again. Unfortunately, there's pretty much nothing else to do in Walla Walla so the nights are long. ;)

      1. Tons of great wines in Oregon,should be a great tasting trip! Here are list of places to check out.
        Bethel Heights
        Elk Cove
        Francis Tanhill
        Rex Hill
        There are tons more but those should give you a start

        1 Reply
        1. re: bubbles4me

          i second oregon. mcminnville is the one-horse town center of the willamette valley, very cute hotel (mcminniman's) and a very good french restaurant.

          domaine serene and domaine drouhin are stunningly beautiful vineyards and wonderful wines.

        2. for me...quilceda creek is the best wine in washington....in fact, qc can rival best of calif imo

          1 Reply
          1. re: rickym13

            You are correct, these are probably the best wines produced in the Northwest. However, the post is asking for wineries to visit and the last I knew they did not have a facility open to the public on a regular basis.

            For that you want to go to Woodinville (Northeast of Seattle), Yakima Valley (Yakima to Kennewick) or Walla Walla in southeastern Washington. In Oregon you want to go to Yamhill County (Dundee, McMinnville, Amity), about an hour southwest of downtown Portland.

            Cin Cin

          2. In Oregon, add the following:

            Witness Tree
            Torii Mor
            Gypsy Dancer
            Andrew Rich

            In WA, look for Badger Mountain/Powers

            You're gonna LOVE it!

            1. There are endless options in Oregon and Washington for good wineries. I haven't toured in Washington but drink many Washington wines. I am consistently impressed by Sheridan Vineyards for their bold, Bordeaux-style blends. I also recommend Columbia Crest; although a huge winery, their top tier wines are quite special.

              I have family in Oregon and so I have visited the Willamette Valley a few times. I actually recommend the Ponzi tasting room right in Dundee. They serve not only Ponzi wines but other Oregon producers' efforts, and they have delicious little sandwiches too! Across the street is the Argyle tasting room. Arglye gives good bang for the buck, in my opinion.

              My favourite Oregon winemaker is Ken Wright. I think you have to arrange a tour/tasting privately...no public tasting room. However, I remember bringing home a bottle of his 2003 Ken Wright Pinot Noir Carter Vineyard and being blown away by the bold fruit flavours and overall richness. Not a Burgundy-style Pinot, more the full-throttle approach! I also like the whites I have tried from Ken Wright. Last time I was in Oregon (earlier this spring) I had lunch at Le Bistro Maison in McMinnville and had a wonderful half-bottle of Ken Wright "Freedom Hill" Pinot Blanc 2005. I am rarely a fan of Pinot Blanc, but this example was fruit-forward and slightly tangy.

              Domaine Serene seems a bit tacky, if I may say. The winery is huge and ostentatious, but to my eyes seemed out of place in the low-key Willamette Valley. I wish the family had opted for a Northwest-style building instead of attempting to insert a slice of Tuscany (vis-a-vis Disneyland) onto the Oregon landscape. However, I must admit that Serene's wines, although expensive, are some of the best I've had from Oregon. The "Grace Vineyard" Pinot Noir 2004 was exceptional. Serene also has an outfit in southern Oregon called "Rockblock" that makes some very fine Syrah. I brought home a bottle of the 2003 Rockblock Syrah and can't wait to crack it, but probably will let it cellar for a few more years. Note, however, that Domaine Serene has a $15 per person tasting fee for 4 small pours. Definitely edging into Napa territory.

              Domaine Drouhin is just down the hill from Serene and has a much more reasonable $5 tasting fee. I think their Pinots are good but not the best I've had from Oregon. The best I've tasted are from Cristom and Ken Wright.

              1 Reply
              1. re: anewton

                agree with you about Wright being very good. have his pinot noir and blanc. He also has a new label "tyrus evans" and i've bought the Claret and Cab Franc and liked both. that said, i think drouhin is pretty darn good. also like st innocent, among others...

              2. What kind of wines to you like? Knowing this, I can adjust my recommendations.

                1. A lot of solid recs have already been suggested, but I just want to add Eyrie as a stop in Williamette Valley. Also, Benton Lane.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: vinosnob

                    Just got to taste Eyrie for the first time the other day. Very Impressive!!!!!

                    1. re: Midlife

                      Thanks for all the great suggestions everybody - please keep them coming!

                      i got myself a travel guide yesterday for the pacific northwest. my sense from going through the book is that the oregon wineries are where it's at - we are still trying to figure out a route - we are coming from Alberta and hoping to do the coast hwy as well - so maybe make our way across to portland, down through the williamette valley and the wineries and back up to seattle by way of the 101...

                      unfortunately we are only allowed to bring 2 bottles/person across the border, so i'm looking into shipping regulations - 2 bottles just isn't enough!!

                      i'm wondering if the northwest wines are similar in varieties to BC wines - if that is the case i love pinot gris, pinot noir, gammay noir, cab franc...

                      1. re: pants

                        If you have the time here is a route you may want to try. You’ll have an opportunity to visit a lot of wineries and see one of the best stretches of the Pacific coast in the US.

                        Go west on Trans-Can 1 then south on 97 through the Okanagan Valley. After visiting some wineries there (Quail’s Creek, Mission Hill, Sumac Ridge) continue south into the US toward Yakima. The area between Yakima and Walla Walla is the prime wine growing area in Washington and has several wineries to visit.

                        From Walla Walla follow the Columbia River west to Portland. From there follow Hyway 18 to the Willamette Valley (McMinnville) and the heart of Oregon wine country.

                        After sampling some awesome Pinot Noir there head west on Hyway 18 to the Pacific coast. Follow Hyway 101 north (charge your camera batteries first) until you see Hyway 8 east to Olympia. From there follow I-5 north to Seattle. Just northeast of Seattle is Woodinville, home to Chateau Ste-Michelle, Columbia and several other Washington wineries. Then back to I-5 north into Canada and Trans-Can 1 east to home.

                        1. re: Mark Nobe

                          Thank you Mark! I am a BC Wine Rep and was SOOOOOOO going to say why aren't you coming into BC for wine! I say go down thru Oliver to the best BC reds are made (and grown) there! I can give all kinds of rec's for BC wines!
                          The best cab Francs are in Oliver,BC
                          Fairview Cellars
                          Hester Creek and
                          Consitently good - Tinhorn Creek

                          1. re: starlady

                            Mark - the US part of that route might work for us in reverse - we usually try to avoid the trans canada when we can - we're thinking of entering the US through Idaho and work our way across to Portland and work our way around from there.

                            i'm from vancouver originally and very familiar with the bc wines - we were thinking we would come back that way and catch the summer wine festival in vernon - i highly recommend this festival, i went a couple years ago, got a great package that included some of the seminars as well as the tasting events and learned so much - it really was fantastic.

                            Starlady - as a BC wine rep can you work on getting some more BC wines into the stores here in Calgary! There's a pretty limited selection. Occasionally though i've been able to snag the odd bottle of blue mountain which is, of course, not available in vancouver so that's very exciting.

                            1. re: pants

                              I'll get right on it :)
                              But if you know what you want you can contact some wineries and get them to ship you a case. If you want a mixed case of stuff I might be able to work on it. lemme know!

                              1. re: starlady

                                i've checked with a few and they won't ship to alberta - i might just take you up on a case - i'll see after we get back from this trip in august.

                                are you familiar with Pentâge Gamay Noir Rosé 2004, B.C.
                                ? i got a taste at parkside in vancouver but i've never heard of them before so i'm not sure where they are - it was delicious, perfect for summer!

                                1. re: pants

                                  Yup I know Pentage. They are now doing some "cask" wines. ie bag in a box. But actually good wine!

                  2. here's a Southern Oregon Primer:
                    and here's the Oregonian's spring wine guide:

                    1. penner-ash
                      archery summit

                      archery summit may still be the only in oregon with caves--fun to tour those if you can

                      1. Good suggestions here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/355378

                        I think Adelsheim, Cuneo and Scott Paul are great places to stop in OR, as well as some of the suggestions above.

                        Had a great meal last fall at The Painted Lady in Newberg, OR: http://www.thepaintedladyrestaurant.com/ The $45 for 3 courses deal is a very good deal.

                        1. Lots of good wineries in the Columbia Valley area in Washington. One of our favorites is Bookwalter, near Richland. They have a great tasting area with a fun appetizer menu. Don't bother with Tagaris just up the road, the servers are snotty and they charge way too much for a tasting. Badger Mountain/Powers had tons of wine available for tasting when we were there but I'm not wild about their stuff. Chinook Winery outside Prosser is charming, the tasting room is the owners' living room and you get greeted by their big furry dogs at the door. Willow Crest in Prosser has fabulous wine, especially their Cabernet Franc and Syrah, and the people there are really nice.

                          If you happen to go through Ellensburg, north of Yakima, stop at the Valley Cafe for lunch or Winegar's Dairy stand for espresso milkshakes.