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Willamette Valley in June - what wineries should we visit?

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My husband and I are taking a week trip to Oregon and spending three days in the Willamette Valley. We want to visit as many wineries as we can but want to narrow down the list a bit. We'll be staying in McMinnville and are focusing in the area from Portland south to about Amity. Any suggestions would be great - I'm a lover of Oregon wines so I have a few in mind already so...thanks so much!!

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  1. Sounds like fun. Welcome to PDX!
    There are many threads on this subject, both here and in Wine.
    Just scroll down and you'll see many tour ideas.
    My faves in Yamhill County are Carlton Winemakers' Studio, Argyle, Amity, Domain Drouhin, Erath, Torii Mor, Sokol Blosser, Rex Hill.
    What are you considering?

    1. Definitely Torii Mor - very Zen and terrific Pinot Noirs - especially the Olsen Vineyard and Temperance Hill pinots!

      1. I bring out of town guests to Domain Serine and Archery Summitt. These two and Domain Drouhin are within a few minutes of each other.

        1. Thanks everyone! I will definitely check out the other threads. I plan to go to Rex Hill, Willamette Valley Vineyards, Airlie and Sokol Blosser so far but I will look more into the other recs. Thanks again!

          4 Replies
          1. re: Heyteacher

            IMO you can pass on Willamette Valley Vineyards. The location/tour is great (I got married there), but the wine is not up to par for the area. Plus it isn't really close to any of the other great wineries in the area (salem being 25-45 minutes away from the real action).

            1. re: BallardFoodie

              Thanks for the tip Ballard - I've enjoyed their wine in the past so maybe it will be a "if we have time" winery visit.

              1. re: Heyteacher

                Agree that Willamette Vineyards is not worth the out-of-the-way trip.

                Also consider Adelsheim.

                1. re: Leonardo

                  Adelsheim is my number one fave in Oregon but it's just too far from where we will be...

          2. I'm going to be staying in Portland Memorial Day weekend and have slated Sunday as winetasting day. I am considering spending some time at the Carlton Winemakers Studio, Torii Mor, and perhaps Archery Summit. Does anyone have input on these choices? We don't want to overwhelm ourselves trying to squeeze too much into one day (and we have reservations back at Le Pigeon in the evening!), but definitely want to get a sense of some of the more "boutique" wineries and their offerings. Thanks!!

            5 Replies
            1. re: dylinw

              Don't miss Torii Mor.

              1. re: dylinw

                If you are going to be in Carlton at the Studio (which I think is mostly "eh"), go to Canas Feast (used to be called Cuneo) and to my fave in Carlton, Scott Paul. Scott Paul not only makes excellent pinots, he also is the sole importer for some fabulous Burgundies and it is really interesting to taste the pinots and the Burgundies together (and Old World/New World kind of thing, ya know?).

                Torii Mor is really beautiful and the wines are decent.

                Agree about Adelsheim (and Bergstrom and Penner-Ash are down the road, but I like Adelsheim's wines better than the other 2).

                Don't know that Archery Summit is worth the price, personally, though I like Domaine Drouhin just across the road.

                In McMinnville proper, I really love Panther Creek and The Eyrie. Some very nice wines there. Panther Creek is interesting because you can taste single vineyard pinots from the same year and really see what a difference terroir and microclimates make in a wine.

                1. re: JillO

                  Thanks Jillo - that was so helpful! I'm looking forward to McMinnville.

                  1. re: JillO

                    Second Scott Paul. The experience is unparalleled. To taste old and new world wines side by side in a tiny town in Oregon. Perfect.

                    1. re: JillO

                      I'll ditto the recommendation for Scott Paul, too. We stopped there on a whim, and not only were the wines terrific (and as Jill notes, an interesting contrast) the owner was incredibly friendly and gave us some great suggestions for other wineries to visit.

                  2. One little non-food/wine tip (sorry Chowhounds): a GPS with the winery addresses pre-programmed will save you a LOT of time. A number of the more interesting wineries are "remote".

                    Penner Ash
                    Erath
                    Kramer
                    Elk Cove
                    Bergstrom

                    1. I think I planned my day out with all of your input. If anyone wants to weigh in, I'd appreciate it! Also, I planned five stops, which I know can be a bit much for one day, so if anyone has an opinion either way on that, please let me know!

                      Start out in Carlton:
                      1) Scott Paul
                      2) Canas Feast - mix it up with some Italian style wines!

                      Head over to Dundee Hills area:
                      3) Torii Mor
                      4) Domaine Drouhin
                      5) Adelsheim - this one I think I'm comfortable eliminating if needed

                      I am trying to plan the stops out to reflect different styles of winemaking, smaller wineries, and a range of prices for the wine. Is that achieved here?

                      Thanks!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: dylinw

                        That sounds like a good itinerary for a day, dylinw. Personally, I don't think that 5 or 6 in one day is too much, but I rarely try all of the wines offered for tasting and don't always finish the pours I get. Make sure you eat a good meal before you go, have some crackers or something for a snack at some point in the day (and a bottle or two of water each!), and maybe end the day at the Painted Lady in Newberg for dinner. It's fairly easy to get to after hitting Adelsheim.

                        1. re: JillO

                          Thanks! Good advice! :)

                      2. If you want a really nice dinner try the Joel Palmer House in Dayton. Great wine list and great food from Oregon.

                        1. I am not sure of the distance, but if you can I defininetly recommend a visit to King Estates Winery. Their Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay are very highly rated by Wine Spectator. My wife and I visited there several years ago, and were very pleased. Also try Elk Cove Winery for really superb Pinot Grigio. BTW, I am a native of Portland, Oregon although I now live in Georgia.

                          You might be interested to know the the great success of wineries in Oregon in primarily due to the eruption of Mt. St. Helens years ago. The ash which settled in the Willamette Valley killed off filbert and other nut trees, but left the soil perfect for growing grapes.

                          Guy Stryker

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: guystryker

                            Wow, I didn't know about that, Guy! That's really interesting - thanks for the tidbit!

                            1. re: guystryker

                              King is near Eugene, so really out of area.

                              Elk Cove, while a place I go often, is in Washington County, not exactly around McMinnville. I'd go there if also interested in Kramer and Momokawa Sake.

                            2. Ok, so after going over everything, I think I've made our list of wineries to visit...we'll be in the area for three days.
                              Adelsheim
                              Erath
                              Torii Mor
                              Archery Summit
                              Domaine Drouhin
                              Scott Paul
                              Panther Creek
                              Penner Ash
                              Elk Cove
                              Rex Hill

                              Getting it down - I'm so excited now!!! Thanks so much for your help!!! :-)

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Heyteacher

                                "Next door" to Elk Cove is Kramer. Stop in, you will be glad you did.

                                S

                                1. re: Steve K

                                  I wasn't really impressed with their website...I don't have too much time. Thanks for the suggestion.

                                2. re: Heyteacher

                                  Happy to help, just come back and post about where you went, what you ate and drank, and what you thought of it all...please! ;o)

                                  1. re: Heyteacher

                                    Have you been to Willamettewines.com? They have a map of Yamhill County (and more) wineries that would be very useful for you. They mail it out before Memorial Day and Thanksgiving Weekends and we think it's a great tool when you're driving around. My advice would be to not get too hung up on an itinerary as it's fun to "discover" places you haven't heard of. Also, don't stick to the main drag in Newberg - get off of 99W at Quarry Road or Bell Rd (just north of Rex Hill) and start following the blue winery signs. It's a beautiful country drive and you'll run into a lot of great wineries (including Adelsheim). Download the map before you go. Have a great time!!

                                  2. Near Dundee the 2 best are Domain Serene (my favorite OR pinot) and Bergstrom (best bang for your buck).I see lot of rec's for Domain Drouhin... I used to love their wine, but lately, I find it to be merely OK -- their tastings tend to be pretty limited as well. I'd pass. Others in that area that I try to go to at least once a year... Patricia Green, Beux Frere (where they also taste ANA), Penner-Ash,Tori Mor, and Shea. Down towards Salem you've got St. Innocent, Cristom, Bethel Heights, etc. -- all of these are great. Have fun!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: bendite

                                      Great list. The day after Thanksgiving tasting at Patricia Green is a must. You get to try something like 12 wines. Good stuff.

                                    2. We leave this Saturday for Oregon and just wanted to say thanks again for all of the recs! I'm slowly realizing this is an ambitious list, even though we're staying in McMinnville for three nights, but we'll see what we see and taste what we taste! I'll report back when we get home. Thanks again!

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: Heyteacher

                                        Please tell us where you went, and what you'd recommend to someone going in August! Thanks in advance.

                                        1. re: Love to Eat

                                          Would also like to hear your report as we are visiting in September.

                                          1. re: sunshineinaz

                                            heyteacher posted it a little bit ago: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/529364

                                            1. re: sunshineinaz

                                              Best restaurants in the valley-The Painted Lady-by far top to bottom service food wine lsit all outstanding. Joel Palmer House can't miss mushroom extravaganza.
                                              Wineries- Archery Summit outstanding wines
                                              Penner Ash, one of my favorites the jewel of the valley De Ponte Cellars. Small boutiqueish winery with outstanding wines. This place doesn't get enough credit being in the middle of 3 of the top wineries in the valley but they will be know soon. JK Carrier great stuff, Wilakenzie in Carlton/Yamhill AVA beutiful wines also......