We are very early in our research for our May trip to Portland for 10 days, but one of our goals to to try out the local wines. I realize that all reaturants probably carry Willamette valley wines, but looking for good picks to try good range of local wines. Also any restaurants in the nearby wine country is appreciated. We don't know yet what areas of the wine region to visit and are open to suggestions
Your question might have been a bit broad to get responses. Every good restaurant serves local wines, so you won't have much trouble there. Higgins has an especially good list, and has maintained its place as one of the best in the NW for years. The other great restaurants are scattered around now, with quite a few in SE on either side of Hawthorne (street/district).
As far as in the wine country, there are quite a few options these days, especially in McMinville. I ate at the Ponzi Bistro in Dundee recently and it was very good. If you can get there, and you like mushrooms, I'd definitely try to do a meal at the Joel Palmer House.
I had a really nice meal at The Painted Lady a couple of years back, in Newberg. http://www.thepaintedladyrestaurant.com/
I would also say that there are a lot of "local" wines that are awesome that a just a bit further away from the WIllamette Valley. OR Wine Press very recently posted a great AVA map: http://oregonwinepress.com/article?articleTitle=a+regional+review--1333229009--1146--top-stories
I have had some really good wines from the Rogue, Applegate and Umpqua Valleys in Southern OR and the Walla Walla Valley in WA (and OR, kinda ;o). I love me some Pinot, I really do, but there are some fabulous Syrahs, Tempranillos and other varietals we can't grow in the Willamette Valley being made from grapes from these other regions.
Some wineries in the Willamette Valley make wines with these grapes grown elsewhere and some of them are wonderful. Canas Feast in Carlton comes to mind (and their Chinato is delicious!). Also in Carlton, Scott Paul is a great stop - he has vineyards and makes fabulous Pinots in the Old World style (more subtle, less fruit-forward than most OR Pinots) and is also a sole importer for some mighty fine Burgundies, many 1er Cru. It is a fun tasting, because after tasting a lot of "New World" Pinots elsewhere, you get to taste his Old World-style ones alongside some great Burgundies and can really see the amazing breadth of the varietal and skill of the winemaker.
And I totally agree about Wines On Broadway. Great way to taste a lot of Oregon wines without traipsing all over - though our wine country is seriously beautiful and worth the effort.
St. Jack, a French place in SE Portland usually has a couple of very nice OR wines. They even have arrangements with some wineries to have special cuvees just for them and to have some selections unbottled, so that you can order carafes. I had a Canas Feast Syrah made just for them by the carafe last time I was in that was very delicious, ditto one from Quady North (in the Rogue Valley). The food and cocktails there are awesome too...make a reservation, though, you will need it! http://stjackpdx.com/home/
A great restaurant that also has an amazing wine selection is Metrovino. I haven't been there since the recent chef change, but I would still recommend it. They have a wall of enomatics and do taste pours and glasses of an amazing array of wines: local, domestic & imports. I love ordering a bunch of smaller plates there and get taste pours as pairings for each of them. I can try 3-6 different wines and still walk out of there ;o) I wouldn't limit myself to only locals there, though, the list is too good and the opportunity to try an expensive bottle without having to buy a bottle is fabulous. http://metrovinopdx.com
As far as what wineries to go...whew, that is a long other post. I know I have done one before if you search around here, but it's not terribly recent. My suggestion is to do a bit of research, then go to OR Wines on Bway and taste a little bit from the regions/makers you are interested in...it may help inform your plans. Also, a lot of our winemakers/vineyards are small and are open by appointment only (some are open on the weekends only with no appointment needed) so make sure you know before you go so you are not disappointed.
I'll try to think about what I have had recently and maybe come back and do another post about wineries/vineyards...can't promise it, but I'll try...
Oh, and any other info. you can give us about what you are looking for in terms of food can help us help you find places to eat...it's an embarrassment of riches here in Portland! ;o)
P.S. - If you're gonna be here on April 29th, I'd say to go to Unwine'd: http://unwined.oregonwine.org/
In wine country Jory at The Allison Hotel has the biggest list by a mile. Beautiful hotel and grounds. On a simpler note Recipe in downtown Newberg has terrific high end comfort food and an extremely good and very well thought out wine list. Sort of my favorite place in the area right now.
We finished our trip and I wanted comment on our findings. We liked best the Dayton area for vineyards, including Vista Hills, White Rose, Archery Summit .. there are 5-6 near each other. As for restaurants in the wine region, we liked Community Plate, Recipe, Nick's and Bistro Dundee. Did not care for Thistle as much. In Portland, we particulary NW Provisions and Meat, Cheese, Bread, as well as the wine bar next to it. Thanks for all the tips. it helped us get started.