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Sep 13, 2012 09:17 AM

Wilammette Valley Suggestions

Hi all,

My husband and I are heading to Wine Country for a mini honeymoon in October and are looking for any recommendations of must dos.

We will be in Portland for a night then traveling by car on Saturday. Saturday and Sunday we are staying at the A Tuscan Estate in McMinnville (this looked like a good area to be able to be close to a few things) then Monday night will be staying at the Allison in Newberg (anyone familar with the places? are these good locations?). Some wineries that are on my list are:

Argyle (this is a must as I am addicted to their Brut Rose)
Rex Hill
Domaine Serene
Walnut City Wineworks (walking distance from Mcminnville)
Archery Summit
What others would be close by and recommended?

For restaurants we know about the Painted Lady, Jory, Bistro Masion in McMinnville so any other suggestions are helpful

Also, is there anyting we will be passing by on our drive from Portland to Mcminnville that we should know about for a pit stop?


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  1. There are a few other threads on the board about the area. I'll link you to the one I'm most familiar with (for obvious reasons). It's over a year old, but still pretty accurate as far as I know.

    1. Dee, Lange is great, so is Argyle. Domaine Serene makes some of the best wine in the Valley but they $20 pp for tastings and offer pretty snooty hospitality to boot. I've not been to Archery Summit; I know their wines to be first class but have heard others complain of what I told you about Serene. Better to concentrate your efforts on wineries that offer top quality without the attitude. Three I reccomend highly are St. Innocent, Dobbes, and Stone Wolf. Oh, and Cana's Feast. Also, for lunch AND wine tasting, the Carlton tasting room in the tiny town of Carlton (plan this with Cana's Feast) just outside McMinneville, offers pours of yummy boutique (under 500 cases) wineries who aren't big enough to open their own tasting rooms.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Neecies

        Good to know about the snooty attitude, not something we enjoy! I will definitely check out some of the others that you listed. And will definitely check out Cana's Feast!

        1. re: Neecies

          Neecies - I'm curious to know what you think of Sokol Blosser and Amity Vineyards. We greatly enjoyed both of them, partly for how completely opposite they were from each other. But as you know, we are not the wine experts that you are!

          1. re: L.Nightshade

            Sokol Blosser's on my A list, could have easily mentioned them where Amity wines have been more middle of the road to me. Good, never bad, never great. Which doesn't mean that things haven't changed there for the better, or that the quality of hospitality in the tasting room doesn't put all other considerations aside, or that their wines suit don't suit other people's palates more than they do mine.

            Reminds me of another winery there I like a lot, Adelsheim. David Adelsheim, along with Dick Ponzi and the guy who started Erath, is one of the Willamette Valley originals--back when people said they were crazy for growing grapes instead of just making wine out of other fruit like everybody else did. Which reminds me of another reccomendation to make: the Ponzi tasting room in Dundee, I think it is, right on the main drag, and the cool bistro next door for great food.

            1. re: Neecies

              I think you've got it right about Amity. We love the atmosphere - inside of a barn at the top of the hill, with a few animals running around, the friendliness, and the generous (free) pours. Plus they're on the way to the Brigittine Monastery, a must stop for us!

              1. re: Neecies

                Erath is the first Oregon Pinot I drank in 2004 and then got hooked on it. I also have had Adelsheim and Ponzi often as those are two that are always readily available for purchase here in Chicago. I can't believe I didnt think of putting them on my list. Now for Ponzi, do you suggest just the tasting room, or the actual winery? I am intrigued now by Sokol Blosser and may have to check that out as well. I have received a list of suggestions from the Allison as well that I have to look through. If you were going to choose one Winery Tour to do, which one would you choose?

                1. re: Dee74

                  Dee, re Ponzi, DEF the tasting room and not the winery. The winery looks close on the not-to-scale maps made for tourists, but it's a good hour drive from anything else. That's why he opened the tasting room. Another good thing about the TR is that he pours wines from other wineries so you get a fuller experience. The bistro next door is definitely another plus. Re touring an actual winery, can't help on that. I've seen so many wineries I prefer not to take tours, and I'm not even sure who offers one now.

                  1. re: Dee74

                    Sokol Blosser might be the winery you'd want to tour. It's just off 99W, has a nice tasting room that is in the middle of the vineyard, with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. Call ahead to make sure they will accommodate you in a tour - if they have an event going on they might not be able to spare an employee for it.

            2. Third Street in McMinnville has many lovely little restaurants, but if you have the time, go to Harvest Fresh Market on Third and pick up some lunch items from the deli. As you are exploring some of the wineries up on Red Hill (Breyman Orchards Road), stop a a little nursery called Red Ridge Farms. They have a lovely patio overlooking their lavendar field and looking out on several of the wineries. Gorgeous! Red Ridge even presses their own olive oil, and is a fun break between tasting rooms.
              Between McMinnville and Newberg is a tiny little town called Dayton. There is a tasting room there for Seufert Winery, and just a couple of doors down is a fun little antique shop.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Lotsofscots

                Wow, all these posts are making me crave another trip soon!

                1. re: Lotsofscots

                  Great suggestion on the market. And I like the idea of the farms too. My husband and I both love olive oil. Really appreciate all the great suggestions.

                2. Here is the itinerary that the Allison suggested for Sunday and Monday. I have not yet checked out these winery websites but figured I would put it out there to see what you all think.

                  Carlton Winemakes Studio
                  Colene Clemens

                  Anderson Family Vineyards
                  White Rose

                  1. If you're doing Lange (which is a must IMO) you're also right next door to Torii Mor. Had a nice visit there last Sept. Recommended.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Maggie19

                      When you go to Carlton for the Winemaker's Studio, don't miss a visit to Scott Paul. :)