This was our first time visiting Willamette Valley and I can not wait to go back. The vibe is far more chill than Napa and the price is even better. There are so many small towns within Willamette. We decided to stay within the McMinneville area. Fly into Portland, rent a car and Willamette is about an hour drive. You will find my 3 day itinerary below! Copy and edit as you please! Cheers!
Where to Stay
We booked the Boutique Retreat, a collection of 9 different themed tiny homes. We stayed in the MOD cottage. It was spacious enough for 2 considering we were there to get ready and sleep. Amenities included a mini fridge, microwave and a gorgeous public space in the middle with many hang out spots and a fire pit! The property is close to a coffee shop, 3 min walk and downtown McMinneville is about a mile away. This made walking to breakfast, dinner or other tasting rooms super easy!
How to Get Around
We rented a car from the Portland airport and used Main Street Drivers. The company has licensed drivers to drive your rental car. I have found this to be far more cost effective especially with a group of 6! The only thing I would recommend is to ask who your driver is in advance as they know the area and can recommend hidden gems. Now I know for next time.
Where to Sip
The biggest thing when picking your wineries is to map them out. You do not want to be stuck in the car forever! You are here to drink wine! I have these in order from my MUST GO to they were OK!
This is a hidden gem for sure. Sofia, the owner was our host and provided an amazing experience. The tasting room has gorgeous views of the property. The wines were phenomenal. Sofia’s farming focuses on ancient practices and avoids pesticides and herbicides.
She told us how she uses a camomile tea mist to calm her vines when they are stressed. We also were able to taste the 2020, which had smoke taint from the fires. She bottled it but does not sell it. It had a unique flavor. Our favorite was the Sofia Block, a delicious Pinot noir.
This was a quick last minute add on. We had extra time, Furioso was next door to Cramoisi and Sofia suggested. The property was beyond gorgeous with the best views ever. Inside was modern and clean with amazing artwork, glass windows on the floor to see the barrel room and each tasting spot had the perfect view.
We shared a bottle of their Rose! It was so refreshing I had to bring as bottle home. I am keeping this spot on the list for next trip so I can enjoy all of their wines with a French influence.
This was our first stop on the way from the airport and its the perfect intro into Willamette Valley. Sokol Blosser offers a Farm and Forage food pairing. ($150/pp) The food was phenomenal and the wine pairings fit amazingly. Upon arrival you were greeted with a glass of rose. While waiting to be seated I highly suggest photos by the plant wall and on the swing. Hardest thing ever, swing in wedges while holding a glass of wine!
We were seated at a family style table for our coursed meal of 5 pairings. The portions were perfect. Sokol is the perfect spot to add to your itinerary for lunch!
I booked Winderlea because they had a CLUE tasting! Our hosts had all of the wines poured in front of us with tasting notes and we tried to match them. We epically failed but the wines were phenomenal which matched the fabulous views.
My favs were the Sparkling and the Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir. Winderlea is a smaller boutique winery so you will get an intimate feel. Do not worry if you don’t want to guess the wines they offer other tasting options!
Since we stayed in McMinneville, Troon’s tasting room was a 10 min walk. They do have a tasting room at their property but we loved the feel of the tasting room. It was so chic nad temperature controlled! Sadly you wont be able to see their vineyards but you will see many more vines at other stops.
Tastings were $20/pp and we added a charcuterie board for the table. Our host even went off script and added some bonus pours!! We recommend adding the charcuterie plate for added munchies.
If you love bubbles this is your spot. Argyle is a well known spot. We sipped our flights on the patio while snacking on the charcuterie box provided by Sprig and Spread.
The winery is a very busy place so you will not received the intimate care as you would at some of the other spots. Ryan and I each did a different flight; sparkling vs still. Both were $45. Favs included the Nuthouse Chardonnay and the estate reserve Brut Rose.
If you want an upscale adventure, Domaine Serene needs to be on your list. You arrive at the property to a gorgeous fountain and step inside to royalty! The entire building is so fancy which matches their wines. Not only do they grow in Oregon, they also own estates in Burgundy.
We were able to do side by side tastings of Oregon vs French. We also added on the sparkling option because duh! The sparkling paired so well with the oysters we added on along with delicious chips! Our host was amazing but they do push the wine club very heavily. I hate when wineries do this.
We arrived a year too early to taste here. They are currently under construction and will have a fabulous tasting room. We did enjoy our time here. The cave tour is so fun. They have a special tasting room for club members which they let you check out real quick.
The tour starts outside as they take you through the wine making process and you are seated at a table in the caves to finish your tasting and to revisit anything you liked. Since it was close to harvest season we were able to taste the grapes off the vines. FYI they do not taste good.
Branch Point was a great place to stop for a wine break. The owners were so amazing and happy to serve us. We all did their cocktail flights. Their whiskey as smooth and easy to drink. Honestly I need to know what kind of lemonade they used for their simple whiskey lemonade, the best I’ve ever had. Be sure to bring a bottle home too!
WHERE TO EAT
Sadly 2 of the places we picked for dinner didnt work out. Pizza Capo was closed due to extreme heat and Rosmarino… well I messed up our dates and we missed the reservation. But OMG did it smell amazing there. The 1882 Grille was nothing to write home about but the patio seating was awesome. Alchemist Jam was also unfortunate closed for their summer break. We did love the Crescent Cafe for breakfast. They had amazing French toast and passion fruit mimosas! Another spot to check out is Flag and Wire coffee. It’s only a few minute walk from the tiny houses. I will be doing more research on where to eat the next time we go!
Below is my sample itinerary including drive times. Planning can be hard so if you need help, send me an email and let’s start planning together! I can be contacted at email@example.com