The Willamette Valley has been voted one of the top 10 wine regions in the United States. That is one of the reasons why I really wanted to spend a weekend in the Willamette Valley. This has been on my wish list for as long as I can remember but when you’re short on time like me and you live on the East Coast it is not easy to just pop on over or is it? Just because you only have a weekend in the Willamette Valley does not mean you have to sacrifice your experience.
A weekend in the Willamette Valley
While playing a little bit of travel roulette I managed to score cheap tickets to Oregon. I only had three days therefore I had a lot of research to do. I was up for the challenge. I set out to plan a weekend in the Willamette Valley.
I started by choosing our home base, McMinnville. This was the perfect place for us to call home while exploring the Willamette Valley. I was looking for a location that was central as I did not want to waste any time. I really meant it when I told everyone I was going to Oregon to drink alllll the Pinot Noir.
Our weekend in the Willamette Valley started late on Friday night and three days later we were proud to say we visited 12 wineries in 3 days. And lived to tell the tale. But before you ask if I was dying from a wine hangover. The answer is Coconut Water. It is my hangover cure. But enough about that. Let’s talk wine.
12 Wineries in 3 days
Our first stop was Stoller Family Estates. We heard great things about this place so it is was a must visit. Their property was stunning and they had a nice tasting menu of both Pinot Noir’s and Chardonnay. I definitely enjoyed the wine and especially enjoyed the property. It was the first stop of the day and although it was sunny it was a bit chilly. But if we would’ve stayed a bit longer it would be the perfect place to sit outside with a bottle of wine. Tasting Fee: $15
Next on the list was De Ponte Cellars. The tasting here was all Pinot Noir and it definitely was my favorite place on the list. The wine was amazing. They have a small deck with beautiful views so we were able to take our tasting outside. By that point the sun was starting to get warm so it was a nice little treat. Tasting Fee: $15
Third on list for the day was Domaine Drouhin. They were busy when we arrived which made it a bit difficult to get the whole tasting experience however once the crowds died down we had the opportunity to learn more about the wines were trying. By this point the sun was shining and we were given the opportunity to take our tastings outside which was fabulous. Tasting Fee: $15
Fourth on the list for the day was Domaine Serene. I have to be honest I didn’t love this place. It is beautiful and is highly recommended however I was not impressed with the wines. I think that everyone has a different palate so I would never discourage someone from visiting. It is definitely worth checking out for yourself. Tasting Fee: $20
Fifth on the list for the day was White Rose Estate & Winery. We spent the most time here as the sun was starting to set and the views were spectacular. The tasting room is small and cozy but you come here for the views. Again we had great weather so we enjoyed our tastings outside which were very generous. Tasting Fee: $20
Ok. So I am not sure how I am still going but we are now heading to our Sixth of the day. Our secret. We shared most of our tastings. So we could keep on going without dying. And to save a bit of money. These tastings are expensive.
So on to the sixth, Willamette Valley tasting room in McMinnville. We opted to get wines by the glass here. This a cozy tasting room in town with comfy couches and seating. Some people were having wine and playing board games while others were doing tastings. Definitely a good place to unwind after a long day exploring. This was a great place to end our long long day of wine tasting. Tasting Fee: $10
We had a bit of a late start but Day 2 started with bubbly at Argyle Winery. This was my favorite of the day. The bubbly did not disappoint. Once again we enjoyed our tasting flights outdoors. This time we went with two different tastings. Bubbly for me and Pinot Noir for him. All the wines are served and discussed at the same time so it allowed us to leisurely enjoy our flight with minimal interruption. Tasting Fee: $20
Ok. We are up to number Eight for the weekend. Sokol Blosser. Upon arrival it was very crowded therefore there was a bit of a wait. Once we were able to settle in we started our tasting. The thing to note is that this place is very popular. When the crowds died down we had a great experience really getting to know the wines however when it was crowded it was hard to really enjoy the tasting. Once again I would give this place another chance on a day that is not as busy. Tasting Fee: $15
Number nine on the list is Durant Vineyards. We meant to visit on our first day because we heard great things but that didn’t happen. It was also crowded therefore we didn’t get the opportunity to really learned about the wines but we were able to take our pours to a table where we could enjoy it at our own pace. They have a cozy fireplace which was perfect as the sun was starting to go down. They had a nice variety including both reds and whites so we definitely enjoyed ourselves. I would highly recommend this place to enjoy the sunset as it was spectacular. Tasting Fee: $15
Day three started with our tenth winery of the weekend, Bergstrom, and another fave. The wines here are amazing. The tasting fee was a bit more expensive than the others we visited but the wines are incredible. It was worth every penny. The best part is we had the place to ourselves which gave us the opportunity to really learn about the wine. I highly recommend this place. Tasting Fee $25
Number eleven is Adelsheim and they win the most hospitable award. Maybe because we were the only ones there they really took the time to introduce us to their wine and boy was it good. I absolutely loved this place and cannot wait to visit again. Tasting Fee: $15.
Last but not least we are up to number twelve on the list. Alloro. This comes recommended because it is a beautiful property and I truly felt like I was transported to Tuscany. It was already late in the day so we didn’t get a chance to enjoy the grounds but I could see myself returning to spend time in their gardens which are amazing. We had the opportunity to try a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling. I’m not a fan of Rieslings but this was good. It was a great way to end our wine country adventures. Tasting Fee: $20
Ok. So there you have it. Twelve wineries in three days. I am exhausted just thinking about it. But I have to say it was a pretty awesome trip and I would do it again in a heartbeat. The only thing I would say is that the tastings could get expensive. We saved a bit of money by sharing tastings however there are many vineyards that offer more affordable tastings. I find it hard to believe that there is such thing as a bad wine as we never came across any.