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. It jus means we gotta focus on the best of the best of Willamette Valley. And one of the best things to do in Willamette Valley Oregon is wine tasting of course.
Let's not forget the Willamette Valley is home to some of the best Oregon wineries to visit. So you know the wine enthusiast in me was incredibly excited.
A weekend in the Willamette Valley
While playing a little bit of travel roulette I managed to score cheap tickets to Oregon. We 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 Oregon Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. And on the hunt to find the best Willamette valley pinot noir it was my goal to visit some of the best wineries in the Willamette Valley.
The Best Willamette Valley Wineries to Visit
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. We also ate a lot of yummy food. But we will save that for another post.
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.
Below is the list of Willamette Valley wineries we visited.
Willamette Valley Tasting Room
How many wineries are in the Willamette Valley?
The Willamette Valley is home to almost 600 wineries. So when trying to find the best wineries in Oregon to visit the Willamette Valley wineries list can get a bit overwhelming.
We were able to visit 12 of these wineries. A very small number compare to the amount of Willamette wineries available however that just means we have to go back.
How far is Willamette Valley from Portland?
So where is the Willamette Valley?
Depending on where in the Willamette Valley you are looking to go you can make it to the region within 30 minutes. For those looking to book a flight to Willamette Valley I would recommend flying into Portland.
We chose McMinnville as a homebase for our long weekend. McMinnville is located about an hour outside of Portland.
When should I go to Willamette Valley?
Harvest time is always one of the best times of year to go to any wine region. For the Willamette Valley that is usually between September and November.
Therefore most will say the best time to visit Willamette Valley is the fall.
However, we visited in January. And we were treated to amazing weather during that time. Not only was the weather perfection but it was also a slow period which meant that several of the wineries were quiet and we had them all to ourselves.
If you're looking for the best time to visit Oregon wine country I would definitely try to go during harvest however if the timing doesn't work out you can definitely try another time of the year.
12 Wineries in 3 days
Ok. Let's talk about some of the top Willamette Valley Wineries we visited.
Are you ready to go on a Willamette Valley wine tasting adventure? I hope you can keep up.
Stoller Family Estates
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.
Stoller is one of the best Willamette wineries to visit if you are looking to sip and enjoy the view. The property is gorgeous.
Tasting Fee: $15
De Ponte Cellars
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. The property is beautiful.
Domaine Serene comes highly recommended and I can understand why. It's a great place to enjoy the property while sipping on a glass of wine.
Tasting Fee: $20
White Rose Estate & Winery
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.
The views here are amazing which makes it our fave Willamette Valley winery.
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.
Willamette Valley Tasting Room
So on to the sixth, Willamette Valley tasting room in McMinnville. We opted to get wines by the glass here. This is a cozy tasting room with comfy couches and seating. It's one of the best McMinnville wineries located in town.
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 winetasting in Willamette Valley.
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.
Argyle is an amazing Willamette Winery. You have to try the sparkling Pinot Noir. It's probably one of the most unique wines from Willamette Valley.
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 learn 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.
Durant Vineyards is one of the best vineyards in Willamette Valley.
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.
Bergstrom is located in Dundee Hills and found the wines here to be 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. It was a great Willamette wine tasting experience. I highly recommend this place. Tasting Fee $25
Must see Willamette Valley Wineries
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.
Adelsheim is a member of the Chehalem Mountains Winegrower and their Pinot Noirs are some of the most unique that we tasted.
We spent a good amount of time here. It was in our experience the best wine tasting in Willamette Valley.
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.
Located in Amity Hills, Alloro comes recommended because it is a beautiful property and I truly felt like I was transported to Tuscany. It is one of the most beautiful wineries in Willamette Valley.
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.
Alloro is one of the best small wineries in Willamette Valley. But don't judge this winery by the size of their tasting room. The experience was spectacular.
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
If you liked this list then hop on over to our list of the Best Wineries in Niagara on the Lake.
A Map of the Best Wineries in Willamette Valley Oregon
In order to help you plan an itinerary, we put together a list of the top wineries in Willamette Valley Oregon. Here is your list of best wineries to visit in Willamette Valley.
Ok. So there you have it. Twelve wineries in the Willamette Valley in 3 days. I am exhausted just thinking about it. But I have to say it was a pretty awesome Willamette Valley trip and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
We enjoyed trying some of the best Willamette Valley wines.
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.
Hope you enjoy tasting all the amazing Willamette Valley wines.
So have you been inspired to create your own Willamette Valley wine tours?
This sounds like fun. What’s generally included in a tasting fee?
Hi Imani. The tasting normally includes a sampling of wines. So for example some of the vineyards offered 5 wines to try. You get about 2oz of each wine to taste. It usually will equal out to almost a glass when you add it up.
Jason Battern says
Were there reservations neccessary for any of the wineries? Which ones? Better time to visit certain ones? Just booked a trip. Thanks in advance.
The wineries we visited which are on this list did not require reservations.
In terms of time of year we went in January and it was great however a year prior they had a lot of snow which resulted in closures. With regards to time of day start your day as early as you can. Depending on the weather we experienced crowds the later in the day it got. I would also highly recommend visiting on the weekdays. We visited a few on a Monday and we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves. If you have any other specific questions please do not hesitate to shoot me an email. I am happy to help.