American wine has long since expanded beyond its initial introduction in various California valleys and is now developing in many unexpected areas.
For example, California’s northern neighbor, Oregon, has started its own wine industry, primarily centered in Willamette Valley. This beautiful region is home to unique winery options that provide high-quality opportunities for many taste palates.
Where’s Willamette Valley?
Willamette Valley stretches for over 150 miles along the Willamette River and contains around 70% of the state’s population centered in cities like Portland, Salem, Eugene, Gresham, Hillsboro, and Beaverton.
The region’s rich water flow contrasts with the mountainous nature of most of the rest of Oregon and provides plenty of growing room for Willamette Valley grapes and wines.
In fact, the region is constantly referred to as “Oregon’s Wine Country” both by state residents and wine fans from outside the state.
It amazingly contains around 19,000 acres of vineyards and over 500 different wineries.
What is interesting about this region is its difference from Californian wine: their growing climates are quite different and produce different wine types.
Related: Check out some wineries close by in Woodinville, Washington state.
Popular Wines from Willamette Valley
Willamette Valley has a relatively mild climate, one that is common throughout much of Oregon.
While not quite as warm as California due to its northern geographical position, the Pacific Ocean’s warming influence and the valley’s structure help produce relatively hot and dry summers that work well for grape growing.
However, Willamette Valley winters are often reasonably cold and wet.
As a result, there are a lot of Pinot Noir grapes and wines throughout the region, particularly since the summer’s cooler nights often enhance ripening speed and produce high-quality wines rather quickly.
As a result, you’ll get wines like Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, and Chardonnay throughout this region.
Sauvignon Blanc wines are rare because the climate is not suitable for them, but some brave wineries try anyway.
10 of The Best Wineries in Willamette Valley
The over 500 different wineries in Willamette Valley can be staggering to examine and explore, particularly if you’re someone who likes visiting every possible winery.
We strongly suggest that you hit up these 10 wineries and then move on to others.
Hitting every possible winery in the region may be impossible, but some people have done it before in the past.
Map of The Best Wineries in Willamette Valley
1. Willamette Valley Vineyards
- Website: Willamette Valley Vineyards
- Address: 8800 Enchanted Way SE Turner, OR
- Phone Number: 503-588-9463
When it comes to wineries in the Willamette Valley, you’ve probably heard of this popular option first.
It is one of the first in the area to open up and provides one of the region’s most popular and respected options. Its amenities are diverse and include many different high-quality elements.
For example, they overlook Willamette Valley itself and create the kind of stunning views standard throughout the area.
However, they go one step further and include a beautiful 65-foot lookout tour that adds a touch of elegance and a peaceful place to relax during your visit.
You can even purchase a high-quality tasting experience and get an explanation of each wine on the list, learning more about what each has to offer.
This amenity is enjoyable and helps bring you more into the wine world and increases your understanding of how wine is created.
Beyond that, this winery also has a great dining option that includes a variety of fresh and tasty meals. Far more than Charcuterie boards, you’ll get full meals your family will love.
Try the Pinot Noir or Estate Brut to get a delicious option for your money.
A few amenities you may enjoy when visiting here include:
- Pairing explanations that showcase various food and wine pairing options
- A partnership with Cascades Raptor Center that places rehabilitated barn owls into the vineyards for protection
- An annual harvest celebration that brings in plenty of visitors every year
- Winery tours that explore the vineyards in-depth for your pleasure
2. Brooks Wine
- Website: Brooks Wine
- Address: 21101 SE Cherry Blossom Lane, Amity, OR
- Phone Number: 503-435-1278
Are you ready for a winery that’s already been highly recognized as one of the best in the world?
Brooks Wine not only continually does well in Oregon-based winery polls but was also voted as one of the nation’s top 100 wineries by Wine & Spirit Magazine, huge acclaim for a small winery.
If you’re into outdoor eating and wine drinking, you’ll particularly love this winery.
It includes a sunroom on the upstairs deck, plenty of places to sit outside the winery, and much more. Though the winery’s inside tasting room is very comfortable as well, the outdoor experience is where it’s at here.
Many reviewers pointed out that the Elevated Tasting & Tour experience provided a unique insight into the winemaking world.
This tour includes things like access to the winery’s garden, a high-quality look at their production hall, a large volume of samples, and even suggestions for food pairings.
As for wines, the Riesling and Pinot Noir are particularly popular.
The former drink has a pretty wide variety of fruit and honey tastes with a pleasant acidic kick that should help it appeal to many fans.
Other amenities that you may enjoy when visiting this winery include:
- A high-quality wine club that includes a wide variety of wine options
- Free ground shipping fees when buying six or more bottles
- Regular events, including live shows that showcase some genuinely great music
3. Winter’s Hill Estate
- Website: Winter’s Hill Estate
- Address: 6451 NE Hilltop Ln, Dayton, OR
- Phone Number: 503-864-4592
While Winter’s Hill Estate may not be the top winery on our list, there are still many things to love about it.
For example, reviewers continually give it very high rankings for its hospitality. In addition, as a relatively small and low-key winery, it focuses on service quality and friendliness whenever possible.
That hospitality extends not just to a friendly greeting at the door but constant vigilance by your servers.
As a result, you’ll rarely find yourself low on wine when visiting here, particularly in their comfortable indoor tasting room, where you can get a flight of five estate-grown wines for reasonable prices.
However, like many Willamette Valley wineries, this option thrives best when you explore its beautiful abundance of wildlife.
We’re not kidding you when we saw that the views here are something else entirely, even compared to other wineries in the area.
You’ll get a full view of the Coastal Mountains from just about anywhere in this winery.
If you’re a massive fan of fields, forests, wildlife, and outdoor environments, you’ll love this winery’s outdoor covered patio and its many unique event options.
Wines to try here include the Pinot Gris and Blanc. If you love both, the Pearly Everlasting blends them into one great wine!
Amenities here include:
- One of the better wine clubs we’ve experienced in our research
- Food pairing suggestions that you might not get elsewhere
- Group reservations for up to 30 people with each visit
4. Cristom Vineyards
- Website: Cristom Vineyards
- Address: 6905 Spring Valley Road, Salem, OR 97304
- Phone Number: 503-375-3068
Cristom Vineyards remains one of the most successful and long-operating vineyards in the Willamette Valley region.
Located in Salem, they were started by Paul and Eileen Gerrie and are currently operated by their son, Tom Gerrie.
They introduced whole-cluster fermentation into their winemaking methods, a process that uses native yeast to produce sharp and tasty wines.
This method is also very sustainable, and they are certified as a Low Input Viticulture & Enology (or LIVE) business.
Cristom also has one of the longest operating times in the region, as they’re open seven days a week from 11-5.
As a result, it’s reasonably easy to find yourself relaxing outside on one of their patios or enjoying a private table in their indoor tasting room.
Their best wines include their trademark single-vineyard Pinot Noir, multiple-vineyard Pinot options, Chardonnay options, Pinot Gris, and even a surprisingly excellent Viognier!
You don’t see the latter wine too often in this region, which makes its appearance here unique.
Other amenities include:
- Six different vineyards you can explore with your family
- Fun and engaging events, including specialty wine tasting
- Dog-friendly outside drinking areas (bring a leash)
5. Domaine Drouhin Oregon
- Website: Domaine Drouhin Oregon
- Address: 6750 NE Breyman Orchards Rd, Dayton
- Phone Number: 503-864-2700
Do you love traditional French wine and wish you could find it in America? Thankfully, you can at Domaine Drouhin Oregon!
This estate is not only one of the largest on our list but also uses traditional French growing options that make their wine one-of-a-kind in the Willamette Valley.
The winery’s overall atmosphere is relatively relaxed, as it is located in a beautifully farm-rich area with plenty of mountains and valleys that make this state so beautiful.
Nearby homes have an old-school farm style that is beautiful and should bring many people to visit the area.
One thing to keep in mind is that Domaine Drouhin Oregon typically limits its tastings to a handful of people per visit.
So you need to book in advance before coming by, or you might be disappointed.
There are usually plenty of openings, and this more private atmosphere is pretty intimate, but I know some people would be upset if they visited this winery and didn’t know about this fact.
Wines to try here include the Pinot Noir, which includes a pretty surprising array of different tastes, like boysenberry and blackberry. The Range Chocolate Flight is also an excellent option for many wine fans.
Amenities that you may experience when you visit this winery include:
- An attractive 235-acre estate that allows for some exploration
- Corporate gifting options that may work well for your business needs
- An outdoor heated terrace that is popular even in the winter
6. Youngberg Hill Inn & Winery
- Website: Youngberg Hill Inn & Winery
- Address: 10660 SW Youngberg Hill Rd, McMinnville, OR
- Phone Number: 503-472-2727
It’s not uncommon for wineries to include a family-owned business structure, and this winery is no different.
Family-owned wineries often have that comfortable and inviting touch that makes them an exciting place to visit, and this winery feels very personable and friendly for visitors.
First of all, it includes a comfortable range of suites where you and your family can stay during your visit.
This option is nice because many wineries skip out on this option and force you to drive to pretty secluded places, which may be frustrating for people who get a buzz while drinking.
Even better, this winery invites people to check out its vineyards by providing tours through the vines, into the fermenting facility, and much more.
At the end of each tour, you get a complimentary wine flight of the winery, one served in a comfortable and relaxing outdoor gazebo.
While you can book private events like birthday parties and bridal showers, Youngberg doesn’t require advanced reservations.
It’s true that reservations improve your chances of finding a place to sit, but you can stop by during their tasting hours whenever you want and try out a great wine.
Great wine options include the Pinot Noir, which has a touch of wild berry, cocoa, and even ground cinnamon in its flavors and tastes. They also make a Sparkling wine that’s more than worth a try.
Amenities that you may experience when visiting here include:
- An on-site inn where you can stay during extended visits
- Wedding and event bookings that make this experience enjoyable
- Breakfast options that are better than average
7. Lemelson Vineyards
- Website: Lemelson Vineyards
- Address: 12020 NE Stag Hollow Rd, Carlton, OR
- Phone Number: 503-852-6619
Lemelson is another family-owned winery that provides a beautiful, rural atmosphere and amazing views that remind Oregon residents why they love their state so much.
So many wineries in the Willamette Valley offer similar amenities. So, what makes this winery special?
There’s just a sense of greater personal connection here when you visit.
It’s not uncommon to not only see founder Eric Lemelson at the winery, but he often serves wine, greets guests, and takes care of day-to-day duties. So that kind of personal touch is constant throughout the winery.
Perhaps the most significant thing you’re likely to notice about this winery is its many outdoor seating options.
It contains a three-level patio, one of the biggest I’ve seen. There are also designated picnic blanket areas where you can eat with your friends and family (outside food is welcome!).
When trying the wine, it’s clear that Lemelson specializes in Pinot Noir.
Their options include multiple reserves Pinot Noir blends, often with higher acidity and crispy flavor than you get with other Pinots in the area. They also serve strong Chardonnay and Riesling options, so you’re not limited here.
- An old-fashioned barn-style look that improves its homey nature
- Advanced booking options that make it easier to get a spot
- Vineyard tours that showcase grapes and how they are processed and fermented
- Website: Adelsheim
- Address: 16800 NE Calkins Lane, Newberg, OR
- Phone Number: 503-538-3652
As one of the earliest wineries in Oregon, Adelsheim has continually innovated and found new ways to stay exciting and viable.
For example, they were one of the first wineries in the area to push for sustainable practices within their winery practice continually.
They are also a LIVE or Low Input Viticulture and Enology certified winery, meaning that their commitment to sustainable practices is very serious. They continually work with others to teach about sustainable ideas and integrate them.
Their comfortable tasting room is continually upgraded and features modern touches that make it a great place to visit if old-school styles aren’t for you.
Even though they’re over 50, Adehlsheim remains a fascinating option for people who prefer a modern look.
As for their wines, the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, and even Syrah (a rarity in Willamette Valley) are continually praised and are worth the purchase price. Batches are often limited, so purchases may be better done sooner than later.
A few other amenities include:
- A hilltop garden seating area for you to relax, sip wine and take in the panoramic views
- Digital tasting parties that help you enjoy wine across the internet
- Recipe options that you can use when creating food with your wine
- Multiple fun events that take place throughout the year
9. Domaine Serene
- Website: Domaine Serene
- Address: 6555 NE Hilltop Lane, Dayton, OR
- Phone Number: 503-864-4600
Domaine Serene is another long-lasting winery that has done a lot to transform Oregon viticulture.
Located on a 42-acre hilltop estate, Domaine Serene remains an essential leader in the industry and continually looks for ways to improve its winery and make it more enjoyable.
They currently own six individual vineyard estates that include many soil types. This diverse range of soils helps Domaine Serene create multiple rootstocks and microclimate options that make their wine surprisingly broad in their taste options.
And as recently as 2020, they won a major international wine award.
While the outdoor experience here is delightful, their tasting room is renowned for its comfort amenities, including chairs where you can easily relax, various booths where you can get privacy, and even fireplaces where you can relax with your loved one during the colder months of the year.
There are many wine options that you may enjoy here, including Sparkling, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cheval, and more.
Their options here typically include a relatively high overall quality that makes them worth visiting.
Other amenities here include:
- Private tasting events that introduce you to newer wines
- On-site caves where you can host tasting events or simply explore
- High-quality prestige collections that provide many wine options
- Website: Penner-Ash
- Address: 15771 NE Ribbon Ridge Road, Newberg, OR
- Phone Number: 503-554-5545
Penner-Ash has an exciting history centered on founder Lynn Penner-Ash.
Penner-Ash was the first female winemaker hired in Oregon and, when she founded Penner-Ash Wine cellars in 1998, hers was the first winery in the state primarily owned and directed by a woman.
That distinction helped Penner-Ash get a lot of great press, but once the excitement died down a little, this winery stayed popular because it produced high-quality options.
Lynn, along with her husband Ron, seeks to create luxury wines at a fair price that will attract as many people as possible.
Thankfully, they meet this goal by providing a high-quality winery located on beautiful mountains surrounded by attractive landscapes.
You can enjoy these views sitting outside, or near one of the window-side seats to get stunning views if you want more temperature control.
They specialize mainly in Pinot Noir and Riesling, as these wines are not only popular in the state, but their grapes are easy to grow here.
They’re also one of the few in the region that makes a fantastic Syrah, which makes them worth checking out.
Other amenities worth considering include:
- An active range of club options that provide many unique benefits
- Sustainable gravity-flower design that minimizes waste
- Fantastic views of the surrounding valleys
Overall Best Willamette Valley Winery
The sheer number of Willamette Valley wineries made this decision harder than expected.
The quality of these wineries also increased our difficulty. However, we had to bend to popularity and go with Willamette Valley Vineyards.
Sometimes, popularity is fueled by quality, and this winery’s diverse wine blends, high-quality foods, comfortable tasting rooms, and enjoyable amenities made it more than worth it.
Willamette Valley is quickly becoming one of the most popular west-coast wine destinations, and the options here explain why!
There’s nothing like the sheer variety of wineries available in this region, particularly since Oregon is still something of a secret in the wine world.
Hit up any of these 10 wineries, and we can practically guarantee that you’ll enjoy yourself in one way or another.
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