By Jean Chen Smith
September 19, 2019
Courtesy of Ruby Vineyard

The Willamette Valley, located in Oregon, is a 150-mile stretch from the Columbia River in the north all the way down to Eugene in the South. Known for the largest collection of wineries and vineyards in Oregon, this region is one of the most prolific wine producing areas in the entire Pacific Northwest.

Winemaking in the Willamette Valley dates back only 50 years with the genius of David Lett, also known as “Papa Pinot,” who set out from California against the advice of his peers to begin wine growing in the Pacific Northwest. Despite the short timeline, the area is ripe with wineries that specialize in the flavors of the region. The relatively temperate climate throughout each season promotes ideal growing conditions.

Fall is a great time to visit this area known for its Pinot Noirs, when temperatures cool and summer crowds disperse. Drive through bucolic hills bursting with greenery and countryside charm. Some wineries have added Yoga as an offering for when visitors drop in for a wine tasting. Practicing Yoga has been known to open up the five senses, allowing one to experience the wine with greater depth, which makes for a perfect pairing.

Visit Ruby Vineyard, a family-owned and operated winery and vineyard located in the Chehalem Mountains AVA (American Viticultural Area). Co-owned by Steve Hendricks and Flora Habibi, Ruby was named after Flora’s favorite gemstone — an apt metaphor for this hidden jewel in a lesser-known corner of the Willamette Valley. What makes the 7.25 acres of Pinot Noir at the vineyard truly special is that the own-rooted vines, growing in a narrow stip of rare Laurelwood soils, are some of the oldest in Oregon, planted in 1973 & 1979.

While the vineyard is old, the winery itself is new: Ruby’s first commercial vintage was 2015 and their welcoming tasting room was completed in 2016. The vineyard is farmed organically using sustainable agricultural practices and wine is made on-site in the vineyard’s original green barn. Stay at Roya Vineyard & Cottages, which is a short five minute drive from the vineyard. The two cozy cottages (aptly named Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) are perched up high, dramatically overlooking the trellised grapes and valley below. Certified Yoga instructor Taylor Schopbach teaches Yoga and Wine Saturdays at 10 a.m. on the winery’s deck, with a clear sight line to Mount Hood when weather permits. This all-levels, Vinyasa flow is meditative and restorative, offering breathtaking views while being surrounded by nature. Yoga is $15 and includes a glass of red, white, bubbly, or a mimosa.

Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., private tastings with the owners or winemaker by appointment
Location: 30088 SW Egger Rd, Hillsboro, OR 97123

When Jim Bernau founded Willamette Valley Vineyards back in 1983, his goal was to make a classic and elegant representation of Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley. Over 35 years later, and with the addition of Elton Estate and Tualatin Estate Vineyards, the focus is still on quality and stewardship of the land through sustainability and biodynamics, a holistic and ethical way of farming.

Book the Oregon Wine Country Getaway package, which includes a private winery tour and tasting along with a $150 wine credit. The Estate Tasting Room’s food pairings provide an elevated experience with food prepared by Winery Chef DJ MacIntyre using fresh and locally sourced ingredients. Stay in one of the Winery Suites which features a master bedroom and modern bath with a soaking tub. Both suites open to magnificent views of the Estate Vineyard. Beginning mid-August through September, on Saturdays attend an invigorating yoga session with Winery Ambassador Suzanne Zupancic, who has been practicing for more than 10 years. The class is open to all levels. Tickets are $20 and include a $10 wine credit to use on your favorite bottle after the class. Private Yoga sessions customized to match experience level are also available by request.

Hours: Open Daily, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Location: 8800 Enchanted Way SE, Turner, OR 97392

Eola Hills offers visitors the opportunity to camp at Legacy Estate Vineyard located in Salem, Oregon. While Eola Hills offers many events throughout the year, including a well-known cycling event, Yoga continues to be a staple. Situated on an idyllic hillside covered with native White oak trees, the location offers spectacular views of the Willamette Valley and the coastal range. Offered as a free class with donations encouraged, the Monday night session takes place from 6 - 7:30 p.m. and is open to all levels. Wine is available for purchase after class in the Tasting Room.

Hours: Monday – Thursday, 11 a.m. – 6pm, Friday - Sunday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Location: Legacy Estate Vineyard, 1600 Oak Grove Road, Salem, OR 97304

Advertisement