Best Oregon Wineries to Visit

Willamette Valley Vineyards
Photo: Andrea Johnson

That Oregon, with its wet weather and short summers, could ever be famous for wine was in doubt until as recently as 30 years ago, when it began to receive international acclaim. Today the Willamette Valley is the epicenter of a world-class wine region famous for some of the country's best Pinot Noir. Here are the state's best wineries to visit. — Richard Nalley

01 of 20

Adelsheim Vineyard

Adelsheim Vineyard
CWK Photography

The Adelsheims were among the first wave of Oregon wine pioneers in the 1970s, and their family winery remains a benchmark for Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Visitors can taste a range of small-batch, winery-only bottlings in the tasting room. Call ahead to organize customized private tastings and sign-on for guided tasting luncheons. adelsheim.com

02 of 20

Archery Summit

Archery Summit
Richard Knapp

This well-funded winery produces high-end Pinot, Chardonnay and other bottlings at its picture-postcard location in the Dundee Hills. There is a roster of experiences to choose from here, ranging from a $20 flight in the tasting room to Library flights and combination tastings and tours of the underground barrel caves carved into volcanic rock (up to $75). archerysummit.com

03 of 20

Argyle Winery

Argyle Winery
Alan Brandt Photography

You might not run across the ghost said to inhabit the old Dundee City Hall that serves as Argyle's main building (the namesake of its Spirithouse Pinot Noir) but you can visit the Nuthouse (the old hazelnut plant and namesake of its Nuthouse Pinot) and taste its range of single vineyard still wines—and the sparkling wines that are among America's best. Visit during the slack season in January and enjoy the Oregon Truffle Festival. argylewinery.com

04 of 20

Bergström Wines

Bergström Wines
Cephas Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo

These highly regarded, biodynamically grown wines are a family affair—the talented, Burgundy-trained winemaker, Josh Bergström, is the owners' son. The picturesquely situated frame farmhouse amid the rolling vineyards in Dundee offers tastings year round, with a $20 fee. bergstromwines.com

05 of 20

Carlton Winemakers Studio

Carlton Winemakers Studio
Clay McLachlan

Wine lovers who want to step outside the mainstream tasting rooms and sample the new and artisanal have a one-stop tasting destination in the Carlton Winemakers Studio, where fourteen quality-oriented small producers like Andrew Rich, Hamacher and Lazy River have banded together to produce "Liquid Synergy." The sleek, wine bar-like tasting room is an ode to Oregon's cutting edge. winemakersstudio.com

06 of 20

Chehalem

Chehalem
Andrea Johnson

The tasting room for Chehalem (pronounced sha-HAY-lem) is in an historic brick building in Newberg that offers an Old World-style twist on the usual: Fill or refill your Chehalem souvenir liter-size bottles from the tap with wines like the no-oak INOX Chardonnay or a Pinot like the Three Vineyard. There are also regular tasting flights offered, from $10. chehalemwines.com

07 of 20

Cristom Vineyards

Cristom Vineyards
John D'Anna

One of Oregon's longest-running acts, Cristom's winemaking and vineyard team have been in place since the winery's founding in 1992, and their naturally produced Pinot Noirs are among Oregon's most acclaimed wines. The standard tasting fee for five wines in the homey Salem tasting room is $15, but Cristom has now launched a new private, guided tasting program ($30). cristomvineyards.com

08 of 20

Domaine Drouhin

Domaine Drouhin
Serge Chapuis

Visitors are drawn to this US outpost of Burgundy's Maison Joseph Drouhin by the reputation of the Pinot Noirs, including the very fine Dundee Hills entry level bottling, and are captivated by the sweeping views from these hilltop vineyards. Drop-in tastings are $10 a flight, but visitors with a little more time can reserve ahead for an even better bargain: a 75-minute long, $30 tour of the winery followed by a comparison tasting of Drouhin's Oregon and French wines. domainedrouhin.com

09 of 20

Domaine Serene

Domaine Serene
Domaine Serene

This stylish producer of highly regarded Pinots and Chardonnays occupies a Tuscan-style hilltop building in Dayton, marked by its mascot Wooly, a 14-foot high wooly mammoth sculpture—a memorial to the Ice Age events that formed the Willamette Valley. Drop-in tastings are $20, but there are options for more in-depth visits, including the $60 "Exquisite" tour that ends with a seated tasting of limited edition wines. domaineserene.com

10 of 20

Elk Cove Vineyards

Elk Cove Vineyards
Anna M Campbell

Elk Cove is one of Oregon's pioneering wineries, established by the Campbell family back in the 1970s in the foothills of the Coastal Range (which also provides the mountain views out the windows). The wine has reached new heights under second generation Adam Campbell, whose portfolio includes the luscious dessert wine blend Ultima. Basic flights in the modern tasting room are $10. Reserve ahead for Grand Tours ($40), offered on Saturdays. elkcove.com

11 of 20

Eyrie Vineyards

Eyrie Vineyards
Diana Lett / The Eyrie Vineyards

Eyrie was the winery that kicked off Oregon's modern wine era back in 1965, and also bottled America's first Pinot Gris. Now under the direction of founder David Lett's son Jason, Eyrie continues its emphasis on wines of finesse and balance rather than sheer power. Eyrie combines the charm of a hands-on, small, family-run winery with very high quality. The cozy tasting room in McMinnville offers four wine "Discovery flights" for $10. eyrievineyards.com

12 of 20

Gran Moraine

Gran Moraine
Carolyn Wells Kramer

California wine juggernaut Kendall-Jackson jumped into the Oregon wine business with both feet, purchasing a wide swath of vineyard land in the rolling hills of the Carlton-Yamhill AVA, building an impressive winery and producing a line of super-premium Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. Visitors can choose from a slate of touring and seated tasting options, starting with a semi-private seated tasting of four estate wines from $20. granmoraine.com

13 of 20

Ken Wright Cellars

Ken Wright Cellars
RJ Studio of McMinnville, OR

Ken Wright's is a name to conjure with among Oregon Pinot Noir lovers, and his long-established winery has never lost its place among the handful of the state's most sought-after producers. The winery itself is open only two days a year (on Thanksgiving weekend), but the Carlton tasting room is the place to sample the fine Pinots, estimable Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, and wine from the second label, Tyrus Evan, sourced from the Walla Walla Valley and Washington. kenwrightcellars.com

14 of 20

King Estate

King Estate
King Estate

One of Oregon's largest producers, King Estate is known both for terrific Pinot Gris—in various styles and at different prices—and its vast organic ranch, located southwest of Eugene, which includes gardens, orchards, a restaurant and wetlands. The basic ($10) flight in the lovely tasting room is likely to include both estate-grown wines and regional wines sourced from as afar away as Washington under the North by Northwest label. kingestate.com

15 of 20

Lemelson Vineyards

Lemelson Vineyards
Leslie Kossoff

Environmental lawyer Eric Lemelson's frame-barn winery conceals a high-tech, carefully thought-out facility for bringing out the natural nuances in his organically farmed grapes. The wines themselves—including well-priced Pinot Gris and Riesling—are the draw, but the design-magazine stone and oak building (including the sleek tasting room) in Carlton lend an extra charm. Closed mid-week. lemelsonvineyards.com

16 of 20

Ponzi

Ponzi
Andrea Johnson

Burgundy-trained Luisa Ponzi has taken over the keys to the cellar from her parents in this foundational winery, which sources most of its wines—including the flagship Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris— from its own, sustainably farmed, Chehalem Mountains vineyards. For visitors these days, Ponzi is something of a mini empire, with two tasting room locations, a wine bar and a bistro. The beautiful modern winery in Sherwood offers private tours by appointment, tableside service and bocce courts. ponziwines.com

17 of 20

Rex Hill

Rex Hill
John Valls

Rex Hill's esteemed roster of estate-grown wines are farmed biodynamically, and the line-up also includes offerings from top Oregon growers. Visitors have the opportunity to sample these wines in a variety of ways, up to a $65 "VIP" tour of the vineyard and winery and a tasting of matured wines paired with cheese. Call ahead for information about wine classes and tasting dinners. rexhill.com

18 of 20

Sokol Blosser

Sokol Blosser
Carolyn Wells-Kramer

This path-breaking Dundee Hills winery is now under the guidance of the second generation of Sokol Blossers, who opened a strikingly designed new cedar-lined Dundee tasting room in 2013. The line-up here includes the image-making Pinot Noir bottlings and the popular, affordable Evolution line. Standard tasting flights are $15, with a variety of customizable experiences available by prior appointment. sokolblosser.com

19 of 20

Soter Vineyards

Soter Vineyards
Carolyn Wells-Kramer

Tony Soter, long one of California's most respected winemakers and consultants, took his expertise north to found this small winery, one of America's benchmark producers of both Pinot Noir and sparkling wines, all in Soter's refined, nuanced style. The winery is open by advance appointment only, for semi-private, guided seated tastings ($25) and more extensive "Provisions" tastings ($65) including food grown on the estate. sotervineyards.com

20 of 20

Willamette Valley Vineyards

Willamette Valley Vineyards
Andrea Johnson

One of Oregon's largest producers—partly owned by thousands of small shareholders through an ongoing public offering—WVV occupies a fairy-tale site high on a vine-covered slope, and offers visitors to the Turner estate a range of tasting and dining experiences, including weekend wine pairing dinners prepared by the estate chef. If you'd prefer not to drive home afterward, you can book one of the estate's luxury suites. WVV also has two other tasting rooms, located in McMinnville and Forest Grove. wvv.com

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