Thanks to its long, dry summers and cool evenings, Oregon has become one of the largest wine producing regions in the United States. Throw in a thriving network of exciting wine pros, stunning vineyard scenery and over 500 historical and cutting-edge wineries, and you have yourself a brilliant wine-tasting trip. Around 60% of Oregon’s grape production is pinot noir, but, there’s also plenty of cabernet, riesling, chardonnay and sparkling wines to sample too. Here are 7 of the best wineries in Oregon.
Best wineries in Oregon
1. The Eyrie Vineyards, Dundee
Established in 1965, the Eyrie Vineyards really kick-started the wine industry in Oregon. Viticulturist David Lett was the first to plant the country’s pinot gris and bottled Willamette Valley’s first-ever pinot noir. It’s still a hands-on, family-run business — with a charming tasting room too. Set in 60-acres across five vineyards in Dundee AVA, it’s an enchanting place to sit back and learn all about the history of the region’s winemaking. Bottles are surprisingly affordable too.
2. Penner-Ash Wine Cellars, Newberg
Unlike most wineries, which tend to be male-dominated, Penner-Ash Wine Cellars is led by a woman. In fact, Lynn Penner-Ash was the first female winemaker to be hired in the state of Oregon, now almost 30 years ago. Nestled into the heart of Willamette Valley, Penner-Ash focusses on single vineyard bottles.
To visit, either book onto the signature tasting or the tour and tasting. Both offer a relaxed insight into the history and story of Penner-Ash sources, overlooking inspiring views of the rolling vineyards.
3. Argyle Winery, Dundee
Argyle Winery produces an excellent range of chardonnays and pinot noir, but what it really does best is sparkling wine. In fact, it put Willamette Valley on the map for it, using the methode champenoise which is about as close to Champagne as you can get. The winery is in downtown Dundee, a good starting point if you’re thinking about hitting up a few vineyards on your trip. Tastings take place in the beautiful original cellar building or out in the vineyard. It doesn’t get much better than sipping bubbles out on a pretty patio in the sunshine.
4. Atticus Wine, Yamhill
Atticus Wine is tucked away in Yamhill, known for its cool-climate wines. Compared with some of the sprawling wineries on this list, it’s very small, but it still produces some of the most distinctive wines in the region. Tastings take place in the beautiful hilltop house and offer a range of pinot noir wines. Plus, you’ll also get a delicious spread of cheese, cured meats and fresh fruit thrown in with it. The Orrego-Insley family run the tours themselves, so you’ll need to book in advance.
5. J.L.Kiff Vineyard, Carlton
Described as a ‘do it yourself’ winery, J.L Kiff Vineyard is more laid-back than most. Run by Joel and Laurie Kiff, the winery practices low-intervention, dry farming with very little mowing. Joel tends to the 9-acre farm himself and says he knows all 9000 vines personally. And, by the time they leave he knows most of his guests personally too. Tastings take place in the converted pole barn or on the porch in good weather. Located on a hillside not far from Carton, it’s a little off the beaten track — but it’s well worth the journey.
6. Montinore Estate, Portland
If you’re looking for bio-dynamic wines, you’re in for a treat at Montinore Estate. It’s one of the largest producers of certified bio-dynamic wine in the country. The winery is located in the hills of Forest Grove, in the Portland region, best-known for its cool-climate whites and robust reds. Step into the gorgeous tasting room and sip on a flight of their Italian-style reds and pinot noirs. There’s music every Sunday and guests are encouraged to bring along a picnic.
7. Carlton Wine Studios, Carlton
For something a little different to a lot of the wineries in Oregon, head to Carlton Wine Studios. The state-of-the-art tasting room is actually home to fourteen small producers who have banded together to create a cooperative. You can try a revolving selection of wines and learn all about the charming stories behind them – all in one place. All of the wineries share the same equipment to turn out delicious, high-quality pinot noirs, as well as sparkling wines and dessert wines. It’s eco-friendly and sustainability orientated too.