It’s no secret that the Pacific Northwest produces some of the world’s best wines — especially in the Willamette Valley, home to over 500 wineries, encompassing over two-thirds of the state’s wineries. The region is known as one of the best producers of pinot noir in the world, but there is no shortage of pinot gris, chardonnay, riesling, and cabernet sauvignon.
Let’s embark on a wine tasting tour throughout the Portland Metro and across the state line into Southwest Washington. We’ll even venture into Central Oregon, where you’ll find a couple of wineries using creative methods to produce wine in some more trying weather conditions.
While it’s hard to narrow down a list with hundreds of wineries, here are a few must-visit tasting rooms to add to your bucket list.
Ponzi Vineyards | Sherwood, OR
Photo Courtesy of Ponzi Vineyards
This renowned winery was founded in 1970 by the Ponzi family, who played an instrumental role in putting the Willamette Valley on the map as a world-class wine region. Today, the winery continues to move forward and set the standard for exceptional pinot noir, pinot gris and chardonnay. Just a short drive from Portland, the winery and modern tasting room overlook the Chehalem Mountains and surrounding vineyards. The tasting room boasts fireside seating, a covered terrace, bocce ball courts, and panoramic views. Sample their finest wines alongside carefully selected food pairings. Ponzi Vineyards is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with a final pour at 5:15 p.m.
Argyle Winery | Dundee, OR
Sparkling wine fanatics are most likely well aware of Argyle Winery, which has been recognized for their superb sparkling creations. In fact, Argyle is the only American winery to earn recognition in Wine Spectator’s “Top 100 Wines of the World” in three categories: red, white and sparkling. Sample all of the above at their ultra-modern tasting house located in a former hazelnut processing plant in Dundee. Choose from indoor and outdoor seating, and be sure to check out the Argyle Library, which holds an impressive collection of reserve wines dating back to Argyle’s first vintage from 1987. No matter where you are at Argyle, the airy and sustainable space is equally inspired as the wines they serve. The winery is open for tastings Mondays through Thursdays between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. and Fridays through Sundays between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The Eyrie Vineyards | McMinnville, OR
No list of wineries in Oregon is complete without mention of The Eyrie Vineyards, as many consider this boutique winery the pioneer of winemaking in the state. This winery near the heart of downtown McMinnville was established in 1966, just a year after viticulturist David Lett planted the country’s first pinot gris and produced the first pinot noir and chardonnay in the Willamette Valley. You could even argue that he established the artisanal spirit of winemaking in the state of Oregon. David’s son, Jason Lett, now harvests grapes from original vines planted over 50 years ago at the family vineyard. He has maintained the “gentle touch” winemaking method passed down from his father; this means picking grapes at an elusive point of maturity, where true varietal characteristics are at their peak — and before they become over-ripe. You can visit the Eyrie Vineyards winery and tasting room seven days a week between noon and 5 p.m. Reservations are appreciated for groups of six or more.
Sokol Blosser | Dayton, OR
Sokol Blosser is a family-run winery that has stood the test of time. The parents of siblings and co-presidents, Alex and Alison Sokol Blosser, planted their first vines in 1971 when there was no substantial wine industry in Oregon. Today, Sokol Blosser continues to develop and shape the growing industry, creating world-class wines produced with sustainable methods. Each wine reflects the distinct flavors of their 87-acre vineyard, and Sokol Blosser has become one of the best known wineries in the valley. The beautifully designed Scandinavian-style tasting room is open for tastings daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
REX HILL | Newberg, OR
For over 30 years, REX HILL has been crafting elegant pinot noirs using sustainable winemaking and farming practices. Taste the excellence of their small-lot, handcrafted wines, with a focus on pinot noirs and chardonnays. The rustic and cozy tasting room is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Opt for the current release flight, featuring a selection of hand-picked, hand-sorted, small-production current release wines, for $15 per person. Or try the reserve flight for a journey through vintage wines for $30 per person!
Domaine Drouhin | Dayton, OR
Embark on a journey to France with a visit to Domaine Drouhin, another renowned Willamette Valley winery that took inspiration from The Eyrie Vineyards. The Oregon estate was established in the late 1980s but the Drouhin family’s winemaking roots were planted in Burgundy a century earlier, when Joseph Drouhin moved from Chablis to Beaune and in 1880, founded Maison Joseph Drouhin. In 1957, third-generation winemaker Robert Drouhin first visited Oregon in 1961 and tasted Oregon wines in Paris and Burgundy in 1979 and 1980. It was then that he recognized that Oregon had the soil and climate to unlock the complexities and potential of pinot noir and chardonnay in the United States.
Today, the winery operates under the motto “French soul, Oregon soil” as they are employing methods to create a darker and earthier style of pinot noir than you will find elsewhere in the state. In fact, Domaine Drouhin is considered the closest you can get to French wine in Oregon! Taste for yourself with a visit to their beautifully appointed tasting room and expansive terrace, both of which are open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Currently, their tasting flight consists of five wines, including two chardonnays and three pinot noirs, for $20.
Domaine Serene | Dayton, OR
Photo Courtesy of Domaine Serene
Situated in an idyllic setting in the Willamette Valley, Domaine Serene is one of the most elegant and majestic wineries in the region. This family-run winery began nearly 30 years ago, when the Evenstad family settled in the Dundee Hills and invested in a 42-acre hilltop estate that is now home to Domaine Serene. The family spearheaded the luxury wine industry in Oregon, and today produces outstanding, award-winning pinot noirs and chardonnays. Domaine Serene produces wines from six individual vineyard estates, each offering a diversity of soils, clones, rootstocks, microclimates, slopes and elevations to add distinguished complexity and elegance to their wines. Visit this magnificent estate and tasting room, which is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Domaine Serene offers a variety of tasting experiences for different occasions, from a casual drop-in tasting to an exclusive, private tasting held in one of their caves.
Penner-Ash | Newberg, OR
In an often male-dominated industry, it is important to celebrate the many incredible female winemakers in our midst. Lynn Penner-Ash is the founding winemaker of Penner-Ash, which embodies the spirit and passion of a boutique producer. Lynn was the first female winemaker hired in the state almost 30 years ago when she started at Rex Hill Vineyards. In 1998, Lynn and her husband founded Penner-Ash Wine Cellars, which specializes in pinot noir, syrah, and riesling from the northern Willamette Valley. With a portfolio spanning the seven major AVAs of the valley, Penner-Ash sources from some of the region’s most distinguished vineyards, including the Shea Vineyard in Yamhill-Carlton, the Bramble Hill Vineyard in Ribbon Ridge, and the Zena Crown Vineyard in Eola-Amity. Lynn has been described as a master blender, skillfully working with each lot to bring forth the truest expression of a given vineyard site.
Experience the robust flavors of Penner-Ash wines at their tasting room, which is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Surrounded by estate vineyards, the sustainable gravity-flow winery seems to spring from the hillside, which allows stunning 360-degree views of the valley.
English Estate Winery | Vancouver, WA
Situated just east of downtown Vancouver, English Estate Winery is the city’s oldest winery dating back to 1903. Visit the historic 1915 red barn, which is where they crush, ferment, and finish all wines available for tasting. English Estate grows pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, Sémillon, and Gewürztraminer. Their wines are aromatic, simple, and reflect the unique characteristics of their distinguished terroir. Retreat to the cozy interior during colder months or relax on the sunny deck or on the lawn with beautiful views of surrounding scenery. Tasting is offered on Mondays and Thursdays from 4:30–7 p.m., Fridays from 12–6 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 12–6 p.m.
Heisen House Vineyards | Battle Ground, WA
Photo Courtesy of Heisen House Vineyards
Heisen House Vineyards specializes in small-scale, handcrafted wine and hard cider made in the traditional European style. Owner and winemaker Michele Bloomquist abides by a philosophy using minimal intervention, filtering or chemical additions. This translates to low-sulfite, vegan and unfiltered wines that are well worth experiencing! The vineyard rests on 15 acres in Battle Ground amongst towering evergreens and pastoral farmland. The property has a historic barn built by Alexander Heisen over 120 years ago, a turn-of-the-century Victorian-style home built by Alexander’s son in 1898, and a beautiful outdoor courtyard offering idyllic views. Heisen House Vineyards is open for tasting every Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 6 p.m.
Pomeroy Cellars | Yacolt, WA
Nestled in the beautiful Lucia Valley in Yacolt, the 677-acre Pomeroy Farm has been home to the Pomeroy family for over 100 years. The family has been making wine for generations and is proud to now share the tradition with their guests. This boutique winery and tasting room offered their first release in May 2014, consisting of less than 300 cases of 2012 red vintages and 2013 white vintages. Today, the Pomeroy family produces a wide selection of wines, ranging from cabernet sauvignon and merlot to sweeter whites like riesling, all made from Washington-grown grapes. Settle down with a glass in the 1920s-era tasting room or relax on the outdoor picnic tables between games of bocce. The Pomeroy Cellars tasting room is open Saturdays and Sundays from 12 to 5 p.m. during the winter (October 1–May 23) and on Fridays and Saturdays from 12 to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 12 to 5 p.m. during the summer (May 24–September 30).
Heathen Estate | Vancouver, WA
Photo Courtesy of Heathen Estate
Located in the rural countryside just northeast of Vancouver, Heathen Estate invites you to sample their unique blend of wines in an intimate setting. The winery offers tastings to suit every palate, whether you are a seasoned wine enthusiast or you are new to the world of wine. The historic layout of the estate creates an intimate setting for enjoying their wines, either in the cozy interior or out on the wrap-around porch. The tasting room at Heathen Estate is open on Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m., Saturdays from 12 to 7 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m.
Stavalaura Vineyard | Ridgefield, WA
Stavalaura Vineyard is a small-batch, family-owned and -operated vineyard and winery located just outside of Ridgefield. It all started back when owner and winemaker Joe Leadingham planted his first pinot noir vines in 2003 for his daughter’s high school horticulture project. And the rest is history! Over time, Joe began planting more vines on the family land, crafting wines from his harvest, sharing it with family and friends, and eventually went public with his wines. The winery still maintains a tight-knit family feel, creating a welcoming environment for guests. The tasting room at Stavalaura is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 to 5 p.m.
Faith, Hope & Charity Vineyards | Terrebonne, OR
Faith, Hope & Charity Vineyards is nestled on 312 acres between two ridges and a canyon in beautiful Terrebone, Oregon, just 14 miles from Smith Rock State Park. The tasting room and event center are surrounded by the stunning beauty of the winery’s namesake, the Three Sisters Mountain range, which was originally named Faith, Hope and Charity. Plus, the property hosts a 15-acre vineyard, a pond, a pristine event space, and even a few llamas!
The owners and winemakers of this relatively new operation worked tirelessly to cooperate with the dramatic temperature drops and unpredictable weather of this region, which results in a shorter growing season. Taste for yourself the exceptional wines the winery is producing, whether you stop by for a tasting or one of their special weekly events! The winery is open Sunday through Thursday from 12–5 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 12–9 p.m. Plus, they have live music at the vineyard every Friday and Saturday night from 6–9 p.m.
Maragas Winery | Culver, OR
Established in 1999, Maragas Winery is the founding winery and vineyard of Central Oregon. For nearly 20 years, this family-owned operation has been the most prominent vineyard in the region. Maragas Winery creates some of the most exceptional wines using sustainable methods and Old World winemaking techniques passed down through generations of the Maragas family. The winery is located in Culver, nestled between the beautiful rock formations of Smith Rock and seven peaks of the majestic Cascade Mountains. Visitors may relax on the Maragas Winery patio and lawn, soaking up the views while sipping on their excellent wines. The tasting room is open to guests daily during the summer from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. but remains open year-round (hours vary).
Looking for more wine options in the area? Check out our list of wineries, tasting rooms and wine bars in Central Oregon.
What must-visit wineries in the region would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!