Explore Oregon’s diverse and distinct wine growing AVA regions
Oregon isn’t a place you see as much as you “do” . . .
When a US winery wants to tell you the geographic pedigree of its wine, it uses a tag on its label called an Appellation of Origin. Appellations are defined either by political boundaries, such as the name of a county or state, or by federally-recognized growing regions called American Vinicultural Areas (AVA).
Our wine tasting tours are generally conducted within the Willamette Valley American Vinicultural Areas (AVA). We have chosen this area mainly to reduce travel time between your selected wineries so you can spend your time tasting wine to match your taste. However, there are many AVAs within Oregon, and after enjoying a tour with us in the Willamette Valley, you may want to travel to a more distant AVA. Special arrangements can be made with us, so do not hesitate to contact us for further details and pricing.
You can sight-see the beautiful coast, volcanic mountains, crystal-clear lakes and deserts that stretch as far as the eye can see. If you’re looking for world-class Pinots, some outstanding Chardonnay or superb Syrah, Oregon wineries are waiting for you.
With 18 approved wine growing regions and more than 720 wineries producing 72 varieties of grapes, Oregon is blessed with some of the most diverse and beautiful wine-growing landscapes in the world. From the bench lands soaring above the Columbia River Gorge to the Willamette Valley’s green, rolling hills to the deep valleys of Southern Oregon, there are some incredible sights to behold and some incredible wines to taste.
Known for making some of the world’s best Pinot Noir as well as a diversity of other cool-climate varieties, Willamette Valley wineries are dedicated to a personal, handcrafted approach to wine making. In addition to producing world-renowned wines, the wineries have set themselves apart through collaboration, sustainability leadership and passionate wine making.
Chehalem Mountains and Ribbon Ridge
The Chehalem Mountains and Ribbon Ridge are joined by a love of fine wine and the terrain, elevation and climate within the boundaries of a single geological miracle. From Parrett Mountain to the south, and running northwest across Bald Peak and Ribbon Ridge, the Chehalem Mountains region is known for rich, elegant and complex wines including benchmark Pinot Noir. With beautiful vineyards, eclectic tasting rooms, farm-to-table restaurants and other northwest cultural and recreational places of interest just a short drive from Portland, the Chehalem Mountains and Ribbon Ridge offer something for everyone.
Whether you are a first-time visitor or a connoisseur of Oregon wines, no visit is complete without spending some time in the Dundee Hills. With more than 30 wineries, including many of the founders of the Oregon wine community who established this region as a world-class area to make Pinot Noir, to the rising stars who have made their mark with stellar wines over the last decade, there is always something new to learn about the wines of the Dundee Hills.
Home to more than 1,500 acres of vineyard, this quarter century old wine growing region raises quality wine grapes for many of Oregon’s largest wineries. The east side of the Cascade Foothills is also home to more than a dozen boutique winery experiences. The family owned vineyards each provide their own unique environment in a touring region that has something for everyone.
The Eola-Amity Hills comprises a string of hills located nearly in the center of the Willamette Valley. These hills are coated with soils formed from ancient marine sediments, derived from massive primordial lava flows or deposited by post-glacial floods of biblical proportions. Warmed by Oregon’s long, dry summer growing season, the hills are now home to numerous vineyards and wineries producing premium wine grapes and wines that capture the unique terroirs of the Eola-Amity Hills region.
Heart of Willamette Wineries
The small, boutique wineries of located in the heart of the Willamette are friendly, family owned destinations that reflect the natural beauty and diversity of the Willamette Valley. Nestled in the foothills of the Coast Range and Mary’s Peak, the sustainable vineyards enjoy some of the most favorable grape growing conditions in the valley. The producers are dedicated to producing high quality wines at affordable prices making this a prime destination for wine lovers.
Due west of historic downtown McMinnville lie charming boutiques and urban wine tasting. It is here where the influences of a remarkable geological history and an ideal climate have combined to set the stage for winemakers to produce consistently world-class wines. Dotting the pastoral countryside, McMinnville wineries create unique flavor profiles in their wines created by the growing region. Many wineries are open daily for tasting and others gladly accept appointments.
Brought together by a deep passion for crafting the finest wines from the most fertile environment, the north Willamette Valley boasts a diverse and dedicated group. From small wineries that house their wine production facilities in rustic barns, to larger vineyards with modern state-of-the-art facilities, these wineries work together to support and advance this abundant and still-emerging wine region. And, just minutes from Portland at the northern edge of the Willamette Valley, the area provides visitors with an outstanding wine destination experience.
From urban wineries located in eclectic neighborhoods to rural wineries that grace the lush rolling hills, the bounties of the south Willamette Valley terroir are beautifully expressed through handcrafted, award winning wines.
Historically nourished by forestry and farming, this area is rapidly emerging as a global center of Pinot noir production. This pastoral corner of Oregon’s northern Willamette Valley was the final destination for many of the early Oregon Trail pioneers. It is now being revitalized by a new wave of pioneers: committed, passionate winegrowers drawn to the area’s unique set of growing conditions.
In 2007, a group of adventurous Central Oregonians gathered and asked the question, “Can we grow grapes in Central Oregon?” They came together with a shared desire to learn about the challenges and possibilities of growing grapes and making wine in Central Oregon. Come discover why the winegrowers in Central Oregon are saying, “yes you can.”
Touted as “America’s Most Unique Wine Region,” the Columbia Gorge is located less than an hour east of the Portland and straddles the mighty Columbia River – including the fertile soils of both Oregon and Washington. From Albariño to Zinfandel, the grapes and wines produced here include a spectacular selection of sweet whites and luscious reds grown against the dramatic backdrop of Mt. Hood.
Portland’s Urban Wineries
More than 15 wineries exist in the city of Portland. That means crushing grapes and making wine in Portland from grapes grown all over the Northwest. Many make wines from grapes such as Syrah, Tempranillo, Pinot blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, among others, as well as unique red and white wine blends. This urban winery culture means consumers can bike, bus, cab or even walk to visit tasting rooms to taste wines made within the city limits.
Surrounded by a vast collection of mountains, rivers and green forests, Southern Oregon has a diverse collection of wineries. In the past few decades, Southern Oregon wines have emerged onto the Oregon wine scene, garnering national and international attention.
The rugged mountain valleys and diverse climates allow for a wide variety of intensely flavored wine grapes to be grown. From Pinot noir and Chardonnay, to Tempranillo and Viognier, Southern Oregon is one of the most diverse winegrowing regions in the world. Many of these wines are only available at the winery or have very limited distribution, so be sure to take some home to share your discovery of Southern Oregon wines with friends and family.
The complex topography of the Umpqua Valley, coupled with the rich diversity of landscapes and climates, provides a wide range of conditions needed to produce an exciting array of grape varieties. The Umpqua Valley AVA is bordered to the East by the Cascade Mountains and the West by the Coastal Mountain Range; the valley is cooled by Pacific breezes flowing along the Umpqua River. The cooler valleys allow varieties such as Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris to flourish while the warmer valleys produce outstanding Syrah and Grenache. The region’s unrivaled natural beauty, thunderous waterfalls, covered bridges, wildlife viewpoints, as well as the warm hospitality of the locals provides an idyllic destination. Vineyards are mostly found below 1,000 feet.
Life slows a pace or two in the picturesque Applegate Valley. Small wineries with big wines can be found all along the meandering roads and rivers. Come meet the grape growers; step into their vineyards and share a glass of wine. If you haven’t visited the Applegate Wine Trail, then you haven’t truly experienced southern Oregon wine country.
Walla Walla Valley
Walla Walla is a valley unlike any other. Somewhere near the crossroads of textbook terroir and superior craftsmanship sits an approachable, welcoming valley. A place where working the land demands patience and commands respect, but rewards hard work and dedication with a finished product unlike any other.
The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater
Nested within the Walla Walla Valley AVA, The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater resides entirely on the Oregon side of the Valley and is the only AVA in the U.S. whose boundaries have been fixed by a single soil series (Freewater Series) and a single land form (alluvial fan). The soil’s ubiquitous pebbles and cobblestones radiate daytime heat and contribute to distinct wines of place, particularly Syrah and Cabernet.