North Willamette Valley winery tour

This Forest-Grove-based tour features picturesque wineries, an authentic sake brewery and a lively lodge.

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    Starting from Portland, you’ll head west on Highway 26 for about 20 miles (32 km), then take Route 6 to Highway 47. Follow this road south to downtown Forest Grove, where the day begins at Maggie’s Buns. An excellent place to pad your stomach before you start sipping wine, this breakfast spot packs plenty into its menu, but don’t miss the namesake enormous, icing-laden cinnamon buns.

    With breakfast under your belt, it’s onward to the soft, rolling hills northwest of town, where there are plenty of family-owned wineries to choose from. Visit a couple of these spots before your next meal:

    At David Hill Vineyards & Winery, the views of the Coast Range rival wines like the 2012 Estate Pinot Gris, which earned a rating of 91 from Wine Enthusiast.

    To the north is Tualatin Estate Vineyards, one of the region’s oldest winemakers, which offers many varietals, including several full-bodied pinot noirs.

    Apollini Vineyards, further north and back on Route 6, also crafts pinot noir, as well as traditional Italian wines bursting with flavor.

    To the southwest, the 34-acre Shafer Vineyard Cellars serves French and German varietals in a relaxing tasting room. Also on-site, Miki’s Christmas Shop sells authentic German holiday souvenirs like music boxes and nutcrackers, which go great with their  Holiday Magic rosé blend.

    After sampling a couple of these wineries, head back to Forest Grove to Urban Decanter, where local-focused fare like cheese boards and panini pair perfectly with wine tasting and will fuel the second half of your day.

    After lunch, head over to SakéOne to sample a different type of local vintage. If you’ve only had the Japanese fermented rice beverage served warm in sushi bars, you’re in for a treat. The sakes made here are served chilled, like white wine, and pair surprisingly well with a range of foods – and cocktail mixers. Try a flight of craft Oregon sakes in the tasting room or tour the kura (brewery).

    Just south on the Tualatin Valley Highway you’ll find A Blooming Hill Vineyard. From their 2010 Mingle, a blend of pinot gris, chardonnay and Riesling, to acclaimed pinot noirs, this winery is racking up the ribbons.

    Montinore Estate, less than two miles south, features a tasting room that feels like a family room. From their gewürztraminer to their grape juice (a great substitute for cooking vinegars or cocktail mixers), there’s unique taste in every bottle sold here.

    About five miles east in Gaston, Plum Hill Vineyards greets visitors in a rustic country setting. This small, family-owned winery sells limited quantities of pinot noir and pinot gris, and the owners are often on hand to guide you through the nuances of their grapes.

    From there, it’s only a short drive north to McMenamins Grand Lodge, where the welcoming, whimsical hotel will tempt you to check in and take a nap immediately. But don’t give in, or else you’ll miss all the fun at this historic estate. If you’re compelled to burn some calories, the onsite disc golf course will keep you moving, or if you’re ready to get off your feet, cool your heels in the soaking pool. With four bars and the Ironwork Grill restaurant, there are plenty of settings to select from for a hearty dinner before settling into one of the lodge’s rooms for the night.


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