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Spend a 3-Day Weekend In Oregon Wine Country

Day 1: North Willamette Valley | Day 2: North Valley to Salem | Day 3: Salem and Beyond

Looking to sip and sample your way through Oregon Wine Country? You’re in luck: The Willamette Valley was named the 2016 Wine Region of the Year by Wine Enthusiast magazine and today boasts more than 700 wineries.

Plan the perfect wine weekend in Oregon Wine Country with this guide to wining and dining your way through the Willamette Valley—complete with recommended sip stops, memorable experiences, and overnight stays.

Start your weekend by arriving in the northern Willamette Valley—where communities like McMinnville, Newberg, Dundee, and Carlton produce and pour award-winning wines in scenic vineyards and cozy tasting rooms.

This is where the region’s first pinot noir grapes were planted in the 1960s—and decades later, the northern Willamette Valley remains a winemaking icon the world over.

Adelsheim Vineyard near Newberg / photo courtesy of Kent Derek Studio

First and foremost: If you’re new to wine, start with our beginner’s guide to wine tasting—complete with planning tips, insight on etiquette, and ideas for making the most of your time. Consider an outing with a local outfitter (like Black Tie Tours or First Nature Tours) for a guided, behind-the-scenes experience.

In the north Willamette Valley, you'll find nearly 400 wineries—from boutique artisans to expansive estates. For small-batch wines, The Carlton Winemakers Studio provides space, equipment, and resources to more than a dozen local winemakers who use the shared studio to craft pinot noir, sparkling wines, dessert wines, and more. Just outside Newberg, meanwhile, Adelsheim Vineyard has been crafting award-winning wines since 1971 and hosts a spacious estate that overlooks nearby vineyards.

For more inspiration, check out the Willamette Valley Wineries Association; there, you can search for tasting rooms and filter the results by a variety of offerings—such as whether they’re family-friendly or dog-friendly, host live music, and so forth.

Oregon Wine Country’s agriculture extends far beyond producing perfect grapes; farmers across the region produce more than 170 crops each year, many of which show up on dinner plates and in wine glasses at destinations you'll visit this weekend. Consider a stop for fresh fare at U-Pick farms, markets, and restaurants along the Willamette Valley’s farm loops and food trails.

For fresh, seasonal cuisine, treat yourself to a meal at some of our foodie-focused restaurants. The Joel Palmer House Restaurant creates culinary works of art based on sustainable, regional ingredients—primarily wild mushrooms—in the heart of Dayton. In Newberg, JORY showcases the bounty of the Willamette Valley through a rotating menu of seasonal, farm-to-table fare. And Humble Spirit, housed on Third Street in the heart of McMinnville, sources its sustainably grown ingredients from nearby farms.

Dinner at the Joel Palmer House Restaurant in Dayton

You don't have to venture to the hills of Tuscany for an Italian-inspired retreat. Centrally located just outside the community of Dundee, the opulent Black Walnut Inn sits surrounded by vineyards and provides the perfect jumping-off point for the area's world-class wineries.

If you're looking for a glamping adventure, try one of the three-dozen stylish, fully refurbished trailers at The Vintages Trailer Resort just outside Dayton—complete with fire pits, cruiser bikes, and an on-site market selling wine from local producers.

For a more upscale stay, book a night at The Dundee Hotel at the southern edge of its namesake community. Before retiring to a luxurious room or suite for the night, enjoy a nightcap at one of three on-site tasting rooms. 

Today’s travels take you just 30-45 minutes south to Salem—providing plenty of time to sip your way through even more acclaimed wineries en route to Oregon’s state capital.

Take Highway 99W south from the northern Willamette Valley for easy access to most of the region’s wineries. Along the way, the sustainably minded Left Coast Estate pours a handful of popular varietals in the midst of a stately oak grove and cooks wood-fired pizzas that are topped with local ingredients. Just off the highway, Eola Hills Legacy Estate Vineyard comprises a spacious patio, sweeping vineyard views, and several award-winning wines.

Once in Salem, stop into the ground-breaking Willamette Valley Vineyards—which produces some of the best wines Oregon has to offer and hosts one of the region’s most beautiful tasting rooms. Afterward, wrap up your day’s wine tour with a tasting flight at the Mexican-American family-owned Cória Estates—whose patio offers sunset views of the Oregon Coast Range to the west.

The estate at Willamette Valley Vineyards / Photo By Andrea Johnson

If you didn’t fill up on pizza at Left Coast Estate, treat yourself to lunch or dinner at laid-back eateries in Salem.

Taproot Lounge and Cafe dishes a wide range of vegetarian- and vegan-friendly pub grub in an upbeat environment, the hip Fork Forty Food Hall brings together a handful of food vendors and an on-site bar for a globetrotting culinary experience, and the Black-owned Epilogue Kitchen and Cocktails pairs a creative drinks list with elevated pub dishes (many of which are crafted with seasonal ingredients). 

Choose between a pair of hotels in Salem—one a classic overnight stay and the other (as of 2023) a new arrival on the local lodging scene.

The Grand Hotel in Salem sits on the site of a hotel that had welcomed guests since 1870; today, “The Grand” (as it’s most commonly known) hosts upscale rooms and suites within a short walk of several restaurants and nightlife spots in downtown. Nearby, the recently opened Holman Hotel (pictured) offers a chic experience with a variety of modern touches just a short walk from the banks of the Willamette River.

The Holman Hotel in Salem

Your long weekend in Oregon Wine Country comes to an end today—but the fun doesn’t have to. Whether you’re heading north toward Portland, driving east across the Cascade Range, flying home, or continuing south, here are a few ideas for making the most of your final day of wine tasting in the Willamette Valley.

Start your day with a hearty meal at Word of Mouth Neighborhood Bistro in Salem—dishing classic American breakfast fare (typically with fresh-baked, scratch-made bread, biscuits, and pancakes).

For a light lunch, try the quesadillas crafted with house-made Mexican cheeses at Don Froylan Creamery—or the Latin American-inspired food and drink menu at Xicha Brewing (boasting two locations around Salem).

Today’s winery suggestions are based entirely on your day’s plans:

Heading north? Get off the beaten path at St. Josef's Winery, which has been growing grapes in the area since 1978 and today hosts an Old World-styled winery. (For other ideas, learn more about wineries at the eastern edge of the Willamette Valley and in the foothills of Mount Hood.)

If you're heading east, it's hard not to be charmed by Pudding River Wine Cellars—which pours its wine in a converted barn that's surrounded by a manicured vineyard.

And if your travels take you south, consider a side trip to the wineries and tasting rooms of the southern Willamette Valley around Eugene. King Estate Winery is the largest biodynamic-certified vineyard in North America (and is among the region’s best biodynamic wineries), while the Oregon Wine LAB is an urban tasting room in Eugene that pours house-made wines and small-batch selections from boutique wineries across the region.

If you’re flying home, learn about Alaska Airlines and its Oregon Wine Flies Free program—which lets you register and check a case of wine for no charge.

Your adventure begins with the official Willamette Valley Travel Guide. Request your complimentary printed guide or download a digital guide today.

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