2023 Willamette Valley Ornament Hunt
here 1 LegacyPostID: numheaderimagerows: 1 LegacyFeaturedImage:

Your Guide for Wine Tasting Around Salem and Albany

By Matt Wastradowski

Head west from Salem, Oregon’s capital city, and the Willamette Valley gets quiet in a hurry. It’s not long before busy boulevards give way to country roads that glide through oak savannas, pass fruit orchards, and follow the banks of the Willamette River.

This region—largely buttressed by Salem (to the east), Independence (to the west), and Albany (to the south)—is unlike anywhere else in the Willamette Valley; it’s where wetlands butt up against vineyards, where tasting rooms overlook ancient forests of oak and pine, and where wineries offer a quiet respite all year long.

If your curiosity is piqued by this magical slice of the Willamette Valley, try a day of wine tasting around Salem and Albany—whether you visit at the height of summer or in the more laid-back winter months known as Cellar Season.

In all, more than a half-dozen wineries sit between Salem (in the north) and Albany (in the south)—mostly clustered around Interstate 5 and the Willamette River. We wouldn’t suggest trying to visit them all on a day trip, so here are a few highlights to provide a little inspiration and kick-start your planning.

Cória Estates: The Mexican-American, family-owned Cória Estates sits amid more than 100 acres of grape vines in South Salem. The popular tasting room pours rosé, pinot noir, riesling, and other fruit-inspired varietals on a spacious patio that affords sweeping sunset views beyond the nearby Oregon Coast Range.

The Estate Tasting Room from Willamette Valley Vineyards pairs its award-winning wines with expansive views from a large patio, bustling courtyard, and 65-foot-tall lookout tower. The winery planted its first grapes in 1983 and, several decades on, remains one of the most popular and most beautiful wineries in the Willamette Valley.

Sitting just north of Albany, Springhill Cellars Winery planted its first grapevines in 1978—and remains one of the region's most popular wineries after nearly 50 years. Open May-December, the winery offers a shady patio (flanked by cozy fire pits) where visitors can sample an ever-changing lineup of popular wines.

Wineries Around Salem and Albany

Getting excited? Get a feel for the vineyard experience with our beginner’s guide to wine tasting in the Willamette Valley, and learn more about the region with the Willamette Valley Wineries Association.

Since you can’t spend your whole day sipping mid-Willamette Valley wines, here are a few suggestions for enjoying your time away from the vineyard.

You can’t visit the wineries highlighted here without circling Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge—one of three national wildlife refuges in the Willamette Valley. If time allows, consider a short hike through the one-time dairy farm, which today hosts a variety of habitats that provide refuge for dusky Canada geese, pelicans, bald eagles, and other species of bird.

Grab a few picnic provisions and head west toward Highway 99W—where you'll find Sarah Helmick State Recreation Site. Oregon's oldest state park is home to a few picnic tables in the midst of a fir forest at a bend in the Little Luckiamute River. If you’re excited to explore the area further, check out our guide to a road trip along Highway 99W.

Stretch your legs with a short hike at Luckiamute State Natural Area, which offers a few footpaths and boat launches along the quiet Luckiamute River. Most notable is the park's West Pond, an old gravel pit that's home to Western pond turtles.

Extend your day trip to a wine-tasting weekend getaway. Here are a few suggestions for hotels to help you start planning:

The Independence Hotel: Sitting along the Willamette River at the western edge of downtown Independence, The Independence Hotel offers chic amenities (including river views from every room), an on-site restaurant specializing in farm-to-table fare, and a rooftop deck that’s home to a cozy fire pit and 360-degree views. The hotel also makes an excellent base camp for an epic cycling adventure.

The Holman Riverfront Park Hotel: At the southern edge of downtown Salem sits the city's newest overnight accommodation: The Holman Riverfront Park Hotel. The vibrant hotel hosts an on-site cocktail bar, modern amenities in each of its 127 rooms and suites, and floor-to-ceiling windows that let in plenty of natural light.

Phoenix Inn Suites Albany: At the southern edge of the region we've covered is the city of Albany. You'll find plenty of great stays in the area, but we're partial to Phoenix Inn Suites Albany—where travelers enjoy 93 spacious rooms, an indoor pool, and even free cookies in the lobby every evening.

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

©2023 Willamette Valley Visitors Association

Site by Drozian Webworks