Have I told you about my new love affair with Pinot? (in addition to my husband of course) No, its not because of the movie Sideways that made it famous. There is something about the wine that is intriguing and delicious and makes me want to learn more. (Note: my friend Kristen and I also share a love for good red blends with Cab Franc). If you are interested in sampling some of the country’s finest Pinots north of Paso Robles, fall is a great time to visit Oregon Wine Country. The hillsides in Willamette Valley are ablaze in beautiful orange, yellow and red, and the drive is spectacular. Take the kids, or escape for a weekend retreat for just the two of you. You will want to fly into PDX airport and it is a short 45 min drive to Newberg. Here are a few tips for enjoying Willamette Valley in the fall:
Where to stay: The Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg, OR
The Allison Inn & Spa has to be one of my favorite hotels because of its beauty, great service and attention to detail. With beautiful guest rooms, a 15k foot spa, pool and award winning restaurants with cozy fireplaces, The Allison Inn & Spa is just about a year old and a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life outside the property. The Allison is central to most Newberg and Dundee wineries. Because the wineries are spread out, you will likely need a little help navigating where to go and scheduling appointments with smaller wineries. The Allison concierge Denise Seroyer is very knowledgeable and helped us map out our gameplan for the day and can arrange a car service if you intend to taste at several wineries. Check out our recent review of The Allison.
Don’t forget to try out the spa while you are at The Allison. The hotel’s attention to detail extends into the 15k foot spa where I enjoyed the hotel’s signature Mimosa Massage, using champagne oil and followed by their yummy signature mimosa. Many of the treatment rooms have their own windows with individual fountains so you can relax and gaze out the window after your treatment.
Where to Visit: Wineries
There are endless choices of wineries to visit in Willamette Valley, so don’t expect to see them all unless you’ve got a week or more to spend. Here are just a few of our favorites – a mix of our favorite wines, and fun and interesting tasting rooms.
Beau Freres: Open by appointment only and originally a pig farm, this winery was purchased in 1987 by Michael Etzel and his brother-in-law, Robert Parker and produces world-class Pinot Noir that is complex and delicious. We enjoyed a private tour of the vineyard and tasting from our very knowledgeable tasting and tour guide, Rebekah Bellingham.
Archery Summit: Wine Spectator called Archery Summit the “Rolls Royce” of Pinot Noirs. It produces great, big wines and has a handsome wine cave, tasting room and stunning patio that looks out over the vineyards on the hillsides.
Penner-Ash:This is a great place to stop for lunch. Penner-Ash has a variety of wines and you can set up a picnic outside on the picnic tables overlooking the vineyards.
The Four Graces: A small little house greets you with beautiful decor and a striking picture on the wall of the owners’ four girls walking hand-in-hand in the vineyard – the inspiration for the winery’s name, Four Graces. You can tell this is a wonderful-family centric winery. I especially enjoyed a glass of their Pinot Gris out on the back patio.
Where to Eat Good restaurants and food abound in Willamette Valley – here are some of our favorites:
Perfect Picnics: Pick up a picnic lunch to take with you on the road and grab a spot to sit at one of the wineries along the way. Perfect Picnics served us the most beautiful lunch sampler of cheeses, meats, bread and olives. A perfect lunch for sampling with great wine.
Dundee Bistro:The food here is divine and it is also very kid friendy. During the warmer days, you can sit outside on the patio, enjoy a good meal and let the kids play on the grass nearby.
Farm to Fork: Located in Dundee in the Inn at Red Hills, all menus are fresh daily, and the ingredients are locally sourced within 200 miles of Dundee. Enjoy the cozy restaurant or take gourmet meals to go. Join Farm to Fork for a Harvest Party on Saturday October 9th. A five-course meal created with produce from local gardens and local producers. Reservations required. Call 503-538-7970. $50/person excludes wine and gratuity. 15% of the food sales will be donated to SALUD. You can also bring in a bottle of wine in celebration and they will waive the corkage fee.
For a full list of events visit Willamete Valley Wineries. There are too many great wineries to mention here – drop us a comment, or let us know what is your favorite Willamette Valley winery? Happy Fall!
Note: HipTravelMama received a reduced rate on our room and a complementary massage, but was not required to write a review, or express any opinion about the hotel.