The Pacific Northwest has an international reputation for charming reds and one of the most beautiful places on Earth. From the blue mountains to striking deserts, Oregon has been producing wine since the first pioneers arrived in the region in the 1840s. Commercial production began in the 1960s and, since then, the state has grown a stunning selection of sumptuous Pinot Noirs and crisp Pinot Gris. Discover four of our favorite small wineries in the region that provide an amazing way to explore Oregon.
Sokol Blosser has prospered as a small family-owned and operated winery in Dundee Hills, Oregon. The original founders, Bill Blosser and Susan Sokol, planted their first vines in 1971 in the unique Dundee Hills. The long hours of summer sun but cool temperatures create the perfect conditions for the temperamental varietal that goes into pinot noir. In fact, the Dundee Hills have a remarkably similar climate to the traditional grape-growing region of Burgundy in France. Discover the similarities in intense flavor and the beautiful hillside vineyard for yourself. Sokol Blosser, now run by Alex and Alison Sokol Blosser, practices down-to-earth certified-organic farming. Even their packages are minimalist to reduce their impact on the environment. Visit their sleek tasting room overlooking the vineyard with rustic wooden panels but a modern style; tastings are available from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM daily.
Cherry Hill Winery
Cherry Hill occupies ninety acres of vines and orchards with sweeping views of the surrounding land from their estate in the Eola Hills. The owners, Mike and Jan Sweeney, spent years searching for the best pinot noirs from around the world—visiting France, California, and New Zealand before deciding that Oregon has the best terroir and climate for their perfect red. Cooling winds come in from the Pacific Ocean and guest across the gentle green hills astride the Willamette River. Not too cool and not too hot, you need to try a delicate pinot noir from this exceptional estate. While you’re there enjoying the view, you can also indulge in chocolate-covered cherries from the orchard nestled amongst the vines.
Quailhurst is an unusual winery for those who need a glass of wine in the finest of circumstances. The vineyards surround a luxurious estate graced with bubbling streams, a waterfall, and a garden. Visitors can sample a flight of wine with a “vertical” array of vintages, year after year, that offers enthusiasts a chance to explore the progression of the bottles as they age. Or you can explore the grounds, following a lacework of bridges over tranquil ponds from tasting room to outdoors venues for croquet. You can even watch dressage on the riding grounds, as the co-owner is an Olympian equestrian. Fine wine in fine company.
This family vineyard occupies just under ninety acres in the Willamette Valley, all naturally farmed and carefully managed to produce nine different Pinot Noirs and two Chardonnays. Their small batches of wine are hard to find, so you might want to pay a visit to the winery and sample a flight on the property and purchase a whole case on your way out. Their picturesque farmhouse harkens back to the founder John Bergstrom, who was born in a small village in Sweden. Seating tastings are limited so be sure to call ahead, but its’ worth the wait. These highly regarded wines are produced by Josh Bergstrom, John Bergstrom’s son, who was trained in viticulture in Burgundy before returning home to perfect their family legacy.