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A Journey Through Oregon Wine Country

Spend 4 days sipping and savoring in the Willamette Valley

Photograph is of ripe Pinot Noir grapes in Willamette Valley

Intersection Photos / Alamy Stock Photo

Drink in beautiful sights — and delicious Pinot Noir — on this scenic loop through the Pacific Northwest.

Day 1: Portland to McMinnville (40 miles)

En español | The fast-growing Willamette Valley region now boasts more than 500 wineries and is billed as the world’s Pinot Noir capital, but it retains an appealing down-to-earth feel. Toast your trip with award-winning sparkling wine from Argyle Winery in Dundee, or join a “Farm & Forage” lunch with wine pairings and locally produced ingredients at Sokol Blosser Winery (reserve in advance). In McMinnville, visit The Eyrie Vineyards, where Willamette Pinot Noir was born.

Where to stay (2 nights): the century-old Hotel Oregon in downtown McMinnville, offering top-notch views from its Rooftop Bar. 

Airplanes at The Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum

George Rose / Getty Images

See everything from military helicopters to the Spruce Goose at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum.

Day 2: McMinnville

Prepare your palate with a pulled pork breakfast burrito sandwich at one of Community Plate’s communal tables before visiting one of the more than a dozen tasting rooms within walking distance of the restored downtown. You could also use the day to explore more nearby wineries, such as Yamhill Valley Vineyards, or visit Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum to take a gander at Howard Hughes’ wooden Spruce Goose. Dinner options include Nick’s Italian Café, a James Beard Award-winner with moderate prices and maybe the best minestrone soup you’ve ever tasted, then grab a treat at Serendipity Ice Cream. 

Wheatland Ferry transporting passengers

George Ostertag / Alamy Stock Photo

It's worth taking the Wheatland Ferry across the Willamette River for top notch Chardonnay and cheese.

Day 3: McMinnville to Newberg (57 miles)

Don’t leave town without a cup of fresh-roasted java at Flag & Wire Coffee Co., then bring your car on the Wheatland Ferry ($2 for cars, free for pedestrians) and it's just a few minutes' cruise across the Willamette River toward Salem. There, seek out crisp Chardonnays at Arcane Cellars at Wheatland Winery and award-winning Gouda and Havarti at Willamette Valley Cheese Company before heading north to the farm-dotted, rolling hills of Newberg. 

Where to stay: For a splurge, check out the luxury Allison Inn & Spa, where rooms overlook vineyards and have gas fireplaces.

Road leading to Vineyard with big trees and wine barrels

Getty Images

Pinot Noir grapes at one of the 500 vineyards that make this area heaven for wine lovers.

Day 4: Newberg to Portland (26 miles)

This area of the Willamette is particularly lovely: Sit on the porch of the tasting room at Raptor Ridge Winery and try to spy a soaring hawk or two. Twenty minutes away, at Trisaetum Tasting Room & Art Galley, admire or acquire abstract paintings by the winery co-founder as you sip. Before returning to Portland, about 45 minutes to the northeast, refuel at Ruddick/Wood, a casual restaurant/tavern housed in a converted garage in downtown Newberg.

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