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  • ""Can't miss" in Oregon Wine Country? Where's best base? Best time to go?"

Sara Santa

Bend, Oregon

"Can't miss" in Oregon Wine Country? Where's best base? Best time to go?

We're planning a trip to explore the best of Oregon's wine country and would appreciate any insider suggestions as to when is the least expensive and least crowded time to go, where to stay to maximize the experience and what we should be sure to do!  

It will be my boyfriend and I, less expensive is ideal, I prefer white wines but know this is red wine country!  Want to do as little driving as possible but understand that wineries are spread out....

Are there any festivals or events we should check out?

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  • Melissia Schulz

    top answer by

    Sara, check out McMenamins Hotel Oregon in McMinnville for an inexpensive place to stay. I would go in the fall months for the best weather and check out Carlton, Oregon . They have converted this small town into winery row. There is a great bakery called Carlton Bakery don't miss out on their French pastries. While there take a trip to the The Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg, Willamette Valley, Oregon Wine Country for a burger in the bar and check out the gorgeous grounds.

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    • Sara S.

      Sara S.

      Thanks Melissia, I was thinking the Hotel Oregon was probably the best bet. Thanks for the tips, we're getting excited!! · (0 likelikes)

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  • Lane Galloway

    answered by

    I was there Labor Day weekend of 2012. Stayed in McMinnville, which is a perfect spot. There are several tasting rooms in town, and you can visit a lot of wineries within a half hour drive. There was a lot of traffic going down (between Portland and McMinnville on 99W), but driving around over the weekend from one winery to another was easy, and there were no crowds. McMinnville has some decent, clean, inexpensive motels (mostly on the outskirts) and some nicer lodging with more character in town. An easy web search will find you any of the details you want.

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  • Michelle C

    answered by

    I would also recommend McMinnville (Oregon) as a home-base for exploring wine country. We shared photos of some great spots there on our blog (http://intentionaltravelers.com/2014/07/07/3-fantastic-day-trips-from-salem/) including McMenamins Hotel Oregon and Serendipity Ice Cream. This town is small enough to have tons of charm, large enough to have any amenities you need, and very central to the wineries.

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  • Tiffany Weber

    answered by

    McMenamins is classic Oregon and a great place, but it's in Portland which is 30-45 minutes from wine country (or more) depending on traffic, so if you want to keep driving to a minimum, I'd stay in Newberg which is central to over a hundred wineries in a relatively small area. My mom lives nearby, so I'm not an expert on local hotels, but check out this list for some ideas. http://willamettewines.com/plan-your-visit/where-to-stay/

    You will find good whites and some nice champagnes. Duck Pond Cellars has some nice light whites. Ponzi Vineyards has a wonderful tasting room with a great cheese/fruit plate, so we like to stop there for a lunch snack mid-tasting. I also love the Anne Amie Vineyards in Carlton . Argyle Winery and Erath Vineyard & Winery are both nice too.

    Truly, check out a wine map. There are enough wineries just in Carlton and Newberg alone to keep you very busy and it's a beautiful area.


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    • Sara S.

      Sara S.

      Thanks Tiffany! Melissia was referring to the Hotel Oregon in McMinnville so at least that's closer. I've looked at the wine maps but they are pretty general. It's just so helpful to have first-person recommendations. Thanks! · (1 likelikes)

    • Tiffany W.

      Tiffany W.

      That would be great then... sorry, I'd just seen the pin on the map for Portland and thought that was a bit far to drive. Let's change that pin @Trippy. :) · (1 likelikes)

    • Debbie L.

      Debbie L.

      Hey ladies, thanks for pointing this out. The team has fixed the spot in Melissia's answer! If you see something like this in the future, please do flag it for us by clicking on the "Feedback" link at the top of any page and we'll get it fixed! :) · (0 likelikes)

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    6. Anne Amie Vineyards (attraction)
    7. Carlton (city)
    8. Argyle Winery (attraction)
    9. Erath Vineyard & Winery (attraction)

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  • Amanda Lee

    answered by

    Depending on when you're trying to come out here I would suggest looking into the North Willamette Wine Trail in Willamette Valley. It's an event that usually takes place in April. You pay $45 for the 2 days and they give you a list of the 23 wineries that are participating in the event. You can go to as many wineries as you'd like. All of them will off wine tasting with pairings and some even have live music. I did it a couple years ago and it was a blast! One of the places we went to even let us try a couple wines they're trying to decide if they should start bottling! (My favorite place in Oregon though is Sweet Cheeks Winery which is near eugene)

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