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"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?

5 Answers

top answer by
Melissia from Hillsboro (Oregon)

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. 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 for a burger in the bar and check out the gorgeous grounds.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Carlton (city)
  2. The Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg (hotel)
  3. McMenamins Hotel Oregon (attraction)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by

I was there Labor Day weekend of 2012.  Stayed in McMinnville (Oregon), 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.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. McMinnville (Oregon) (city)
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answered by
Michelle from Oregon

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 ( 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.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. McMinnville (Oregon) (city)
  2. McMenamins Hotel Oregon (attraction)
  3. Serendipity Ice Cream (attraction)
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answered by
Tiffany from Corvallis

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.

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  CarltonArgyle 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.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. McMenamins (attraction)
  2. Portland (city)
  3. Newberg (city)
  4. Carlton (city)
  5. Duck Pond Cellars (attraction)
  6. Ponzi Vineyards (attraction)
  7. Anne Amie Vineyards (attraction)
  8. Argyle Winery (attraction)
  9. Erath Vineyard & Winery (attraction)
2 thankscomments (3)

answered by
Amanda from Oregon

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)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Willamette Valley (region)
  2. Sweet Cheeks Winery (restaurant)
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