No journey to Oregon is complete without experiencing the majesty of Oregon Wine Country. As you travel to Oregon’s 7 Wonders, take time to taste world-renowned pinot noir and drink in the views at the state’s magnificent vineyards. Here are seven wonderful Willamette Valley vineyards with views you can’t afford to miss.

1. After visiting Crater Lake or the Oregon Coast, head to Eugene, where Sarver Winery’s view takes your eyes northeast over a 35-acre plot of 20,000 vines. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Mt. Jefferson. Planted in 1984, the vineyard has some of the original pinot noir and pinot gris vines in the South Willamette Valley. Wood-fired pizzas are available all weekend during the summer. Check Sarver’s calendar for special events like Sunday brunch and a Mallorcan paella feast.

2. Next, take scenic Territorial Road and Highway 99W north to Tyee Wine Cellars, located in the heart of the Willamette Valley on the Buchanan Family Century Farm. Tyee, an early Northwest word meaning “chief” or “best,” symbolizes the Buchanan family’s commitment to producing excellent estate wine to complement local cuisine. Wander Tyee’s nature trail, which winds through native woodlands and hazelnut orchards.

3. From Tyee, head east on highways 34 and 20 to the hills outside Sweet Home, where you’ll find Marks Ridge Winery, a delightful mountaintop retreat. Located at the base of the Cascade Mountain range, the winery invites visitors to taste wine while enjoying the view from 1,200 feet. In addition to the sweeping view, the winery offers pinot noir, riesling, and an incredibly luscious gewürztraminer with classic flavors of pear and spice. On summer weekends, visitors can listen to live music, including classical and acoustic.

4. After Marks Ridge, visitors can take Highway 20 east toward Smith Rock and the Painted Hills, or west back to Interstate 5 and north to Willamette Valley Vineyards. This pioneering Oregon vineyard is crowned by the tasting room and underground cellar, which sits atop a hill formed by an ancient volcanic flow. Take in panoramic views over the estate vineyard, across the valley and into the hills of the Coast Range. The spectacular tasting room includes a seasonally-inspired pairings menu prepared by the winery chef and cozy fireside dining. Tastings with a complimentary tour happen daily at 2 p.m.

5. Head westward out of Salem to the beautiful Eola Hills, home of Cherry Hill Winery  — named for the former cherry orchard on the winery site. Cherry Hill’s tasting room offers spectacular views of the vineyard and surrounding hills. Guests are welcome to stroll through the vineyard or relax on the patio with a glass of wine and chocolate-covered dried cherries — picked and produced by local growers to pair perfectly with Cherry Hill’s pinot noir. Visitors might also catch a glimpse of Daisy, the resident Papillon, whose likeness appears on bottles of estate pinot noir.

6. Make your way northwest along Highway 99W to the storied Dundee Hills of Oregon. Winter’s Hill Vineyard is a family-owned estate winery nestled in a 150-acre farm in the Dundee Hills. Tasting room visitors are almost always greeted by one of the owners, and tastings are conducted within the winery so visitors can see, smell and taste how Winter’s Hill wines are made. The vineyard is an official stop on the Willamette Valley Birding Trail, and after tasting, visitors are encouraged to picnic, stroll through the restored Oak savannah, and view birds and other wildlife.

7. Continue north to Quailhurst Vineyard Estate, home to both a boutique vineyard producing award-winning pinot noir as well as a world-class facility for the breeding and training of competitive dressage horses. As a tasting destination, Quailhurst offers an experience unlike any other. The tasting room overlooks an indoor arena where visitors can observe horse riding and training while sampling the wines. The estate boasts the largest private rose collection in the state; every row in the vineyard includes a rose bush. In addition, Quailhurst has a 5-acre Japanese garden complete with a bridge and four waterfalls, as well as panoramic views of Mt. Hood and the Cascade Mountain range.

After your final vineyard stop, say goodbye to Oregon Wine Country (if you can). It’s an easy drive northeast to Mt. Hood, the Columbia River Gorge and the rest of Oregon’s 7 Wonders.

About the Author: Jennifer Rouse

Jennifer Rouse relishes the chance to write about Oregon in her roles as project manager for the Willamette Valley Visitors Association and marketing specialist for the Albany Visitors Association. A fifth-generation Oregonian, Jennifer loves running, wandering through bookstores, and feasting on local wine and cheese. Alongside her husband and three daughters, she likes to explore hidden corners of the state via car, foot, bike and canoe.

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These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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  1. Barbara says…

    Great article. I have been to Winter’s Hill and loved the winery and the view! I now look forward to visiting the other gorgeous places that you mentioned.

    Written on May 7th, 2014 / Flag this Comment
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