Spend a 3 Day Weekend In Oregon Wine Country
Visiting Oregon Wine Country? Here’s your guide to wining and dining your way through a long weekend in the Willamette Valley.
The northern Willamette Valley is known the world over for its award-winning wines. It is, after all, where we first planted pinot noir in the 1960s. And it is where you’ll find hundreds of vineyards, tasting rooms, and bottle shops today.
As you enter the heart of Yamhill County, you’ll find nearly 400 wineries, from popular estates to small, boutique artisans such as WillaKenzie Estate. For a taste of multiple small-batch wines, visit Carlton Winemakers Studio; the unique setup provides space, equipment, and resources to more than a dozen local winemakers who use the shared studio to craft pinot noir, sparkling wines, dessert wines, and more. You can also stop by Erath Vineyards Winery, which planted its first grapes in 1969 and has become a pioneer of Oregon’s wine industry.
If you’re visiting in spring, summer, or early fall, stop at one of the area’s many U-Pick farms for your choice of blueberries, apples, zucchinis, and more; the Willamette Valley produces more than 170 crops each year, many of which show up on dinner plates and in wine glasses at destinations you’ll visit this weekend.
Fruit and veggies aren’t the only U-pick options. Fill your vases with aromatic treasures—like tulips from Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (typically available March-May), celebrate lavender all July in Newberg or take home colorful dahlias from Swan Island Dahlias (usually available August-September).
Curious about what else the region’s farms have to offer? Learn more about the self-guided farm loops in the northern Willamette Valley.
What’s for Dinner?
Yamhill County has become the culinary hot spot of Oregon’s wine country—the perfect destination for any foodie. Enjoy innovative, seasonal dishes in a charming Victorian setting at The Painted Lady Restaurant. Nick’s Italian Café in McMinnville is a legendary restaurant championed by winemakers and travelers alike. Enjoy Chef Nick Peirano’s handmade pasta and an extensive Oregon wine list. Or visit the Joel Palmer House in Dayton, where Chef Chris creates culinary works of art based on sustainable, regional ingredients—primarily wild mushrooms.
Lodging in Dundee and Dayton
You don’t have to venture to the hills of Tuscany for an Italian retreat. Centrally located in the Red Hills of Dundee, the opulent Black Walnut Inn is the perfect jumping-off point for the area’s numerous world-class wineries and wide range of activities. And just outside Dayton, three-dozen stylish, fully refurbished trailers await at The Vintages Trailer Resort.
Day 2 – Travel the Mid Willamette Valley
Enjoy a delicious breakfast your hotel or B&B—then if you are feeling the flowers, take a trip over to Silverton for a visit at the Oregon Garden – a stunning botanical garden encompassing over 80 acres and featuring more than 20 specialty gardens that showcase the diverse botanical beauty of the Willamette Valley and the Pacific Northwest.
Wine-Tasting in the Salem Area
From there, stop at Willamette Valley Vineyards for a bit of wine and lunch. For over two decades, the ground-breaking winery has produced some of the best wines Oregon has to offer. (Not for nothing, but the winery is also lauded for hosting one of the most beautiful fasting rooms in the Willamette Valley.) Afterward, wrap up your wine tour with a tasting flight at the Mexican-American family-owned Cória Estates to try a daily wine tasting, or see what’s new at Cubanisimo Vineyards.
History and a Carousel Ride in Albany, Lunch in Corvallis
After the vineyards, head to Albany, a community steeped in history. Immerse yourself in the past with a self-guided walking tour of Albany’s four historic districts and take a nostalgic ride on a creature at Albany’s Historic Carousel and Museum.
End your day in Corvallis, and enjoy classic pies, made with fresh ingredients, at the long-running American Dream Pizza (boasting two locations around town)—or get a taste of Asian fusion at Magenta Restaurant & Snugbar. Here dishes are influenced by the many different foods of Southeast Asia and incorporate wild, bold flavors while remaining simple and tasty. And if you can’t decide, stop by the Common Fields food truck pod at the southern edge of downtown Corvallis.
Stay in the heart of downtown at The Courtyard Corvallis or opt for more unique lodging like Donovan’s Guest House on a working Christmas tree farm or Leaping Lamb Farm Stay – where you’ll participate in first hand farm chores like collecting eggs and feeding little lambs.
Day 3 – South Willamette Valley Culture
If you get on the road early enough you can begin your morning in Oregon’s Emerald City with a hot cup of coffee or fresh juice and a visit to Sweet Life Patisserie, an artisan bakery serving specialty breads, pastries, cookies, and more using the Willamette Valley’s freshest produce.
Afternoon Activities and Dinner in Eugene
After your morning snack continue south on Highway 99W, passing countless farms and orchards, to Eugene—a cultural center at the southern edge of the Willamette Valley. There’s something for everyone here—from world-class arts to outdoor adventure. Taste some of the valley’s finest wine while enjoying spectacular views at King Estate Winery; this grand winery (one of several biodynamic wineries in the Willamette Valley) features 1,033 acres of organic vines, trees, produce and flowers. After tasting King Estate’s Pinot gris, savor an estate-grown meal in the winery’s restaurant (where reservations may be required).
Lodging in Eugene
You’re close to all the action when you spend a night at The Inn at the 5th, a boutique hotel that includes a relaxing day spa, fine dining, and more. The hotel is part of the historic Fifth Street Public Market, full of artisan shops, tasting rooms, and eclectic eateries where you can toast to a successful weekend in Oregon’s wine country.