Mountain top winery view in Oregon with 2 empty wine glasses.

Discover the Magic of Oregon Wine Country at 7 Boutique Wineries

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If you are a wine enthusiast looking for an adventure or simply seeking a new experience, open your favorite bottle and join this journey through the must-visit boutique wineries of Oregon wine country. 

Three wine glasses clinking together in a toast.
Three wine glasses clinking together in a toast. Photo credit: Unsplash.

Welcome to Oregon wine country

Nestled in the Pacific Northwest between Washington and California, Oregon is home to 23 different federally recognized American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). Stretching north to south between the coast and the Cascade range, each of these areas has its own microclimates, producing unique wines you can’t find anywhere else in the world. 

Pinot noir is the varietal most people think of when they think of Oregon wines, and for good reason, 59% of Oregon’s planted acres are Pinot noir. Pinot Gris and chardonnay come in a distant second and third, leaving literally hundreds of other varietals and blends to make up the rest. What’s the best way to explore these lesser-known wines? Boutique wineries. 

What is a boutique winery and why should I visit?

Simply put, a boutique winery is any winery that produces less than 10,000 cases (or 400 barrels). These are handcrafted, artisanal wines that typically embrace quality over quantity. The winemakers are more likely to be given free rein to embrace the natural flavor profiles of the grape in any given year, instead of molding the flavors to fit a buyer’s expectations. 

Oftentimes, boutique wineries are family owned and operated, and it shines through the experience you will find in their tasting rooms. You’ll have the opportunity to taste wines that you may not find anywhere else and to connect with the people who created them, learning about the history and culture of winemaking while you do it. As many of these tastings are privately hosted by the winemaker, they often require appointments in advance.

With the beautiful scenery and laid-back atmosphere in Oregon wine country, visiting a boutique winery can be a truly unforgettable experience. So grab a glass and dive into these seven tasting room destinations to jump-start your adventure.

Mountain top winery view in Oregon with 2 empty wine glasses.
Mountain top winery view in Oregon. Photo Credit: Renee Gardner

Boutique Wineries to Discover

Ruby Vineyard Located in Hillsboro, OR, Ruby Vineyard is an excellent place to sip on distinctive pinot noir, chardonnay, and rose of pinot gris. The atmosphere is laid back and cozy, and on a clear day, you can enjoy views of Mt. Hood from their tasting deck. While you may get lucky with a walk-in tasting, an appointment is your best bet as small tasting rooms can get crowded quickly. 

Hazelfern Vineyard  Located in Newberg, OR, Hazelfern Vineyards was founded in 2015 by a husband and wife team. The tasting room is warm and welcoming, and they offer patio tastings as well. They make a delicious array of pinot noirs, but their trousseau noir is truly a must-taste and tastes delicious with these pork chops. Appointments are required, no dogs, and no outside food. 

Casa S Winery and B&B Located in Dayton, OR, Casa S Winery is smaller than most, earning it the label of micro-boutique. They are a very small production winery that focuses on estate-grown, often single-block, pinot noirs. With everything being produced in such a small area you can definitely see how the weather impacts the production year over year. They offer in-depth tastings and tours by appointment only. They welcome outside food, so pack a picnic to enjoy while you are there.

Bells Up Winery Located in Newberg, OR, Bells Up Winery is another micro-boutique winery producing pinot noir, pinot blanc, syrah, cabernet, and seyval blanc, a unique white wine grape that is uncommon in Oregon wine country. Tastings at Bells Up are hosted by the winemaker himself, by appointment only. It’s a unique opportunity to learn about the process from grape to glass. 

A vineyard in wine country with clusters of purple grapes.
A vineyard in wine country with clusters of purple grapes. Photo Credit: Renee Gardner

Privé Vineyard Located in Newberg, OR, Privé makes ultra-premium pinot noir from some of the oldest vines in the Chehelem Mountain AVA using a “French-style” approach. In their portfolio, you’ll also find syrah, cab franc, and malbec, as well as a pinot noir port wine. Tastings are with the winemaker, by appointment only. 

The Pines 1852 Located in Hood River, OR, The Pines 1852 has been producing wine since 2001, but the vineyard has been growing grapes for over a century. Home to nine different varietals, all of which can be sampled in their downtown Hood River tasting room. After you decide which is your favorite, grab a bottle and head out back to the secret garden to relax and enjoy.

Catman Cellars Located in Newberg, OR, Catman Cellars is the only winery on this list that doesn’t have a designated tasting room, but they do host private tastings at their winery by appointment. They produce a wide variety of wines including sauvignon blanc, tempranillo, and sangiovese. Their barbera is a fan favorite that often sells out quickly and pairs great with a roast rack of lamb. If you can’t make it out to their winery, keep an eye out for them at the local summer markets throughout Portland and the surrounding areas. 

Renee N Gardner

Renee is the creative mastermind behind Renee Nicole’s Kitchen, a recipe blog based on seasonal ingredients, dedicated to helping home cooks build their kitchen confidence to become home chefs. When Renee isn’t writing, developing recipes, or photographing food, you’ll find her in the garden, traveling, or enjoying the outdoors with her husband, son, and two dogs. 

This article originally appeared on Food Drink Life.

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