Tucked away in the fertile hills of Oregon's Willamette Valley, Namaste Vineyards limits its harvests to only the most perfectly formed fruit in order to cater to the persnickety palette of any captious connoisseur. Parched patrons have a choice between any wine produced on the vineyard: chardonnay, riesling, gewurztraminer, and two different clones of pinot noir, one identical and one fraternal. Always working by hand, and only with estate-grown fruit, these expert vintners offer a selection of whites, such as the 2007 Serenity chardonnay ($15), which tranquilizes the taste buds with hints of pears, honey, golden delicious apples, and clove spice. For those who can't resist the beck and call of crimson inebriants, Namaste hosts a bevy of red wines including the 2009 Abundance pinot noir ($24), a lighter wine with traces of red cherries and raspberries. Easy online ordering allows imbibers to have small-batch potables delivered straight to their door, or to the door of a neighbor as a chilling reminder to keep his wild grapes off your lawn.
No strangers to the art of winemaking, the Wetzel family’s roots run deep into the vineyards that surround their winery. For four generations, they have crafted award-winning wines in Germany, and for the last 35, they have called Oregon home. Chateau Bianca Winery peeks out from the Willamette Valley, where pinot noir grapes flourish across the estate vineyards. These carefully cultivated grapes eventually fill bottles with varietals such as the 2009 Chateau Bianca Estate pinot blanc, a dry, clean-finishing wine that makes a refreshing apertif.
Guests visit the tasting room to sample some of Chateau Bianca’s wines, where each day a rotating selection of six bottles are uncorked for swirling and sipping. On days when the summer sun dapples the fields and shimmers playfully off Bacchus’s lampshade hat, sippers relax on the outdoor patio to enjoy a glass or share a bottle while looking out across rows of vines.
The accolades accorded several of LaVelle Vineyards' wines in the pages of Wine Enthusiast magazine serves as evidence of the diligent work of founder Doug LaVelle and his son, Matthew, who tends the vines today. After taking over the winery—then one of the oldest in Southern Willamette Valley—in 1994, Doug took it upon himself to make a number of improvements to its antiquated technology and distribution network. He started the wine club in 1995, and just recently started building a new wine bar in Springfield called the LaVelle Tap Room, which is scheduled to open in late October of 2013.
Doug's investments paid off. Today, with Matthew as lead winemaker, the winery ferments grapes both from its original Willamette Valley location and another site in the Columbia Valley in eastern Washington. The LaVelle Tap Room will have 30 wines from around the world, as well as several local beers on tap. And at the rustic Elmira winery, visitors can recline on the sunny deck, tour the winemaking facilities, or outsmart tipsy minotaurs in the garden's labyrinth.
At Walnut City WineWorks, staffers guide taste buds through the varied pours of two wine flights from fruit-begetting fields. Duos relax in the tasting room’s barrel-bedecked confines, sipping pours while watching the hustle and bustle of daily wine production through the observation windows. More than 10 wines, spanning seven in-house brands, grace the tasting room’s shelves, offering palates the chance to peruse new vintages and varietals, such as the complex, citrusy splashes of the 2007 viognier or the round, spicy tannins and hint of Mexican chocolate in the 2009 pinot noir. This Groupon also gifts purchasers 10% off of bottle purchases from Walnut City's selection of more than 30 different bottles and 15% off cases, letting day-trippers take a bit of the winery home without the hassle of carrying an entire door or the worries of being chased by the police.
Stoller Vineyards, located in Oregon's Willamette Valley, uniquely offers world class wines and genuine hospitality in a stunning setting. Enjoy panoramic views, ample outdoor space for relaxation and three guest homes available for rent while visiting North America's first Gold LEED certified winery.
Born into a winemaking family in Hungary, Josef immigrated to the United States in the late 1950s to pursue baking. After more than a decade, however, he cooked up a new idea. Together with his wife Lilli, he purchased a scenic plot of land in the Willamette Valley and planted his first grape vines in 1978—making St. Josef's one of the earliest wineries in Oregon. Even as his ambition grew, Josef never forgot his roots; his first varietals—namely, riesling, gewürztraminer, and pinot gris—harkened back to his youth in central Europe amid the Adriatic's glistening waves of chablis.
Today, the 40-acre winery—now by a third generation of Josef's family—produces bottles of crisp whites and earthy reds, filling at least 90 percent of each batch with grapes grown on the St. Josef's vineyard. Even as Oregon's wine industry has grown over the years, Portland Monthly praises the well-aged coziness of St. Josef's, saying they've “yet to find a better sipping spot” in all of Willamette Valley.