Myron Redford blazed his own trails while learning to create world-class wines from Willamette Valley-grown grapes. After purchasing a vineyard in 1974, he spent the next two decades adopting innovative methods and pioneering new varietals. In addition to exploring low-sulfite wines and organically grown grapes before many of his peers, Myron also replaced all of his chardonnay vines with pinot blanc and forging wines with gamay noir, a little-used grape among American winemakers. This combination of intuition and experimentation established the winery's reputation for forging distinctive, Old World-style wines with a deft balance of crisp acidity, fine tannins, and rich fruit flavors.
Every year, 15 acres of estate-grown pinot noir, riesling, and pinot blanc ripen on Amity Vineyards' vines, and the head winemaker, Darcy Pendergrass, secures the rest of the grapes from vineyards throughout the northern Willamette Valley. After the tiny fairy on staff juices each individual berry with magic, the staff then allows the concoction to ferment and mature before siphoning the wine into bottles. Visitors can then sample these bottles from the comfort of a tasting room that overlooks the Oregon Coast Range.
Eight vineyards coax fermentation from grapes under the Seufert Winery umbrella, including the certified organic and sustainable Bishop Creek Vineyard, which grows blended pinot noirs in its rich, volcanic soil. A short jaunt up into the Chehalem Mountains reveals the sun-drenched vistas of Hawk’s View Vineyard, where the thin, crisp air and colder soil imbue grapes with floral and berry flavors and the temper of a mountain goat. From their octet of properties, the discerning palates at Seufert Winery’s urban-inspired warehouse collect the best vintages for guests to sample at tastings.
All 12 of the current-release wines—save a single vintage of dolcetto in its final year of production—derive their flavor and essence from the pinot grapes that thrive on the West Coast. The diverse soils of the region imbue distinct idiosyncrasies into the fruit’s ultimate flavor, which can help samplers understand the regional personalities of wines, such as the sweeter profile of those produced in colder climates and the frequent counseling required by those grown in Hollywood.
Past a covered gate, a dusty road rambles through row after row of heavy vines at Yamhill Valley Vineyards, leading back to the winery and rustic tasting room that overlooks the rolling hills. At the 150-acre estate in the foothills of Oregon’s Coast Range Mountains, Yamhill's viticulturists grow, produce, and bottle all of their own grapes. The vineyard’s specialty pinots comprise the majority of tasting flights, which can be sipped in the sunny tasting room or on the outdoor picnic area, complete with a deck.
In 1938, women ducked into the Knapp Family Restaurant carrying envelopes of cash. They weren’t looking for family-style eggs and hash, they were paying their gas bill. The restaurateur, Dwight Knapp, had unintentionally set up a second business by installing a propane pipeline underneath his eatery. His little business grew from supplying just a few neighbors to providing propane to the residents and businesses of nine markets in California and Oregon. Today, Blue Star Gas’s team of experts install and service tanks, fit pipes, and help convert cars or robot butlers to run on propane.
In nearby Willamette Valley, a prolific wine-tasting region famous for its production of world-class pinot noirs culled from sloping hillside vineyards, travelers can taste the fruits of family-owned boutique wineries and hip, metropolitan tasting rooms. North of the Estate, Lorane's handcrafted, exotic varietals, including late harvest wines, meads, and ports, dazzle oenophiles. To sip artisan reds, grape grapplers flock to historic downtown Carlton, where a restored 1915 creamery hosts intimate tastings. A 10-minute drive south transports visitors to Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, home to more than 200 aircraft and exhibits including the original Spruce Goose, constructed almost entirely of wood due to a wartime restriction on metals and a surplus of tongue depressors. After sating aviation-based curiosity, sightseers can slip down 10 waterslides in the educational water park, partake in interactive exhibits, or catch flicks at the six-story 3-D IMAX theater.
In 2001, Thane Hawkins, an avid outdoorsman with an acute case of wanderlust, found himself absconding from a lucrative career in the visual-effects industry to the Willamette Valley, where the area’s signature pinot noir inspired him to start handcrafting his own red wines. Relationships with regional growers soon followed, as did a job backing fellow winemaker Chris Lubberstedt, who encouraged Hawkins to conjure his own robust creations. Born from a passion for Rhone- and Bordeaux-style varietals, Hawkins’ 2009 syrah, pinot gris, and sangiovese wines have won gold and silver medals from the Newport Wine Competition.
An emphasis on honoring each wine’s true character anchors the cellar's philosophy, and Hawkins only uses fresh, plump grapes from northwestern vineyards. This unwavering devotion ensures swirls and sniffs in the winery’s brand-new tasting room yield distinctive aromas informed by each wine's individual terroir.