With Memorial Day Weekend wine tasting at hand, we are bringing back a popular feature from 2011: Oregon wineries with great views.
Here we present 10 wineries, all within a day's reach of the Portland area, that great views and ambiance for picnicking.
Be sure to call ahead for hours, because special events sometimes can disrupt schedules.
Oh what view!
Look for a list of participating Willamette Valley wineries in Memorial Weekend in the Wine County May 23-25, 2015.
Árdíri: This winery outside Cornelius in Washington County, on the north side of Chehalem Mountain, has a perfect horseshoe bowl setting. Tree-covered slopes form the horseshoe's sides to the north and south, while a grassy hill connects them on the west. That leaves a wide opening pointed east, across acres of vines and, in the distance, a postcard view of snow-capped Mount Hood. The tasting room was designed for an outdoor experience, with twin window-filled garage doors that roll up to connect the outside with the indoor bar. Sit outside in the open, or under cover. If a chill is in the air, snuggle up to three permanent gas fire pits or the fireplace.
Árdíri Winery & Vineyards, 35040 S.W. Unger Road, Cornelius, 503-628-6060,ardiriwine.com, open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Sokol Blosser: Home to one of Oregon's longest established tasting rooms (dating to 1977), this winery in Yamhill County opened a new tasting room in 203. It draws a steady stream of visitors with its convenient location just a half mile off Oregon 99W west of Dundee. Situated on the lower part of the Dundee Hills, it lacks a hilltop view enjoyed by others on this list, but it overcomes that with what you see looking uphill: acres and acres of cultivated vines.
See more photos of Sokol Blosser at this post by Krystina Wentz-Graff of The Oregonian/OregonLive.com. And be sure to check back on Memorial Day weekend for reporter Molly Harbarger's upcoming story about the 50th anniversary of pinot noir in Oregon.
Sokol Blosser Winery, 5000 Sokol Blosser Lane, Dundee, 503-864-2282,sokolblosser.com, open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
Domaine Serene: The winery's Tuscan-style chateau that serves as a tasting and hospitality room has a hilltop setting on the west side of the Red Hills of Dundee in Yamhill County. The outdoor patio and landscaped grounds have commanding views of distant wine country. Yamhill-Carlton is to the west and the Eola-Amity Hills to the south. Observant viewers can spot the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville. This is one of Oregon's big event wineries, so call ahead to make sure it's OK to bring a picnic.
Domaine Serene, 6555 N.E. Hilltop Lane, Dayton, 503-864-4600, domaineserene.com, open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
Anne Amie: The magic of this setting is revealed as you drive the winery's approach road, which steepens just enough near the top of a small hill, north of Lafayette in Yamhill County, to offer a bucolic view to the west. There's nothing especially remarkable in the landscape, no snow-capped volcanoes or distant cities, but the pastoral setting is the ultimate in relaxation. Cattle graze on one side of the road, vines grow on the other. Planters hold colorful flowers next to the outdoor tables on the veranda, while the owner's collection of valuable art decorates the spacious and comfortable tasting room.
Anne Amie Vineyards, 6580 N.E. Mineral Springs Road, Carlton, 503-864-2991,anneamie.com, open 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. daily.
Penner-Ash: This is another Yamhill County winery whose location far surpasses expectations when you spot its name on the blue highway sign down in the valley. Perched just below the crest of a hill on the west edge of the Yamhill-Carlton wine area, the winery's near view takes in the Ribbon Ridge wine area. The distant view includes the upper slopes of Mount Hood and Mount Jefferson. Built in 2005 as an upscale event center, the elegant wood and glass building has ample indoor space as well as a slate-tiled outdoor terrace situated expressly for taking in the view. The solid-wood outdoor furniture lends the air that it's quite acceptable to linger.
Penner-Ash Wine Cellars, 15771 N.E. Ribbon Ridge Road, Newberg, 503-554-5545,pennerash.com, open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
WillaKenzie: The winery's new tasting room opened in 2011, a few steps north of the previous one. An outdoor terrace with plenty of seating takes up the space between. Umbrellas provide shade. Should you need a sturdier roof while sitting outdoors, head for the covered terrace that hangs off the north side of the new tasting room. This is another Yamhill County scene that is much prettier than it should be: no volcanoes, just vineyards, pastures and forests, all very serene.
WillaKenzie Estate Winery, 19143 N.E. Laughlin Road, Yamhill, 503-662-3280,willakenzie.com, open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (closes 4 p.m. November to April).
Bethel Heights: The Eola Hills northwest of Salem in Polk County are the legacy of a 10-mile long volcanic uplift, with a high point near 800 feet on their north and south ends. Between lies Bethel Heights' tasting room at 620 feet. The rolling, tree-covered terrain to either side accentuates the view of the valley in between. Looking across 70 acres of estate vineyards, you see a slice of the Salem-Keizer metro area in the middle distance and white-capped Mount Jefferson far away in the Cascades. The winery is a bit out of the way, but the view makes visitors linger at the picnic tables on the wooden deck just outside the tasting room.
Bethel Heights Vineyard, 6060 Bethel Heights Road N.W., Salem, 503-581-2262,bethelheights.com, open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday.
Cubanisimo: The tasting room's outdoor seating, at the top of West Salem's Eola Hills in Polk County, could be situated with a better view. But just a short walk toward the vineyard brings you to an opening to the east. The setting takes in a small piece of Salem and a big slice of the Cascades, including Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson and Three Fingered Jack. Another interesting view at the winery is of the Cuban flag flapping in the wind on the big flagpole, just below Old Glory. The owner and estate resident is proud of his Cuban heritage and carries an old Havana theme into the tasting room. A palm tree looks satisfied living on the outdoor patio.
Cubanisimo Vineyards, 1754 Best Road N.W., Salem, 503-588-1763,cubanisimovineyards.com, open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (March 1 to Dec. 21).
Willamette Valley: This is probably the most visible winery in Oregon, situated just east of Interstate 5, a few miles south of Salem in Marion County. The view of the middle Willamette Valley from the tasting room, the outside deck and the 65-foot-high lookout tower shows that Oregon's promised land is anything but a flat valley. Hills are everywhere, including some big ones. That's 4,097-foot Marys Peak on the southwest horizon. The winery opertes a restaurant but also allows picnicking.
Willamette Valley Vineyards, 8800 Enchanted Way S.E., Turner, 503-588-9463,wvv.com, open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Mt. Hood: Named for Oregon's iconic feature, this Hood River County winery better have nice views of Oregon's highest peak because of its name. And it does. The 5-year-old tasting room, designed with massive wood beams and floor-to-ceiling windows, was built to showcase the best face of the mountain, its snowy north side. When you walk to the other side of the outdoor patio, you get a good look at Mount Adams, too.
Mt. Hood Winery, 2882 Van Horn Drive, Hood River, 541-386-8333,mthoodwinery.com, open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (seasonal).
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