|Shrimp and Stoneground Provolone Grits with King Estate Willamette Valley |
Pinot Gris at Oregon Electric Station - Photos by Dave Nershi
By Dave Nershi, CSW – Publisher
Willamette Valley is a slice of wine heaven nestled 30 miles south of Portland, Oregon. Oregon is the fourth largest producer of wine in the US. Most are small, family-run operations that produce less than 5,000 cases yearly.
The lush valley, is 150 miles long and 60 miles wide, and produces some of the best Pinot Noir in the world. Its agricultural bounty includes hazelnuts as well as hops for the burgeoning craft beer industry. Whether you are visiting Oregon Wine Country’s more than 500 wineries or taking in its other many attractions, we’ve got the scoop on where to stay and eat.
The good news is this scenic locale is overflowing with great lodging and dining options. There is something for every budget and every palate. Here are some top picks from our recent visit.
|Abbey Road Farm features silo sleeping accommodations|
You've Never Stayed Anywhere Like This Before
The five suites are in three recommissioned grain silos and feature foam topped beds, Jacuzzi tubs, luxurious bedding and ambient floor heating. Breakfast by innkeepers and chefs Eric Bartle and Sara Kundelius is sumptuous. Enjoy selections such as huckleberry pancakes, Porchetta and breakfast frittata – prepared beautifully in cozy surroundings with a scenic view.
|A salmon starter at Subterra in Newberg|
You can warm up your palates with small plates such as melted brie and maple bourbon fig jam and the devilishly good crispy pork belly confit with ginger pineapple relish.
Entrée choices includes cassoulet, the hearty French white bean stew, and Seafood Zarzuela. The wine list has ample variety to perfectly pair with each dish. Two selections we especially enjoyed were the 2017 Illahe Willamette Valley Gruner Veltliner and the 2014 Coeur de Terre Vineyard Heritage Reserve Pinot Noir, McMinnville.
Dining In Dundee
|Dundee Bistro spaghetti with halibut|
The Dundee Bistro is a gourmet delight that is part of the Ponzi family enterprise that includes Ponzi Vineyards. The bistro menu includes superb pasta dishes and acclaimed pizza as well as classic cocktails, microbrews, Italian coffee and an inspired wine list with an emphasis on local Pinot Noir.
Try the oyster of the day with apple and shallot mignonette sauce for starters with the 2017 Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Gris and finish with the Cascade Natural New York Steak and a hearty red. For a glass of wine with friends, try the adjoining FratelliPonzi Food & Wine Bar and browse the selection of artisan foods including the FratelliPonzi extra virgin olive oil from Michel and Rebecca Ponzi's estate in Italy overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
McMinnville Top Lodging Picks
|Youngberg Hill is a premier Willamette Valley destination|
The inn features nine luxuriously furnished guest rooms, many with panoramic views. The breakfast room and wrap around deck are ideal for watching the sun rise over the vineyards. Breakfast selections may include savory French toast or their famed salmon hash.
Quality is impressive with the Youngberg Hill wines. Don’t leave without picking up a bottle of the Aspen Chardonnay and Jordan Pinot Noir. The inn is convenient to 100 different wineries and tasting rooms in Willamette Valley.
|Luxurious accommodations at the Atticus Hotel|
An attractive dining option in downtown McMinnville is The Barberry. Located on “America’s Favorite Mainstreet,” the restaurant sources 95% of its ingredients locally. Its mission is to become the best restaurant on the West Coast and it’s the place to come whether you dress up or go casual.
|Elegant dining at The Barberry in McMinnville|
Eugene? You Bet
|Inn at the 5th is an urban resort in Eugene|
|A stylish omelette at Marché|
Whatever your plans, there’s a bounty of dining and lodging opportunities in Willamette Valley. For additional information, check the resources at the Willamette Valley Visitors Association.