This article will provide you with a guide to the top five wineries/vineyards in the Pacific Northwest, including ideas for lodging and recommended wines.
Shea Wine Cellar. Founded by Dick and Deirdre Shea in 1996, Shea Wine Cellars is a Pacific Northwest winery that produces world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, all made from fruit grown on-site at Shea Vineyard. The 200-acre Pacific Northwest vineyard property is located in Oregon’s Yamhill-Carlton District and supplies fruit to some of Oregon’s and California’s finest wineries. www.sheawinecellars.com
Recommended wines: 2007 Homer Pinot Noir, 2007 Estate Pinot Noir, 2007 East Hill Pinot Noir
Lodgings: Abbey Road Farm, 10501 NE Abbey Rd. Rates are $195 to $225 for a double room, which includes a full breakfast. Abbey Road Farm is closed from December through February, and does not allow children. www.abbeyroadfarm.com
St. Innocent Winery. St. Innocent Winery was founded in May 1988 by Mark Vlossak, the current winemaker and president, and eight investors. This Pacific Northwest winery is located in Salem, Oregon, at the southeast corner of the Eola Hills, in the mid-Willamette valley. St. Innocent Winery produces handmade wines: seven single vineyard Pinot noirs and a blended Pinot noir called the Villages Cuvée, two Chardonnays, two Pinot gris, and a Pinot blanc. St. Innocent Winery is located at their new winery at Zenith Vineyard. They harvested the 2007 vintage at the new facility and the tasting room opened in February 2008.
The Pacific Northwest winery is open 11-4 from Tuesday-Sunday beginning May 1st through October, and weekends 11-4 from November through April. The vineyard is also open Memorial Day and Thanksgiving weekends, when they have their famous buffet. You may schedule a private tour and barrel tasting at other times by calling for an appointment. www.stinnocentwine.com
Recommended wines: Pinot Noir Winemakers Cuvee 07, Momtazi Vineyard Pinot Noir 06.
Lodgings: The Phoenix Grand Hotel in downtown Salem, Oregon is Willamette Valley’s newest premier hotel. The Phoenix Grand Hotel is conveniently located at the gateway of the Willamette Valley’s finest wineries and gardens. Room rates run from $139 – $209. www.phoenixgrandhotel.com
ROCO. The Owners/Winemakers are Roline Soles and Corby Stonebraker (ROline COrby, ROCO, get it?) The Soles’ small Pacific Northwest vineyard, Wits’ End Vineyard, is situated on the southern slopes of the Chehalem Mountain Range, approximately six miles from the small town of Newberg in Yamhill County. The vineyard is superbly located. In the winter the Chehalem Mountains protect the vineyard from the northeast Arctic winds, and in the summer the Dundee Hills (to the south) transition the Pacific Ocean winds into gentle afternoon breezes. rocowines.com
Recommended wines: 2005 ROCO Pinot Noir (Private Stash), ROCO 2006 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Lodgings: The Allison Inn and Spa. Oregon Wine Country’s first ever full service resort is the perfect place to spend the night after a blissful wine-tasting journey around the Willamette Valley’s acclaimed vineyards. The 85 deluxe guestrooms and suites each have a gas fireplace, original works of art, a soaking tub, custom-crafted furnishings, comfortable bay window seats, and views from a terrace or balcony that range from the truly spectacular to the simply sublime. 2525 Allison Lane, Newberg, Oregon. www.theallison.com. Rates: $300 – $550 per night.
Quilceda Creek. Founded by Alex and Jeanette Golitzin, Quilceda Creek Vineyard is dedicated exclusively to the production of world-class Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon. Founded in 1979, Quilceda Creek Vineyard has had an unbroken string of highly-rated vintages that has led Robert Parker Jr. to name it Washington State’s premier Cabernet Sauvignon producer. Quilceda Creek is a member of Champoux Vineyards, LLC. The vineyard is made up of 84 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, 16 acres of Chardonnay, 13 acres of Lemberger, 30 acres of Riesling, 7 acres of Muscat, 8 acres of Cabernet Franc, 2 acres of Syrah, and 10 acres of Merlot. Champoux Vineyard is located in Alderdale, just outside of Prosser, Washington. www.quilcedacreek.com
Recommended wines: 2006 Quilceda Creek Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 Quilceda Creek Columbia Valley Merlot
Lodgings: The Inn at Horse Heaven. 259 Merlot Dr, Prosser, WA 99350. Spacious guest rooms and easy access to all there is to do and see in the heart of Washington Wine Country. The Inn at Horse Heaven is located in Prosser, Washington, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Lower Yakima Valley and the multitude of famous wineries of the Washington Wine Country. www.bestwesternwashington.com
Brick House Vineyard. At Brick House Vineyard, “organically grown” is more than just a phrase on the labels of their wines. It commits this Pacific Northwest winery to the old ways. From their first planting in May of 1990 until today, they have relied on basics. All their fruit is estate grown, all of it is certified organic, and elemental sprays like sulfur combat disease. Fundamental farming controls weeds and shapes the hillsides beneath the vines. All the wines at this Pacific Northwest vineyard are produced and bottled by hand on their 40 acre farm. The winery at Brick House is open to the public Memorial Day and Thanksgiving weekends and by appointment the rest of the year. Brick House Vineyard is located at 18200 Lewis Rogers Lane, Newberg, Oregon. http://www.brickhousewines.com
Recommended wines: Les Dijonnais Pinot Noir 07, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2001
Lodgings: The Allison Inn and Spa – see above.