Picture a place where you can pull up a chair at a winemaker’s own table and sip wine from grapes harvested right outside the door. Imagine a meal crafted from ingredients that were still in the ground this morning. Envision a land of rolling hills, meandering roadways, historic towns and rushing rivers, framed east and west by forested mountains. This unforgettable spot has a name: the Willamette Valley.
This is a place that beckoned to pioneers of the past, who trekked 2,000 miles to put down roots in this verdant land. Today, the spirit of those stubborn dreamers lives on — at more than 250 wineries where winemakers craft award-winning Pinot Noir; at craft breweries, small distilleries and artisan fromageries where resident experts accept nothing less than the finest in food and drink; and out in the fields and forests and waterways that still beckon to daring souls.
Take your time in the Willamette Valley – it’s a place you’ll want to explore. Wander down a back road to a family-owned winery, and don’t be surprised if you learn that the server pouring your wine is also the vintner who made it. Two generations ago, visionaries reclaimed tumble-down orchards and neglected hillsides to plant grapes that took the wine world by storm. Today, award-winning wineries dot the valley, each with its own story. Sit back and savor a glass of world-renowned Pinot Noir while you look out over the vines that gave birth to the flavors in your glass.
The finest food and drink
If you ask where to find the best local food and drinks in the Willamette Valley, don’t be surprised if you get something more like a dissertation than a recommendation. We take “local” seriously here. Our craft brewers use home-grown hops and barley in their distinctive Oregon brews. Farmers nurture grass-fed beef and sun-soaked berries; foragers hunt for wild mushrooms; and our chefs take all this goodness and transform it into mouth-watering meals you won’t forget. Don’t just take our word for it, either. In Oregon Wine Country, not only can you visit our picturesque farms, you can also meet the growers, walk the fields and pick a basket of fresh produce to take home with you.
Don’t expect to sit still much when you’re in Oregon Wine Country – there are just too many different ways to explore. Try cycling between vineyards along the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway. Or immerse yourself in the very heart of the valley as you paddle the Willamette River, a nationally recognized water trail. Stop to smell the flowers, or count the birds, or study endangered butterflies, as you hike through protected natural wildlife areas. Feast your eyes on ancient forests, rugged mountain peaks and heart-stopping waterfalls.
It’s a varied land, a beautiful land, a land that’s been tended by generations of individuals who are passionate about preserving its distinctive character and spirit. Come and savor the Willamette Valley – it’s Oregon Wine Country.