Portland: Side Trips

Willamette Valley Wine Country

A7JAPH Fog folls over pinot noir vineyard at Willakenzie Estate Oregon Fine Wine Stock / Alamy
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In 1965, a guy named David Lett, who had a nose for finding excellent grape-growing soil, planted the first Pinot Noir vine in the Dundee Hills, 28 miles southwest of Portland in the Willamette Valley. Lett started a small but potent revolution. The Dundee Hills are now where you'll find most of the old-school wineries that made a name for Oregon with their world class Pinot Noir. The countryside makes for a beautiful drive, but if you can't find someone to be the designated chauffeur, there are plenty of touring companies that will cart you around as you swill. And you'll want to swallow this stuff instead of spit, for sure.

The old-guard wineries, which have honed their visitor operations into an art form, include Sokol Blosser, Erath and Eyrie. But there are close to 30 vineyards and wineries in the area to pick from. Note: often the vineyards and tasting rooms are in separate places.

If you're looking for lunch to balance out your alcohol intake, casual Dundee Bistro, owned by the Ponzi wine family, is a good stop featuring local flavors and ingredients.

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