Oregon Wine Country Blog


Early Harvest for Yamhill County

September 21, 2016 | Becca Barnhart

It is hard to find a place as beautiful as Oregon’s Willamette Valley during grape harvest.  Our warm summer contributed to a moderate growing season followed by another early harvest. While we love our rain it can be tricky when it comes during harvest; knowing when to pick the grapes for their optimal ripeness in that vintage is essential.

Grapes that are picked early can be more acidic and have less ripe fruit flavors. (Think of Granny Smith apples compared to ripe raspberries).  Most winegrowers look for that perfect balance of acid to sugar ratios. When grapes are allowed to ripen fully they taste more luscious. Rain can interrupt this process.

In Oregon the weather can also vary dramatically from year to year between warm and cool vintages. Warm years tend to have more luscious fruit characteristics while cooler years have more structure and complexity of flavors and tend to age longer.

2016 is shaping up to be a good year for both quantity and quality of grapes in our region. Harvest began early for many wineries in August and will be likely wrapping up in late September or October. While a little rain won’t ruin the grapes, it can make it difficult for them to ripen properly and if there is too much rain then you run the risk of developing mold which can damage the grapes.

Most winegrowers and winemakers would agree that the best wines are made in the vineyards. The longer the grapes can ripen on the vine the better the quality of the wine.  Many winemakers prefer to let the grapes express their natural fruit and terroir characteristics without too much manipulation of flavors during the winemaking process.

Depending on how hot it is during harvest some winemakers choose to pick grapes while it is still cool, often before daylight to preserve the flavors in the fruit. Once the grapes are picked, either by machine or by hand, they are brought to the production facility where they are sorted and pressed into wine. The skin stays in contact with the juice to impart flavor and color to the wine. Depending on how robust or delicate the finished wine will be, the skin contact time varies.


A load of Pinot Gris grapes for processing at Duck Pond Cellars

After separating the skins from the juice, the wine is placed in tanks or barrels to continue the aging process. Wine can be aged in stainless steel or other neutral (flavor) tanks or barrels. Oak barrels are used to impart flavors to the wine and are used in combination to achieve the perfect flavor balance.

Winemaking is part science, part art and a bit of magic. When you drink Oregon wine we hope you will experience the magic of our beautiful wine country.

Fall into the Heart of the Willamette Valley

September 9, 2016 | Becca Barnhart


Fall has arrived, and luckily it is one of the best times of year to visit Corvallis, OR. Corvallis’ beauty makes for a stunning backdrop as Oregon State University students rush off to new classes. And several festivals, shows and events for all ages keep locals and visitors busy throughout the fall season.

Don’t miss the 44th Annual Corvallis Fall Festival on September 24-25 at beautiful Central Park, just off OSU’s campus. Find treasures at over 160 artisan and craft booths, while listening to live music and enjoying local food. Come be prepared to dance – Saturday evening features “Belly Full of Bob” a Bob Marley tribute band.

The last weekend in September and the first weekend in October Corvallis’ Majestic Theater will present “The Full Monty” the Broadway musical on Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees.

Not a planner? Trek out on a scenic drive and take in all the spectacular fall colors on your way to a local wineries for wine tasting. or one of our six local breweries, cideries or distilleries. Sip on fall inspired beverages while enjoying a wonderful hearty lunch or dinner. Corvallis Beer week, Sept 6-11th, features fantastic craft beer events and a huge variety of tastings and promotions including paired dinners, live music events, tap takeovers, and so much more.


The kids will love local hay rides at Davis Family Farm right off Highway 20. Find plenty of other fall activities on area farms and nursery’s in and around town at www.visitcorvallis.com

Savor Summer in Oregon’s Wine Country

August 3, 2016 | Becca Barnhart
The Oregon Garden1_courtesy of Oregon Garden

When the summer sun offers longer and warmer days, it’s time to explore all that Oregon’s Wine Country has to offer. Venture through Willamette Valley’s world-class wine region this summer, and you’ll find outdoor gems and agricultural bounty wherever you travel. Try two new wine and garden tours in the Salem area, or venture south and you’re bound to run into one of the valley’s famous summer festivals. Read on and find all the ways you can enjoy Oregon’s Wine Country all summer long.

Experience Salem’s world-class wine region, outdoor gems and agricultural bounty via two new tours. Starting this summer, visitors can hop aboard one of Grayline’s park coaches and head off for an unforgettable experience in Mid-Willamette Valley wine country!

Willamette Valley Vineyards_courtesy of WVVThe Wineries of the Valley Tour includes a visit and tasting flight at three wineries in Salem area. During the 5-hour tour a guide will provide narration and a no-host lunch stop at Willamette Valley Vineyards. Learn More.

The Silver Falls & The Oregon Garden Tour makes stops at E.Z. Orchards Farm Market, The Oregon Garden, and Silver Falls State Park. This five-hour tour also includes a no-host lunch stop at historic Silver Falls Lodge. Learn More.

Mount Hood’s Magical Soils Give Life to Dazzling Dahlias

The fertile soil of the Willamette Valley is world-renowned for its wine-growing capabilities, but it’s also home to many other wonderful products too, including a dazzling dahlias.

Forty-acres of dalhias are open to the public each blooming season starting August 1, 2016. And you won’t want to miss the largest display put on by one grower anywhere in the country, the Annual Dahlia Festival on Aug. 27-29 and Sept. 3-5, 2016.

Find more agritourism events at MtHoodTerritory.com.

Pinot Bingo passort and prizes courtesy of Eugene, Cascades & CoExplore Eugene’s Urban Wineries & Territorial Wine Trail with Pinot Bingo

Need a fresh take on tasting this summer? Grab a passport and play Pinot Bingo at Eugene area wineries and explore the flavors of the Southern Willamette Valley.

Check out all the urban wineries that offer a unique twist on the delicious Pinot the Willamette Valley is known for. And when you’re ready to see the countryside, head to the Territorial Wine Trail that 17 Southern Willamette wineries call home.

Learn more about Pinot Bingo, including where to score your passport and prizes.

summertime-at-thyme-garden-corvallis-or jpgSummertime at The Thyme Garden

If you haven’t already, take a day this summer to visit The Thyme Garden, an 80-acre family-owned farm, specializing in collecting new and unusual varieties of herbs and displaying them for all to see and enjoy.

Luncheons are available and include a walking tour of the property and a visit to the onsite stream restoration project that aims to help threatened Coho Salmon.

Come on a weekend and enjoy a picnic lunch in the garden followed by an afternoon spent on the walking the paths and taking in the 92-bed display garden.

Learn more about The Thyme Garden and experience it for yourself.

Oregon Lavendar FestivalCelebration Lavender and Art at the Willamette Valley Lavender Festival

Newberg, OR will be filled with scents of lavender July 9 – 10, 2016 when growers from all over Oregon come together to celebrate the sweet-smelling plant and all its benefits.

Join in as local businesses offer lavender-themed products ranging from soaps to accessories. Try lavender beer or wine as you enjoy the live music by an exciting lineup of artists. Plus, plan a visit to a local lavender farm to see their process up close and personal.

Learn more about the Willamette Valley Lavender Festival.

Oregon Holiday Traditions

December 8, 2015 | Becca Barnhart
Magic at the Mill by Ron Cooper

Celebrate the season in Oregon Wine Country

Make this year the year you experience a wine country Christmas! Here are some of our favorite ways to make memories in the Willamette Valley.

See Holiday Lights | The Willamette Valley glows big and bright during December with spectacular light displays

200 px Pastega Christmas Lights

  • Celebrating its 15th year, Magic at the Mill — held at the historic Willamette Heritage Center — features thousands of twinkling lights, children’s activities, live music, seasonal treats, blacksmith demonstrations and more, December 19-23.
  • In only its third year but quickly gaining a reputation as one of Oregon’s best traditions, is Christmas at the Garden at The Oregon Garden. Enjoy a forest lit with more than 400,000 twinkling lights, plus an authentic German holiday market, firepits and new this year: an ice skating rink! Christmas at the Garden continues through January 3.
  • Generations of Oregonians have been enchanted by Corvallis’ winter wonderland, the Pastega Lights. Created by longtime resident Mario Pastega, the Pastega Lights are a beloved community tradition, now in their 34th year. Drive through the light display slowly and drink in scenes depicting favorite Christmas characters, thousands of twinkling lights, and festive music, 5-10 p.m. every night through Dec. 25 at the Benton County Fairgrounds.

Cut your own Christmas tree | Visit a friendly tree farm in the nation’s top Christmas tree growing region

200 px MtHoodChristmasTrees

  • Did you know Oregon is the largest producer of Christmas Trees in the U.S.? And Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory has dozens of family-friendly Christmas tree farms to visit for tree-hunting. Choose that extra special tree from a local grower.
  • Enjoy a leisurely afternoon drive along lovely country roads to pick your fave, then hop onto a hayride to the field, decorate Christmas cookies or build your own wreath for extra photo opps and holiday fun.

Tour holiday homesExperience the sights and sounds of a Victorian Christmas 

200 px HIstoric Home Tour Ride by JM Knoher

  • The Christmas Parlour Tour is one of Oregon’s prettiest holiday traditions. Guests get a rare chance to tour inside beautiful Victorian homes and historic buildings, all decked out for the holiday season.
  • Held the second Sunday of December each year in historic Albany, Oregon, the Parlour Tour includes rides on a horse-drawn wagon and a vintage trolley, as well as entertainment and light refreshment at stops along the way. The 2015 tour is Sunday, Dec. 13 from 2-7 p.m.

Toast the season | Wineries are merry and bright with holiday wine tasting

200 px White Rose Winery at Christmas via Dundee Hills Winegrowers

  • Deck the Hills is an annual celebration of holiday spirit from the Dundee Hills Winegrowers Association in Oregon’s Yamhill Valley.
  • More then two dozen wineries, restaurants, and businesses participate, with special events, tastings, and decorations.


 See your favorite showHead out on the town for a live performance of a holiday favorite

200 px Ballet Fantastique by Greg Burns

  • After the show, bring your ticket stub and walk to one of downtown Eugene’s many breweries, boutiques and restaurants. The Show Your Ticket and Save promotion earns you discounts at dozens of local businesses.

Want to make a weekend of it? Explore our interactive travel planner to find wineries, hotels, B&Bs and restaurants throughout the Willamette Valley, and make memories with a holiday trip to Oregon Wine Country.

Wine Country Thanksgiving

November 3, 2015 | Becca Barnhart

Celebrate harvest with Oregon’s winemakers.

No epic meal is complete without a bottle of great wine to accompany it. So maybe it’s fitting that in the Willamette Valley, we tend to get very excited about Thanksgiving. Oregon’s winemakers throw open their doors in a major way every November to celebrate another successful harvest season. For the 2015 Wine Country Thanksgiving, there are hundreds of special tastings and parties happening the last two weekends in November.  Keep reading for our top picks and tips on planning a Thanksgiving wine country trip.

North Willamette Valley

Experience the pairing of wine and art at Beckham Estate Vineyard for a unique Thanksgiving tasting experience.

Explore wine + art with winemaker Andrew Beckham

Explore wine + art with winemaker Andrew Beckham

Winemaker Andrew Beckham is also a potter who is bringing back the centuries-old tradition of storing wine in terra cotta amphora. Taste their hand-crafted, estate grown wines paired with local bites, in their  intimate tasting room and ceramic gallery. Nov. 21-22 and 27-29.

Visit a brand-new winery this November: Domaine Divio, the personal project of fourth-generation Burgundian vintner Bruno Corneaux, will host a grand opening celebration the weekend before Thanksgiving. Tour the cozy, just-completed tasting room outside Newberg and taste the inaugural Domaine Divio 2012 Pinot Noir, from 2-5 p.m. on Nov. 21.

Get a head start on holiday shopping with the case sale and holiday open house at Duck Pond Cellars. Special prices, gourmet food products, and high-quality stemware, plus wine tasting and light bites.

Celebrate the holiday with bubbles at Argyle Winery, known for its world-class methode champenoise sparkling wines, as well as Chardonnay and Pinot noir. Argyle’s brand-new Tasting House facility just opened its doors this summer. Sign up for small group sessions to learn more about the Argyle story, preview holiday gift packages, and get light hors d’oeuvres and a wine glass (while supplies last). Nov. 27-29.

 Central Willamette Valley

In the Salem area, head to Redhawk Vineyard & Winery for their popular Before & After Thanksgiving Celebrations (Nov. 21, 22 and 27, 28, 29) which featured wine and barrel tastings, live music, holiday deals and food, including owner Betty Pataccoli’s famous butternut squash soup.

Beautiful views at Airlie Winery

Beautiful views at Airlie Winery

For a laid back Thanksgiving wine touring experience, visit the wineries on the East Valley Winery Tour. These small, family-owned wineries are a little off the beaten path but worth the visit for their award-winning, small batch wines.

Taste 12 different wines at Airlie Winery’s open house, (Nov. 21-22, 27-29) including the just-released 2012 Pinot Noir, the 2013 Marechal Foch, and Airlie’s first ever semi-sparkling Riesling.

In the mood for dancing? Visit Springhill Cellars‘ 25th annual Federweisser Festival Nov. 18-30. This German-inspired weekend-long harvest party celebrates Federweisser, a fresh-pressed German-style wine, and winds up with a old-fashioned barn dance.

Warm up with hearty chili and homemade bread,  fresh-baked by winemakers Jay and Janet Westly at one of two holiday open houses at Marks Ridge Winery (Nov. 21-22 and Nov. 28-29). Enjoy new wine releases and outstanding views at their hilltop winery east of Albany.

South Willamette Valley

Celebrate Thanksgiving on the Territorial Wine Trail this year; it’s an incredibly scenic tasting route.

Silvan Ridge on the Territorial Wine Trail

Silvan Ridge on the Territorial Wine Trail

The Territorial Wine trail is more than 70 miles long and takes you to wineries both large and small in the rolling countryside of the south Willamette Valley, each with its own Thanksgiving festivities. Enjoy beautiful venues, live music, and wonderful food all weekend long.

Do you have both wine and football fans in town for the holiday weekend? Make everybody happy when you take them to Civil War Friday at Pfeiffer Vineyards on Friday, Nov. 27. The OSU vs. U of O football game will be on big screens and paired with great wine and food all afternoon long.

More event listings

Looking for still more wine country events? Check out pre-Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving Wine Weekend listings at these websites:

Willamette Valley food & wine events

Oregon Wine Press

Willamette Valley Wineries

Heart of Willamette Wineries

South Willamette Wineries

Want your visit to make a difference? Consider participating in the Willamette Cares Food Share program, a benefit for the Oregon Food Bank Network.


Find Fall Color

October 22, 2015 | Becca Barnhart
200 px Lower South Falls2_fall 2015 by Kara Kuh

Six great trips for fall foliage in the Willamette Valley.

Ahhh, fall: vineyards turn golden, harvest draws to a close, and forests begin to pop with color. Take one of these six day trips and discover why fall in Oregon Wine Country is so jaw-droppingly gorgeous.


Fall color at Domaine Meriwether

Fall color at Domaine Meriwether Winery


1. Take a fall drive on Highway 126.
One of our favorite fall scenic drives is the route west on Hwy 126. This pretty drive takes travelers from Eugene through the countryside on the way to the Oregon Coast, where vine maples are popping yellows and now reds. On your way west, make a lunch stop at Our Daily Bread for some locally grown, raised and produced culinary delights from the Willamette Valley. Just past the town of Veneta, Domaine Meriwether Winery  is waiting with delicious Pinot noir as well as sparkling wines.


2. Ride through the vines on a horseback wine tour.
You can’t get much closer to fall foliage than riding through autumn vineyards on a horseback wine tour. This time of year, grapevines turn stunning shades of gold as harvest draws to a close. Visit three vineyards in the Yamhill Valley wine country on a horseback wine tasting trip with Equestrian Wine Tours.

Fall hike at Silver Falls State Park

Fall hike at Silver Falls State Park


3. Hike to 10 waterfalls at Silver Falls State Park.
Often referred to as the crown jewel of the Oregon State Park system, Silver Falls State Park near Salem is home to ten amazing waterfalls and is a must-visit spot for fall foliage. Free, guided hikes by knowledgeable volunteers are offered weekly, March through November. After your hike, indulge in a meal and glass of wine (or even a spa treatment and an overnight stay) at the Oregon Garden Resort, just up the road in Silverton.


4. Enjoy a pup-friendly picnic at Sunnyside Park.
Bring a picnic and your furry friend to this 98-acre park in the foothills of the Cascades, east of the historic town of Albany. Oaks and maples glow golden and red against a backdrop of Douglas fir, making Sunnyside an especially scenic spot for a peaceful autumn afternoon. Dogs are welcome to walk the paved walkways on leash or to romp off-leash in the fenced dog park. Continue the fall foliage-spotting with a drive on the nearby Over the River and Through the Woods Scenic Byway.

Reds + golds on the Willamette riverfront

Reds + golds on the Willamette riverfront


5. Wander along the Willamette in Corvallis.
There’s no better place to view fall foliage than Riverfront Commemorative Park in Corvallis. This public gem has a paved multi-use path that offers views of the Willamette River on one side, and of Corvallis’ charming downtown on the other. Grab a bite and brew after your walk at Sky High Brewing and Pub, the tallest brewery in the mid-valley, for panoramic views of Corvallis and the historic Oregon State University campus.



6. Explore the national forest on a guided hike.
Mt. Hood Adventure has a number of guided hikes in Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory that offer the opportunity to see the trees show off their fall colors. Huckleberry and vine maple will put on a tremendous display on the 2-hour Mirror Lake hike, which is sometimes known as a “Fall Color Extravaganza” during the fall foliage season.

Need a place to stay between leaf-spotting and wine-tasting? Check out our trip planner, discover travel deals, and find food and wine events around the Willamette Valley.

Food + Wine at FeastPDX

September 15, 2015 | Becca Barnhart

Where to find the best Willamette Valley food and wine at Feast Portland.

Love Oregon food and wine? You could win a trip to the Willamette Valley to taste it in person. Click here to enter.

Feast Portland is four-day long food extravaganza that fills the streets of Portland with tasty food and drink. If you’re looking for a road map to guide you through this delicious whirlwind, here are our picks for seven don’t-miss Willamette Valley chefs and winemakers to visit at Feast.

Magenta Kimber Hoang 140 pxKimber Hoang, Magenta: Kimber’s  downtown Corvallis restaurant, Magenta,  is home to one of the Willamette Valley’s best dim sum menus. You can taste Kimber’s inspired Asian fusion cuisine at Feast.

Friday, Sept. 18, 1-3 p.m. || Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting || Oregon Wine Country Wine Terrace, Pioneer Courthouse Square


Falling Sky Brandon Lang 140 pxBrandon Lang, Falling Sky Brewing: You might know Falling Sky for their complex, tasty, craft beers — but Falling Sky has also got culinary chops like you wouldn’t believe. Taste why Eugene locals flock to Falling Sky for beer and food at Feast this weekend.

Friday, Sept. 18, 3-5 p.m. || Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting || Oregon Wine Country Wine Terrace, Pioneer Courthouse Square


Eola Hills Pinot 140pxEola Hills Wine Cellars: The estate-grown Pinot Noir from this Willamette Valley winery is a beautiful expression of Oregon. If you’ve never made the drive to their two vineyard-side tasting rooms in the Eola Hills, catch them in downtown Portland this weekend at Feast.

Saturday, Sept. 19, 12-5 p.m. || Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting || Travel Oregon booth, Pioneer Courthouse Square


Chris Czarnecki_Joel Palmer House 140 pxChris Czarnecki, The Joel Palmer House: Chris Czarnecki has made showcasing Oregon cuisine (especially wild-foraged mushrooms) his life’s work — he started at the age of 9 at his parents’ restaurant, The Joel Palmer House. Today he runs Joel Palmer as well as The Barlow Room in Dayton, Ore. (but you can taste his cooking at Feast on Saturday).

Saturday, Sept. 19, 12-2:30 p.m. || Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting || Oregon Wine Country Wine Terrace, Pioneer Courthouse Square


Jessica Hansen 140 pxJessica Hansen, The Kitchen at Middleground Farms: Jessica is known for the delicious locavore recipes she teaches at her farm-based cooking school in a cattle barn-turned-gourmet-kitchen outside Wilsonville; this weekend you can sample her best bites at Feast.

Saturday, Sept. 19, 12-5 p.m. || Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting || Travel Oregon booth, Pioneer Courthouse Square


Heidi Tunnell 140 pxHeidi Tunnell, Creswell Bakery: Culinary Institute of America graduate Heidi Tunnell returned to her roots in 2005 when she moved back to her family farm outside Creswell. She’s known for her from-scratch breads and pastries and meats raised on her own farm. Taste the farm-fresh goodness in Portland this Saturday.

Saturday, Sept. 19, 2:30-5 p.m. || Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting || Oregon Wine Country Wine Terrace, Pioneer Courthouse Square


Novak Family 140pxThe Novak Family, Novak’s Hungarian: Sister Karen, KayMarie, and Matilda Novak carry on their family’s tradition of creating authentic dishes of their Hungarian roots at their restaurant in historic downtown Albany; taste the family recipes passed through generations at Brunch Village this weekend.

Sunday, Sept. 20, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. || Brunch Village || Travel Oregon booth, Pioneer Courthouse Square


 Once you’ve got a taste for the culinary goodness of the Willamette Valley, start planning a trip to sample Oregon’s best food and wine right where it’s grown. Explore Willamette Valley wineries, find food and wine events, and get inspired with wine trails and sample itineraries.

Foodie fests + farm dinners

August 1, 2015 | Becca Barnhart
200pxBounty of the County_20140907_608

Taste harvest bounty in Oregon Wine Country.

The pioneers who trekked their way westward on the Oregon Trail had a name for the Willamette Valley: The Promised Land. Why? Because in this little piece of heaven on earth, just about anything will grow. This valley’s fertile soil produces some of the world’s most mouthwatering crops, and our farmers, vintners, brewers and chefs are pretty darn proud of the results. So proud, in fact, that every year we throw festivals, fairs, and big open-air feasts to celebrate Oregon’s bounty.

Here are a few of our favorite harvest time food and drink festivals and farm dinners to help you taste what all the fuss is about:

200pxBounty of the County_20140907_423 by Andrea JohnsonBounty of Yamhill County, August 28-30, 2015

Named one of the top two food festivals in the country by USA Today, Bounty of Yamhill County is both a celebration of food and wine, and a fundraiser for the Yamhill Enrichment Society, an organization that funds carefully selected projects in arts & education, food & agriculture, and history & community. Bounty of Yamhill County is three days of deliciousness  that celebrates Yamhill County’s unique artisan landscape through a carefully curated lineup of  dinners, farm tours, classes and more.

Photo: Andrea Johnson Photography

Field & Vine Dinners: Aug. 1, 15, 22, and 30; Sept. 5, 12, and 19; Oct. 3; Nov. 7; Dec. 5, 2015. 
www.fieldandvineevents.comField & Vine dinner by Erika Plummer

At each dinner in the field, visit a a new farm or vineyard, where the growers will tell you about their work while you stroll through the fields with a glass of wine. Settle in to a long community table and enjoy a six-course dinner, prepared by Chef Pascal Chureau, paired with wines and sourced as often as possible directly from the farm you’re visiting.

Photo: Erika Plummer

Pairings — A Celebration of Oregon: Friday, August 21, 2015

Stroll through a lush two-acre garden and sample the finest efforts of Oregons chefs, winemakers, brewers and distillers. This new event celebrates Oregon’s food and beverage scene and also celebrates the 150-year tradition of the Oregon State Fair. Tickets include live music during the event and admission to the Oregon State Fair, which starts a week later.

The Great Taste: August 20, 2015

Gather under the oaks at Oakway Center in Eugene and listen to live music as you wander between tasting stations. Wine, cheese, craft beer, coffee, fine chocolates and exquisite snacks are all on the menu. The Great Taste benefits Relief Nursery, an organization aimed at preventing child abuse and neglect.

Craft Beer Smackdown: September 18, 2015

The Willamette Valley’s best brewers battle for supremacy in the streets of  historic Albany, Oregon. Taste dozens of Oregon craft beers, visit with the brewers, and find out which is your favorite. Diehards can stay for the after-party at Calapooia Brewing Co.

Corvallis Beer Week: September 11-19, 2015

It’s an entire week of craft beer celebration in the heart of the Willamette Valley. Brewery tours, tap takeovers, special tastings, food pairings, and educational workshops all week long, with new events each day. Craft beer enthusiasts will be in heaven at this popular beer and food extravaganza.

200 px Feast PDXFeast Portland: Sept. 17-20, 2015

This is the biggest food and drink party in the state—if you love food, you need to be there. You can sample some of the Willamette Valley’s best food and wine at the wine terrace during the Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting, Friday and Saturday at Pioneer Courthouse Square. You can also enter to win a trip for two, including airfare, to visit the Willamette Valley — look for the Oregon Wine Country banner on the wine terrace.

Cheers! It’s Oregon Craft Beer Month in July

July 3, 2015 | Becca Barnhart

web-ocbm-358x358Don’t let July pass you by without celebrating one of the other craft beverages that Oregon Wine Country does really well — craft beer.

In Oregon, locals love their microbrews so much that they’ve dedicated the entire month of July to celebrating Oregon Craft Beer Month. Here are a few trip ideas that will tantalize your tastebuds with hoppy, malty goodness.


Special events, tours and tastings

The Oregon Brewers Guild has all the details on special events and tastings — all 450 of them — that you’ll find happening this month. Search their listings to find one close to you.

Pubs worth visiting

Looking for a special place to kick back with a cold Oregon-made brew? Here are a few ideas:

Calapooia-featured-240x160pxCalapooia Brewing Co: a cozy craft beer haven in Albany

Block 15 Brewing: a leader in sustainable brewing in Corvallis

Gilgamesh Brewing: a campus devoted to craft beer in Salem

Agrarian Ales: sip farm-brewed beer in the countryside just north of Eugene

Ale Trails and Tours

Valley BeerVana Tour: a self-guided tour of breweries around the Willamette Valley.

Eugene Ale Trail: Grab a passport and start tasting your way around Eugene’s craft breweries — if you visit enough of them, you’ll win a prize!

Mid-Valley Sip Trip: Taste your way through unique breweries, cideries and even a meadery in the central Willamette Valley.

Craft Beer Lodging 

Find a great place to stay while you sip.

Eugene-area hotels offer a number of beer-themed deals.

Hotel Oregon in McMinnville is a historic hotel that’s also a pub with four bars on-site.

If those aren’t enough microbrew ideas to keep you busy all month, check out our trip planner page — you can search for breweries in any region of the Willamette Valley and use our interactive travel planner to build your own perfect craft brew itinerary.


Hunt for hidden treasure in the birthplace of Geocaching

June 14, 2015 | Becca Barnhart

SONY DSCIn the spring of the year 2000, the U.S. government for the first time made GPS satellite data publicly available. A few days later, one man hid a single container in the woods south of Portland, and posted its GPS coordinates in an online forum. A few days later, someone else went out and found it.

With that, the sport/hobby/obsession known as geocaching was born.

Fifteen years later, there are 2,648, 922 geocaches in the world. If you’re one of the thousands of folks who like combining travel with treasure-hunting, then finding the Original Stash–that very first cache–is probably on your  caching bucket list. Luckily for you, Oregon is not only home to the Original Stash, but to lots of additional caching events, clever puzzles, and even official Geotours. Here are a few of our top Oregon Wine Country geocaching picks to help you celebrate the 15th anniversary of geocaching in the birthplace of the sport:

Join Oregon’s first mega-event: Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory is hosting the Cache the Stash event to mark the 15th anniversary of the placement of the first stash outside the community of Estacada. The local geocaching community has come together to create what organizers hope will be Oregon’s first “mega-event,” with more than 500 cachers on hand for a single event. The Cache the Stash Challenge is scheduled for Saturday, August 8 at the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in historic Oregon City.

Participants will have the chance to earn coins that will piece together to form Oregon’s first-ever three-dimensional puzzle cube. Cachers will have to complete challenges in six communities to finish the puzzle cube. Each coin is designed to highlight unique elements of the participating communities.

Earn a limited-edition coin: For enthusiasts who are unable to make the mega-event, The Territory has additional challenges you can take part in. While coins last, several Mt. Hood Territory communities have commemorative coins that can be earned by finding caches throughout the city. For other geocaching adventures in Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory, check out their geocaching page.

Hunt in a garden and win a free resort stay: The Oregon Garden in Silverton offers 10 caching sites scattered throughout its 80-acre botanical garden. Special overnight geocaching packages are available at the Oregon Garden Resort, and treasure hunters who identify all 10 sites receive a commemorative pin and a chance to win a an overnight stay at the Garden or its sister property, the Village Green Resort in Cottage Grove.

Go on the world’s first (and 11th) Geo-Tour: The Eugene, Cascades & Coast GeoTour is Oregon’s 1st, and also the 11th GeoTour in the world. Comprised of four editions to showcase the best of the Eugene, Cascades & Coast, each leg takes Geocachers through a variety of natural wonders between caches and in the surrounding environments. From the coastal areas in Florence to the crest of the Cascades, a series of geocaches are focused on small communities and rural locations. The routes highlight iconic attractions like the Sea Lion Caves and covered bridges; stunning natural beauty with locations including Proxy Falls and the Oregon Dunes; and hidden gems like the Old McKenzie Fish Hatchery and Horse Creek Trail. Come see more than 200 scenic miles with 143 caches just waiting to be found. There’s even an Anniversary Geocaching Challenge (a new Geocaching program in all four edition sites) beginning in August.

Solve a puzzle and learn about Corvallis: Corvallis is known for being super-saturated with caches. Almost every park or greenway contains one or more caches, and for travelers who prefer puzzle caches, Corvallis has a wealth of puzzles varying from the very simple, all the way to insanely difficult. Here’s one of our top picks–a fascinating two-part interactive puzzle cache that is guaranteed to teach you more about the city (but we won’t tell you how!):  Trying to Catch Some Zs, Steve

Come for the hot air balloons, stay for the picnic: Every year during the Northwest Art & Air Festival, the skies above Albany are filled with gorgeous hot air balloons…and the streets are filled with geocachers. Join dozens of families who come to town for the NW Art & Air Festival GeoChallenge–if you find every location on the list you’ll be rewarded with a commemorative coin. Then visit with other geocachers when you stay for the annual GeoPicnic–an event whose location is advertised using only GPS coordinates.

New to geocaching? Learn how to play at the official Geocaching site. Want more Willamette Valley ideas? Explore maps, trip ideas and sample itineraries at OregonWineCountry.org. 

Photo credit: Oliver J. Anderson