Published 11/21/2019 at 4:33 AM PDT
By OREGON TRAVEL DAILY STAFF
(McMinnville, Oregon) - From near Banks to NE Portland, from Yamhill wine country down through the I-5 corridor, all the way down to southwest of Eugene – Wine Country Thanksgiving has expanded its reach greatly in the last two decades, far beyond the hills east of the Coast Range. Now in its 37th year, Wine Country Thanksgiving started out primarily in Yamhill Wine Country, but it currently incorporates more than 140 wineries in a tasting free-for-all that covers the Oregon Coast Range along three major highways, into Portland and down through Corvallis and Eugene. (Above: vines near North Plains)
This year’s oenophilic festival of fun starts – as usual – right after Thanksgiving, from Friday, November 29 through Sunday, December 1. Oregon’s vibrant wine scene celebrates the end of another growing season and the start of the holidays with a unique and massive array of wine gatherings.
There is something for everyone throughout Oregon wine country: food, music, some wacky touches here and there, all kinds of distractions – and then that scenery. The drive through either the Willamette Valley or Yamhill County’s bucolic fields and rolling hills is captivating in itself. Bundles of secret little parks and trails lurk around many of the twists and turns in this incomparable countryside, as every bend is met with a striking old tree, ancient machinery to gawk at or an amazing stretch of field or mountain.
A new vintage barrel in every wine purveyor and a new year just around the corner, this is the ultimate holiday event that overshadows (and throws plenty of shade upon) Black Friday. A number of distinctive elements even further provide reason to ditch the stores:
Over 40 participating labels are involved in the Willamette Cares Food Share program, a partnership between the Oregon Food Banks and the Willamette Valley Wineries Association (WVWA). Donations are accepted at many tasting rooms throughout the region from November 1 through December 31, helping to curtail regional hunger.
Experience the Valley’s breathtaking Chardonnay as it establishes international prestige at producers all over the region. The grape has long thrived in the appellation but the latest vintages are showing just how much potential this noble variety has. Taste the work of legendary local labels like Beaux Frères or new arrivals like Domaine de Broglie.
Taste the power of vintage through a vertical tasting at places like Domaine Roy & Fils, Aramenta Cellars or Stag Hollow. Pinot noir is famous for its ability to reflect the growing season and tasting years from the same vineyard side-by-side is an eye-opening treat.
Willamettewines.com has the ultimate guide to all things Thanksgiving. The entire list of events and frivolity is too numerous to list here, but a few random highlights are:
Belle Pente Vineyard and Winery in Carlton will show off library offerings, new releases and special projects. What makes this one unique is that Belle Pente is only open twice a year. Sample their critically acclaimed, authentic, estate-grown Pinot noir, Chardonnay, and much more in their cozy cellar on the “beautiful slope.” New releases including 2017 single vineyard Pinots and tempting library selections. 12470 NE Rowland Road, Carlton. 503-852-9500.
Coleman Vineyard, deep in the Oregon Coast Range hills, has a distinctive and striking landscape surrounding it, with almost cavernous dips between rolling hills and thick, forested stretches – much of which can take on whimsical forms and shapes. They’ll be offering food pairings in their take on the festival, and they’re family friendly. Taste new releases and library wines. Barrel tasting and small bites are also included in your tasting fee. 22734 SW Latham Road, McMinnville. 503-437-6071.
The sprawling and impressive estate of Willamette Valley Vineyards just south of Salem has numerous scenic wonders, and it’s located right next to Enchanted Forest.
Enjoy an intimate seated wine tasting in the cellar featuring limited release wines, including their Quinta Reserve Port-style Pinot Noir, library wine specials and stories of the recent harvest.
Admission is $15, or $10 for Wine Club Members, Owners and their guests. Pre-reserved tickets include a Cellar Pass for a Seated Tasting (scheduled in advance) and a wine tasting flight of our latest releases in the Estate Tasting Room. Winery Chef DJ MacIntyre will also offer a special fall-inspired menu available for purchase. 8800 Enchanted Way SE, Turner, Oregon.
The scenic wonders around wine country pioneer Sokol Blosser Winery are numerous and full of surprises, plus it’s right outside of tiny Dundee and its mix of farm country and upscale eateries of renown. Here, you’re on track to get into the Oregon Coast Range and Lincoln City, but McMinnville is minutes away as well.
For the Thanksgiving Weekend event, they’ll be showing off delicacies made by the culinary team. You can check special guest vendors, grab props for a photo booth, and then of course there’s all that wine. 5000 Sokol Blosser Lane, Dayton. 503-864-2282, 800-582-6668.
Where to Stay on the Oregon Coast
General Oregon Coast Hotels
Cannon Beach Hotels
Nehalem Bay Lodging
Three Capes Lodging
Lincoln City Hotels
Depoe Bay Hotels
Oregon Coast Vacation Rentals
Oregon Coast Lodging Specials