Some of my most favorite girlfriends and I recently joined forces for a wine tasting girls trip in Oregon’s Willamette Valley! We had so much fun and I can’t wait to do it again to visit even more wineries. Keep reading for all the goods on where we stayed and where we sipped!
Oregon Wine Country
If you are as old as me but not 100% familiar with Oregon, you might recognize the Willamette Valley from the old 80’s computer game, Oregon Trail. Remember trying not to die from dysentery on your way from Missouri to Willamette Valley via a covered wagon in 1848? Oh how my childhood memories are flooding back!
Today, Oregon’s Willamette Valley is home to four distinct valleys, North Valley, Mid-Valley, South Valley and West Cascades. My lady pals and I stayed in the North Valley area, home to some beautiful wine country. With the Pacific Ocean to the west and volcanoes to the east, North Valley is the perfect place to grow those coveted grapes. Oregon is known for its Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris – the two most planted vines in the region. The Willamette Valley is also one of the main competitors to Napa Valley!
Where We Stayed
The Vintages Trailer Resort | https://the-vintages.com/
We decided to try out The Vintages Trailer Resort in Dayton, Oregon, just off highways 99 and 18, east of McMinnville. The resort includes 36 fully restored and custom fabricated trailers complete with outdoor grills, cruiser bikes, a general store stocked with goodies, a pool, Club House and our favorite – a Fireside area with fire pits and comfy lounge seating.
My friend Janet and I stayed in the Atomic, an old Airstream. Our trailer had a fun X-Files theme with UFO and alien décor. It included a small bathroom with a toilet, sink and small shower, a kitchenette, small dining area with pour-over coffee and a full size bed. It was definitely a bit of a tight squeeze for the two of us and I hit my head on the door a few times (I am 5’8) but quickly learned to duck before entering and exiting.
The resort is conveniently located between downtown McMinnville and Dundee, with a 10 minute drive on either side to visit some tasting rooms.
I would definitely recommend staying at the resort for a fun long weekend with friends, but keep in mind the price is fairly steep per night and they require a two-night minimum stay. Janet and I paid just over $400 for two nights. We did enjoy visiting our friends in a different trailer and the fireside pits (which are open until 10 p.m.). And the evening views with the twinkling lights are pretty darn fun!
Where We Sipped
Fox Farm Vineyards | https://www.foxfarmvineyards.com/
My friend Janet is a member of Fox Farm Vineyards, so of course we had to visit the tasting room!! We met up with some additional lady friends and the day began!
The owner, David, greeted us and we knew we were in for a treat. Fox Farm brings a warm and friendly atmosphere, knowledgeable and kind staff, and some very decadent wine!
Our tasting included the 2020 Fox Farm Pinot Blanc, 2017 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir, 2018 Kitsune Reserve Pinot Noir, 2018 Fox Fam Reserve Pinot Noir and a 2018 William Marie Syrah.
I am personally a fan of rich and bold steak wines like Malbecs and Syrahs or buttery Chardonnays that practically melt in your mouth, so that is where my palate and credit card often take me. I did purchase a bottle of the Syrah, it was quite lovely! If you like Pinot Noirs, this is definitely a place to visit!
Fox Farm Vineyards is a must visit!
Methven Family Vineyards | https://methvenfamilyvineyards.com/
What can I say about Methven’s Dundee Tasting Room? How do you spell f-u-n?
Between the food truck, our server (who was hilarious – ask her what the difference between a Pinot Noir and a Gamay Noir are and she’ll bluntly say, “the grape!”), the wine, the outdoor tent space with a guitarist who played music from the 60’s – 90’s (he was in his mid-40’s and played all our cougar-esque jams, keeping us ladies very happy) – we spent the rest of our day at Methven.
I bought the Chardonnay and the Gamay Noir and then spent probably 3+ hours with the girls eating delicious Dungeness crab cake empanadas from the food truck, sipping all the wine, laughing, singing, you name it. The sun was out, the wine was great, the crowd was wonderful, we knew all the songs the guitarist played…..it was the PERFECT way to end our wine tasting day.
Definitely visit Methven’s tasting room if you are in town!
Terra Vina Wines | https://www.terravinawines.com/
My friends Polly and Trelawni are both members at Terra Vina Wines, and it wasn’t my first rodeo visiting the tasting room in downtown McMinnville. I bought me a few bottles, y’all.
The tasting room itself has great service staff, wines for all palates and all at very reasonable prices. I purchased their 2019 Chardonnay, 2019 Petite Petit and the 2018 Syrah.
I definitely recommend visiting the tasting room with a group of friends and just enjoying the whole experience.
Troon Vineyard | https://www.troonvineyard.com/
The Troon Vineyard Biodynamic Wine Bar in McMinnville is a fun and fancy place to end the weekend with your closest friends. They offer a diverse range of whites and reds and even have tasting areas that are a little more secluded from the main wine bar for some privacy. I purchased a bottle of the 2019 Syrah.
Our servers were incredibly friendly and kept the laughter going as we ended our weekend. We did have to wait about an hour for a table to open, but it’s worth it!
Conservatory Bar | https://www.conservatory-bar.com/
Outside the wine tasting, we visited Conservatory Bar for late night dinner and cocktails in McMinnville.
Most unfortunately I did not take any photos of our delicious food (you must get the Brussel Sprouts with bacon and Grilled Cheese with bacon!) but I did manage a few with our cocktails. I’m not even sure what the cocktails were as I told the bartender I loved Rye Whiskey and to make me something fun! She did. Twice. Ten out of ten!
Where We Fed
Community Plate | https://www.communityplate.com/
Community Plate is located in the almost Hallmark movie-inspired downtown McMinnville. They serve breakfast and lunch menu all day and when they run out or something, expect to see a SOLD OUT sticker on the menu item. Expect a good 20-40 minute wait for a table because its worth it.
I ordered the Daily Scramble as a burrito, farm eggs scrambled with season ingredients and served with greens or homefries. Let’s just say, it supports my theory that breakfast is almost always the superior meal.
Bierly Brewing | http://www.bierlybrewing.com/
While Bierly Brewing should also technically be under Where We Sipped – we mostly indulged on gluten free fried food goodness for lunch. Bierly is a dedicated gluten free brewery in McMinnville and they also have an very impressive food menu.
I drank their Pumpkin Belgian (a Belgian Dubbel) and thought it was pretty tasty – I have found that I can’t distinguish between regular and gluten free beer. All are delicious!
The food though. If you have Celiac’s or a gluten intolerance or just like eating period – I highly recommend their food menu! Apparently Bierly is famous for their donuts – which they had run out of by the time we arrived (which just means I need to return, right?). Between the Crostini (toasted baguette topped with goat cheese and jam), corndog and onion rings – is this really gluten free? You’d never know. No cardboard flavors here – only really good food!
If you aren’t familiar with Oregon wine country, I highly suggest a visit to the Northern portion of the Willamette Valley to begin your journey. I had such a blast with my gal pals and I cannot wait to go back!