Maximum Attendance: 25
Sunday, August 8
About the Willamette Valley
The Willamette Valley, Oregon’s leading wine region, has two-thirds of the state’s wineries and vineyards and is home to nearly 600 wineries. It is recognized as one of the premier Pinot Noir–producing areas in the world.
The Willamette Valley is a huge and varied appellation that includes seven nested appellations: Chehalem Mountains, Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinnville, Ribbon Ridge, Van Duzer Corridor and Yamhill-Carlton.
Buffered from Pacific storms on the west by the Coast Range, the valley follows the Willamette River north to south for more than a hundred miles from the Columbia River near Portland to just south of Eugene. To the east, the Cascade Range draws the boundary between the Willamette Valley’s misty, cool climate and the drier, more extreme climate of eastern Oregon.
At its widest point, this long, broad valley spans sixty miles. Overall, the climate boasts a long, gentle growing season – warm summers with cool evenings; bursts of Indian summer into fall; mild winters followed by long springs. In ideal years the maritime climate provides the best conditions possible for growing the cool-climate grape variety for which Oregon is best known: Pinot noir. In lesser years, fall weather can be tricky, causing winemakers to pull their hair. By this measure the Willamette Valley compares favorably with the Burgundy and Alsace regions of France. And, like it or not, the often finicky Willamette Valley climate is the promised land for Pinot noir in America. Wineries also produce Pinot gris, Pinot blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Melon, Gewürztraminer, sparkling wine, Sauvignon blanc, Syrah and Gamay among other lesser-known varieties.
The Willamette Valley wineries are a popular tourist destination, with the area boasting a luxury destination resort, several high-end inns and many delightful bed & breakfasts. The valley also offers a long list of fine dining restaurants. An additional advantage for the wine tourist is the proximity of the wineries to Portland. From Portland in the north or Eugene in the south, tourists can visit the Willamette Valley winery of their choice in anywhere from 10 minutes to two hours.
Transportation & Accommodations
You will be picked up at 8:00 AM on Sunday, August 23 from the Valley River Inn in Eugene. The excursion will finish at approximately 5:30 PM the same day at the Southeast Wine Collective in Portland. You can store your bags at the Collective during the tasting and then Uber from there to your Portland hotel, the airport, or to a Light Rail station, which is an easy way to get to the airport.
Hotel accommodations are not included in this trip but you are encouraged to stay and explore Portland. The Bluebird Guesthouse is only steps away from the SE Wine Collective but only has seven rooms. There are many other great lodging options in the city, including KEX, The Nines, Hotel Eastlund and Hotel Lucia.
What is Included
Cost: $25 per person, which includes one lunch, tasting room visits, and transportation throughout the day starting in Eugene and ending in Portland.
8:00 AM Group departs by bus from Eugene to the North Willamette Valley.
10:00 – 11:30 AM Terroir-driven wine tasting at the Carlton Winemakers Studio curated by Julia Burke, dipWSET, marketing and communications coordinator at the Willamette Valley Wineries Association. The tasting will spotlight the influence of regional soil types like Jory, Willakenzie and Laurelwood on resulting wines and their distinctive qualities, both in the vineyard and the glass. Featured wines will include work from the Carlton Winemakers Studio, the Valley’s first collaborative cellar where sixteen labels thrive within a single production space.
11:45 AM – 1:30 PM Chat with pioneers of the Willamette Valley and soak up the history of the environmentally and viticulturally diverse region. Lunch and wines will be served al fresco at Sokol Blosser Winery, a lauded Oregon producer celebrating its 50th anniversary.
1:45 PM – 3:15 PM Tour the scenic grounds JK Carriere, high atop Parrett Mountain in the Chehalem Mountains of the North Willamette Valley. Vintner and Renaissance man Jim Prosser will lead the group through his stunning estate and farmhouse winery.
4:30 PM Taste through the wines of acclaimed urban winery Southeast Wine Collective. The collaborative winery is nestled in the heart of southeast Portland, amid the charm and countless culinary delights of Division Street. Collective co-owner Division winemaker Kate Norris will conduct the immersive flight of wines.