5 Fantastic Willamette Valley Wineries To Visit, Plus 5 Incredible Places To Stay
by Barbara Barrielle
I live in the gorgeous wine country of Healdsburg and Sonoma County. I love our wines and wineries, but I am just as excited to try other wine regions. The Willamette Valley is huge but has unique pockets of geography and climate and equally unique pockets of interesting people. Many French winemakers have arrived here, comparing the region to Burgundy, where beautiful pinot noirs and chardonnays are produced.
The many little towns and villages of the area have unique personalities and it is easy to find either a pub with a good burger or a fine dining restaurant open and lively, even in COVID times. I have been to Willamette about a half-dozen times, sometimes on my own and sometimes hosted by one of the sub-regions, and, each time, I discover someplace new and find myself not wanting to leave because there is so much to explore.
Pro Tip: The Willamette Valley is a huge wine-growing region with many microclimates and diversity. Like many areas that have grown and have a significant variety of wineries, the region is broken down into smaller, geographically unique AVA, or American Viticultural Areas.
Argyle Winery, Dundee
A must stop as you get into the Willamette Valley is the sparkling house of Argyle Winery. Easily accessed when driving through Dundee, it is one of my favorite ways to begin a tasting trip in Oregon.
Argyle Winery put Willamette on the map for sparkling wine and winemaker Nate Klostermann continues to evolve the sparkling program with extended tirage and vintage wines. Extended tirage, meaning extra aging, is rare in domestic sparkling houses, and Argyle’s wine has ranked among the highest for new world bubbles. Argyle also makes an array of still wines like chardonnay and pinot noir and the wines, across the board, are excellent examples of the variety.
Argyle Winery’s Tasting House and exterior areas are huge and patrons can easily social distance while enjoying these excellent wines.”