My wife and I are thinking about visiting Willamette Valley this year… we’ve done multiple trips to various parts of California, Michigan, and New York, but this will be our first time in Oregon.
We probably won’t be able to go in the spring, so it would be a summer or fall thing. What are the best and worst times to visit? Knowing that harvest and immediately after are bad times, when does that typically occur? Is there a period of time before the harvest that’s less than ideal to visit? Or is this stuff I should even be thinking about at all?
July and August are indeed terrific weather-wise. Typically warm days and cool nights in the Willamette. Very few misty/rainy days, unless you visit the coast. September…that’s the main Harvest month!
The Willamette is very spread out so things never seem that crowded. Midweek winery visits are always better IMHO. IPNC Passport tasting will give you a crack at many dozens of tasty Pinots in one afternoon swoop. The food at the event is darned good too.
As Rick said, you usually can’t go wrong with May - September.
I personally absolutely love the fall in Oregon (September/October) but that most likely will be smack in the middle of harvest. Harvest for pinot can have almost a two month range depending on the year so it’s hard to say when exactly it will be.
How long are you planning on staying? What do you want to do? If you’re purely just doing wine tasting, come during the week May - August and you’ll be set. Memorial weekend and Labor day weekends are big weekends but there are crowds for some wineries so keep that in mind as well.
If you’re wanting to visit the bigger names vs appointments that will drive your planning as well.
If you’re at all foodies, stay in Portland for a night or two. There’s so many fantastic food/beverage places it’s worth the trip just for the food.
My wife and I took our 1st trip to Oregon this past October. Weather was great, and crush was over for the most part. We did a few days in Portland, then 1 1/2 days on the coast, and 3-days in the Willamette Valley, ending with a day drive to the Columbia Gorge. A fantastic trip, the diverse itinerary we chose was perfect for us. I’d be glad to give you some tips for places to visit, eat, stay, etc…Just PM me.
I’ve been twice, once in August and once in January. There was less wine to choose from in August, but more places were open/available. Some of the wineries were closed for a holiday break in January, but it felt like we had a more intimate time with the wineries in January.
As a PNW native, I’ve found the recent oregon summers rather more warm than is comfortable in July and August, and definitely prefer June and September. There are more rainy days those months, but you’ll still see a lot of sun.
Hard to say if “the new normal” is here to stay, but I see no reason to doubt it.
I’m just a tourist from the east coast, but I’ve only ever been to Oregon in mid October–honeymoon and two anniversary trips–and it’s always been perfectly nice in Portland and the WV. Rain on and off, but never too chilly and never hordes of people at any wineries. But again, I have nothing to compare to.
Despite my earlier facetious post about the one day when it does not rain, I would suggest not visiting the Oregon wine country near Salem on August 21, 2017, when a total solar eclipse will pass through Salem, and every eclipse nut will have scooped up every hotel room. Where will you be at 10:15 a.m. on Monday August 21, 2017?
Really it can be nice if cool and grey in winter and spring. If nice weather is a must I think august is best. By then usually the worst heat is done, and even if we have a heat wave there is more cooling at night than in July. Usually. Really just come, I never remember bad weather much in memories, and the aoregon way is to just go for it no matter what. Snow aside, then we abandon cars on the freeways and leave them for days. Seriously, it’s a great place. I chose to move here 16 years ago because I found it to be so special. No place is perfect for anyone, and anywhere can have wash out days (hot, cold, rainy). Give a holler if you’d like to stop by and taste, or get recommendations for food, wine, or whatever.
So if it is a little crappy to the west head east. Actually a trip through the Gorge to Hood River, up the HR valley to Timberline is a good day trip and there are wineries on both sides of the Columbia.
Great feedback everyone - really appreciated. We will definitely be spending a couple days in Portland, and then 3-4 days in Willamette. I love the suggestion to spend some time on the coast. And Marcus, Vincent, and Todd, we are looking forward to stopping by!!!