Oregon Visit - Pls help with Itin review

Planning to visit Oregon during Sept 4/5/6… does this visiting schedule seem crazy? or normal? is the order appropriate or am I driving back and forth anywhere…

First time to Oregon wine country, and don’t even really have any experience with Oregon Pinots at all.
Any critique/suggestion is much appreciated! (i.e. if there’s one that’s completely waste of time, or totally not worth seeing etc)…

Oh and I understand Patricia Green, Brick House, Belle Pente, Ken Wright are all by appointment only… Is there some insight on how to best set these up? or just call up their general phone line?

Thanks again!

Friday 9/4/2009

Drive Seattle - OR 9am - 1pm
Domaine Drouhin 1-1:45pm
Domaine Serene 2-2:45pm
Stoller 3-3:45pm
White Rose Farms 3:45-4:15pm
Maresh 4:15 - 5pm

Saturday 9/5/2009
Archery Summit 10am - 10:45am
Argyle 10:45 - 11:30am
Drive to Carlton 11:30am - noon
Ken Wright Noon by APPT
Soter 1pm APPT
Belle Pente 2:30-3:30 BY APPT
Scott Paul 3:30pm - 4:30

Sunday 9/6/2009
Bergstrom 10-11am
Adelsheim 11-noon
Brick House noon-1pm
Patricia Green 1 - 2pm
Beaux Frere 2 - 3pm
Penner Ash 3 - 4pm
Chehalem 4 - 5pm

Just a couple of quick comments, including the one that says I’d pick different wineries in most cases, but I’m not going to try to change your mind. Your schedule is pretty ambitious but you’ve managed to group your wineries pretty well geographically. That said, it’s going to take you about 20 minutes at best to get from Penner-Ash to Chehalem at that time of day, and maybe longer to get from Stoller to Maresh depending on traffic. I realize it’s not far, but the traffic backs up at the light in Dundee.

Also, White Rose is essentially across the road from Domaine Serene ($20 tasting fee - caveat emptor) whereas Stoller is down the hill. Reverse the visits to avoid an unnecessary extra trip up Breyman Orchards road. Archery Summit, the last I knew, required you to take a tour. You may not have allocated enough time.

Scott Paul is in Carlton proper with a whole bunch of other tasting rooms you may want to leave time for, whereas Soter and Belle Pente are out of town. Do SP right after Ken Wright, then Soter and then Belle Pente. That way you won’t be backtracking.

Bob, i’ve read enough archive here and on the other board to know u’re the Oregon travel agent. :slight_smile:

PLEASE do suggest other wineries…
this is me and the wife’s first time there… DDO/DS seem like those “not really worth going but have to go since it’s it represents wineries in the state” kinda place

by all means, tell me what’s no good, what i should see etc…

to avoid offending people, u can PM me?
oh and also any insights on getting those ‘by appointment’ appointments?

thank you sir!

Mark, I have no fear of offending anyone so I’ll be blunt.

I’d cross Archery Summit, Domaine Serene, White Rose, Bergstrom, Ken Wright and Beaux Freres off your list, but remember - this is MY palate talking. That said, I don’t think any of those places represent wineries in the state well, especially DS and AS with their over-the-top facilities in a land of mom-and-pop wineries - though that’s changing and not for the better IMNSFHO. My beef with KW is well-known. I don’t think the wines improve after bottling. Hell, I don’t think they improve after Thanksgiving when he sells futures from barrel samples. Besides, the label is heinous but he’s a big believer in terroir, so the individual vineyard tastings are educational to some extent.

Over and above style preferences (and the fact that I and someone else whose palate I trust implicitly have found the White Rose wines to be strange), there’s the tasting fee at DS, the tour at AS and the overblown appointment-only tasting (with Riedel Sommeliers) at Bergstrom where someone (probably not Josh) has developed an overblown sense of their importance.

Once you’ve pruned your visits, you can add (appointment only) Ayres (near Brick House), J. K. Carriere (across from Chehalem), Westrey, La Bete, Alloro, Le Cadeau or Cameron. Be advised that Westrey and LaBete are in McMinnville. You’ll also have time to throw in a day in the Eola/Amity Hills where you can visit Bethel Heights, St. Innocent, Cristom and Witness Tree (all open) and Evesham Wood (nearby by appointment). Also Mystic, which isn’t a big pinot winery, but the zinfandel and barbera are meaningful. I might even throw in Rex Hill now that the Hatchers and the Francis/Tannahills own it.

To make appointments, just call the winery or look up the website and send an email. And check out the tasting rooms in Carlton - Barbara Thomas, Seven of Hearts, the Carlton Winemakers Studio, etc.

PS - avoid Highway 99 in Dundee like the plague. PM me for instructions on how to get around it, including directions to the Wheatland Ferry if you go to the Eola/Amity Hills.

Awesome… frank responses… love it! :slight_smile:

Question tho… you mentioned my schedule is too ambitious… i think i agree

however u suggested trimming 6… cool
but u suggested adding 7, plus another location with more wineries…
what route can i take to work all of those additional 7 in? haha :slight_smile:


Since Bob covered the local-specific stuff, let me talk in general on schedule.

A simple walk-in appt with a “hello,” short tour and tasting a few wines from bottle usually takes AT LEAST an hour, so with travel time you should be scheduling your appts no less than 2 hrs apart unless they are, as Bob pointed out in a couple of cases, literally across or down the street from each other. In some cases where you made an appointment at a “by appt only” place, they may actually go a bit more in depth with you and you want to allow for about 2hrs for those if you are doing any barrel tasting or other things.

I have generally tried to schedule no more than 4 appointments a day on my trips. Also, for opportunities to taste some of the more “commercial” wines, look for tasting room opportunities a la Los Olivos in Santa Barbara (don’t know of the OR equivalent of that) where you may be able to hit several tasting rooms in a small town center all in one stop.

I agree with Bob’s advice re: the wineries. I’ve gone on (and on, and on) about how much I dislike the experience at Domaine Serene, so I won’t do it again. If you can drop a few of those and add Cameron, I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Do you plan to have meals in the area too? If so, I’d have a glass of wine and a side of truffle fries for lunch at Dundee Bistro and then dinner at Nick’s Italian Café or Tina’s. Or some combination of the three. Tina’s is open for lunch, Nick’s is not.

Tina’s Restaurant
Dundee Bistro
Nick’s Italian Cafe

I have not been to The Painted Lady, which a lot of people seem to enjoy. I see a lot of recommendations for the Joel Palmer House, but based on our lone experience there (big mark-ups on local wines) I’d recommend Nick’s or Tina’s instead.

Hi Mark,
We just returned from 5 days in Willamette. I agree almost 100% with Bob except I liked White Rose, my wife didn’t like it so much, (listen to my wife). I would add Brooks to your list if at all possible, especially if you like riesling - I was seriously blown away by their up and coming releases. We tried to get an appointment at Cameron but it didn’t work out, I have a feeling that one might be tough to get. In general where an appointment was required the tastings were more involved and took 1.5 - 2 hours, (a couple went 2.5). You cold blow through a tasting at a winery with a staffed tasting room in about 1/2 an hour however, you may choose to stay longer at some.

Love mushrooms, loved the Joel Palmer house. The wine list was a bit pricey relative to others in the area, not relative to Seattle though. The Painted Lady was also very nice as was Tina’s.

Guess I’d disagree with some of you blanket statements. At DS you get to taste awesome wines. Last year they were pouring the 05 Jersuleum Hill. This is a a 94 rated wine that retails at ~$70 per bottle. You get healthy pours and seconds if you ask. Very few wineries pour wine of that quality for tasting. But if you want cheap, you’re correct, go elsewhere and you can drink cheaper. If I have a problem with DS tastings,it’s that the wines often don’t have enough air before the tastings.

AS also pours great wine. Again last Fall they were pouring Arcus. This wine is huge. Most people never get wines the quality of this.

I know you can go to Chehalem and get ten wines poured for $20 (I’ve been there). But some of us prefer having 3 incredible wines poured, and savouring those, to the other experience. It’s a matter of taste.

I do agree that Brickhouse is a great tasting, if you can get in.

You could visit me.

Lots to choose from and a few opinions. That schedule is too heavy for my preferences especially since many producers are willing to spend a lot of time with you. For me, I would want to go a few extra miles and hit Salem. There you have Evesham Wood, St Innocent (and Zenith Whistling Dog), Cristom and probably a few others.

Personally, I would skip DS and BF. Not wines I would buy. Probably not DDO either.

Todd is offering his services and trust me … he would hook you up.

Connect with the wine-makers. Not a totally inclusive list but you should be able to get time with (please excuse spelling errors), Todd Hamina (Biggio Hamina), Mark Vlossak (St. Innocent & Zenith … and some connection to Whistling Dog), Russ Raney (Evesham Wood), Scott Wright (Scott Paul + Burgs), Brian Odonnel (Belle Pente), Doug Tonnel (Brick House), Patty Green and/or Jim Anderson (Patty Green) and although I have never been, my next trip will absolutely … with out a doubt include Westrey!

I have also always enjoyed my visits to Chehelam. And have had great communication with Tom Mortimer (of Le Cadeau)

Look forward to your results.

And please excuse spelling errors.



I agree completely,
Kimberly and I have been visiting every year since 98 and we really enjoy the people and the wines. Don’t miss Ayres, as Bob recommended- they are right across the road from Doug Tunell(Brick house), and are producing great wines.

My best advice is to slow down and enjoy your visit. This means not feeling rushed to get to your next your appointment and have enough time to get comfortable with the wines you are tasting. Also remember that the more wines you taste, the more blurred your assessment will become. Relax, go with the flow and have fun. If you miss something along the way, pick up a bottle to take home with you to try at a later date.

P.S. take Todd up on his offer.


I’ll pile on here.

You schedule is WAY ambitious. I’d cut all that Bob mentioned and as other have said, I absolutely would not miss, Ayres, Brooks, and Scott Paul.

Take your time…relax.


Thanks for all the feedback!

Besides drinking, what else is there to do?
i.e. after 5pm… is there somewhere where locals go? or what’s there to do at night (besides eat dinner and drink some more? :slight_smile:)

Not really. It’s pretty much just dinner and relaxation.

Depends on whether you’re staying in wine country or Portland.

8 now that Todd Hamina has reminded me that he still exists, but I didn’t mean ALL of them, just a list to pick from.

On the coast, it’s fish, eat and drink in no particular order. [bow.gif] Watch out for the bars. We have a little saying in Pacific City: you don’t loose your wife, you just loose your turn. neener

Honestly, if you don’t mind a little drive (20 mins from Mac) there is Spirit Mountain Casino. There might be a show when you visit so check their calendar.

I mean wine country…

I’ll be in Portland on the Sunday night, but i’m sure there’s plenty to eat/do there. :slight_smile: