Newcomer Day Trip: Hawks View Cellar
?When former Ten 01 sommelier Erica Landon became hospitality and sales director at Hawks View Cellars last year, she put the young winery on the map. Hawks View, which made its first vintage in 2007, is already producing some of the finest pinot noir and pinot gris in the Willamette Valley. (Last year, our wine critic, Conde Cox, deemed its 2007 pinot noir the third-best wine in the entire state, and in August Wine & Spirits gave its 2008 pinot gris a 92). Winemaker Ryan Harms, who was previously at Rex Hill, also buys fruit from top-end vineyards for single-vineyard wines such as the 2008 syrah.
Located in the Chehalem Mountain AVA—an easy, 25-mile drive from Portland—the vineyard benefits from a volcanic soil that’s topped with a layer of loess (a mixture of volcanic and marine sediment). The tasting room is by appointment only, which gives Landon and general manager A.J. Kemp ample time to tell you about the wine, the soil, and anything else you might be curious to learn. “We can geek out as much or as little as you like,” says Kemp, who emphasizes the customized nature of the experience. Landon will prepare a generous cheese plate, and you can spend a leisurely few hours touring the vineyard (originally planted in 1991 by the Benzinger family) and the cellar. You’re welcome to play the baby piano or linger on the garden terrace, too, drinking down your bottle of pinot gris as you enjoy unobstructed views of five Cascade peaks. 20210 SW Conzelman Rd, Sherwood; 503-625-1591; hawksviewcellars.com; $15 tasting fee
Active Traveler Day Trip: Take a Spin
?Biking is one of the best ways to explore the pastoral back roads of wine country. Here are two of our favorite itineraries—one self-guided and the other with a Portland-based outfitter.
• The new, 132-mile Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway starts in Champoeg State Park and winds along the Willamette River—past hop fields, hazelnut orchards, and wildlife refuges—all the way to Eugene. The wondrous wineries of the Eola-Amity Hills are just a short detour off the route, at mile 26. And, if you decide to bike the whole thing, there are plenty of bed-and-breakfasts along the way—in Independence, Salem, and Albany. oregonscenicbikeways.org
• If you’re just looking for an afternoon getaway, Pedal Bike Tours will ferry you from Portland to the Willamette Valley for a 12-mile loop down hilly backcountry roads—from Dundee to the Ribbon Ridge AVA. After the ride, you’ll be rewarded with tastings at three well-known Dundee Hills vineyards: Erath, the Four Graces, and Lange. 503-877-2453; pedalbiketours.com; $89 per person, including bike rental