BEST BETS

 

1. PONZI VINEYARDS Housed in the elegant home that Dick Ponzi built for his family in the 1970s, the tasting room of this 38-year-old winery is most stunning on a cloudless day, when the soaring windows drench the lofty, tiled room with warm sunlight. The Ponzis were the first winemakers to plant and grow pinot gris locally, and their 2006 release of the varietal has proven to be their fastest-selling bottling yet. Down in Dundee, the Ponzis’ other tasting room sits right next to Dundee Bistro. 14665 SW Winery Ln, Beaverton; 503-628-1227; daily 11-5

2. REX HILL VINEYARDS Situated on a vine-covered slope just off of Hwy 99, Rex Hill (now owned by A to Z Wines) is one of the most convenient wineries to visit on a day trip from Portland, not to mention the best of the larger producers in the area (they turn out 30,000 cases a year). Housed in an old fruit-and-nut drying plant, the tasting room offers several pinots, the most notable of which is the winery’s William Hatcher’s 2005 pinot noir. 30835 Hwy 99W, Newberg; 503-538-0666; daily 11-5 (Dec-May), daily 10-5 (June-Nov)

3. BRICK HOUSE VINEYARDS Winemaker and owner Doug Tunnell, a former CBS newsman, is so committed to his 15-year-old enterprise—growing and vinifying 100 percent certified organic and biodynamic pinot noir, gamay noir and chardonnay grapes—that he lives on the very land he farms, in the old brick house for which his winery is named. Using grapes grown in the Ribbon Ridge AVA, Tunnell produces some of the best wines in the region—which, if you can snag an appointment, you’ll get to taste in a shed that doubles as his laboratory. 18200 Lewis Rogers Ln, Newberg; 503-538-5136; by appointment only

4. WILLAKENZIE ESTATE WillaKenzie may be a sprawling estate winery, but it achieves its grandiose aesthetic without feeling corporate—in fact, it’s elegantly designed, with tall ceilings, curved windows, and an impressive mural of French wine country. But the real thrill of visiting this wood-toned tasting room is the sheer number of Burgundian-style wines you’ll sample, from pinot noir to pinot gris and pinot blanc. 19143 NE Laughlin Rd, Yamhill; 503-662-3280; Fri-Sat 12-5 and Mon-Thur by appointment (Nov-April), daily 12-5 (May-Oct)

 

ALSO WORTH A VISIT

5. ADEA WINE COMPANY 26421 Hwy 47, Gaston; 503-662-4509; by appointment only
The Lowdown: Small, funky, family-run winery and tasting room with good pinot noir and even better pinot gris.

6. ADELSHEIM VINEYARD 16800 NE Calkins Ln, Newberg; 503-538-3652; Wed-Sun 11-4
The Lowdown: Opened in 1971, making it one of Oregon’s pinot pioneers.

7. BEAUX FRÈRES 15155 NE North Valley Rd, Newberg; 503-537-1137; by appointment only (if you’re lucky)
The Lowdown: Produces award-winning pinot noir that has garnered a big following (perhaps in part because the famed wine critic Robert Parker is a co-owner).

8. BERGSTROM WINERY 18215 NE Calkins Ln, Newberg; 503-554-0468; by appointment only
The Lowdown: Brand-new tasting room; offers a style of pinot noir that tends to be bigger-bodied, with fuller tannins and darker colors.

9. CHEHALEM 31190 NE Veritas Ln, Newberg; 503-538-4700; by appointment only
The Lowdown: Very good pinots, and an excellent unoaked chardonnay.

10. ELK COVE VINEYARDS 27751 NW Olson Rd, Gaston; 503-985-7760; daily 10-5
The Lowdown: One of the larger wineries (in terms of production) in Oregon, it has produced single-vineyard wines since 1979.

11. KRAMER VINEYARDS 26830 NW Olson Rd, Gaston; 503-662-4545; Sat-Sun 12-5 (Feb-Mar), daily 12-5 (Apr-Oct), Fri-Sun 12-5 (Nov-Dec)
The Lowdown: Kitschy family-run tasting room in the foothills of the Coast Range; produces pinot gris and some good pinot noir, too.

12. PATRICIA GREEN CELLARS 15225 NE North Valley Rd, Newberg; 503-554-0821; by appointment only
The Lowdown: Exceptional single-vineyard wines and one of the best representatives of the Ribbon Ridge AVA.

13. PENNER-ASH WINE CELLARS 15771 NE Ribbon Ridge Rd, Newberg; 503-554-5545; Thur-Sun 11-5
The Lowdown: Specializes in pinot noir, syrah and viognier; one of the few wineries in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA that is open to the public all year.