Hikers will tell you there are two kinds of trails: one, where the trek itself is the payoff, and the other, which leads to a grand reward. While you don’t have to lace up any boots to enjoy the North Willamette Wine Trail (April 13-14), the path’s bounty of riches means you can enjoy both the journey and the destination. This weekend-long open house of more than 20 wineries, vineyards, tasting rooms and cellars offers everything from rare bottles to one-of-a-kind demonstrations, all unique to one of the country’s most vibrant winemaking valleys.
Home to around two dozen vintners, North Willamette Valley’s wine country is approximately 20 miles from downtown Portland and boasts both stunning scenery and palate-pleasing wines. The North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend, which runs the second weekend in April each year, is the ideal time to visit the wineries, which range from small boutiques like Ardiri Winery to large estates like Shafer Vineyard Cellars. Winding along the wine trail reveals riches far beyond the vine — food pairings, live music, tours and hands-on activities also abound.
And then there’s the wine. Known for some of the world’s best pinot noir grapes, the valley’s wines — sought after the world over — are abundantly accessible along this route. From new releases to reserve labels, there are tastings aplenty along the trail, with barrel tappings by winemakers a common sight throughout the weekend.
Passes are now available, with options for weekend-long ($45) or Sunday-only tickets ($30).