How to Plan the Ultimate Oregon Wine Tour
Visitors travel to Oregon all year long, but summer is the peak tourist season throughout the Northwest — and it’s when Oregon wine tours should be planned. The northern half of the state, west of the Cascade mountain range has a cool wet climate but summers are typically dry and warm with low humidity. Many Oregon wineries are closed during the winter months. Most wineries in Oregon are small family-owned businesses and hours vary greatly. Appointments for some wineries may be required and tasting fees are common.
Driving the Wine Routes
Willamette Valley Wine Tours
Free maps are readily available from the Willamette Valley Winery Association at any winery to plan a visit. Many wineries are located on rural roads and a few are off the beaten path on dirt roads. Every year during Memorial Day weekend and Thanksgiving weekend nearly every winery is open to the public so tasting rooms can get very busy. A good map is a necessity and a designated driver is highly recommended.
Southern Oregon Wine Tours
For a brochure with a map of Southern Oregon wineries check the Southern Oregon Wineries Association web site at Southern Oregon Wineries. Crater Lake National Park is also located in this region and is a major Oregon tourist destination.
Columbia River Gorge Wine Tours
The Columbia Gorge Winegrowers web site provides a free tour map at Columbia River Gorge.
Organized Oregon Wine Tours
An ideal way to enjoy wine country, especially the northern Willamette Valley, is to use an organized tour service. Whether you prefer a grand limousine, a humble mini-van or even a bicycle, there are a large number of services available and tours can be customized to meet your winery wish list and budget. It’s also a great way to ensure you don’t get lost on winding country roads or risk the perils of drinking and driving.
Many lodging facilities will assist you with an organized tour or try these resources:
Given the large distances between wine regions in Oregon, seeing the entire state in one visit would require a lengthy stay. Most visitors arriving by air will find the best-served market is Portland, although commercial flights are also available to Eugene and Medford. The Columbia River Gorge and Eastern Oregon are most easily reached via automobile. Portland is located about 170 miles (274 kilometers) south of Seattle, Washington or 635 miles (1022 kilometers) north of San Francisco, CA.