The Pacific Northwest has become an increasingly popular wine destination. Oregon’s pinot noir has been hailed as the nation’s very best in 2012, while the most influential wine publication Wine Spectator has 10 of the region’s on its annual top 100 list. If you’re a wine enthusiast who is planning a vacation to the Northwest, or is lucky enough to live here, don’t miss these amazing wine experiences.
A Hot-Air Balloon Tour over the Willamette Valley with Vista Balloon Adventures
Oregon’s Willamette Valley is the state’s largest winemaking region with more than 200 wineries in the area. You can get a bird’s eye view of the lush, rolling green hills from great heights during a ride ride with Vista Balloon Adventures out of Newburg, just 30 minutes from Portland.
The three-hour trip includes including an approximately one-hour hot air balloon flight and a gourmet brunch.
Private Willamette Valley Wine Tour with Americas Hub World Tours
If you really want to go all out and get an in-depth experience of the Willamette Valley, take a customized, private tour with Americas Hub World Tours. It includes a full of wine tasting, education, and fun for everyone from the novice to experienced wine tasters. Visits to three of the following vineyards are included: Elk Cove Vineyard , David Hill Winery, Trisaetum Vineyard, Montinore Estate, WillaKenzie Estate, Erath Winery, Domaine Drouhin, Durant Vineyards, The Four Graces, Colene Clemens, Tresori Vineyards, Blakeslee Vineyard, Sokol Blosser, Ponzi Winery, Tualatin Estate Vineyard.
Wine and Horses in the Yakima Valley
The state of Washington is also home to some impressive wine country regions, and one of the best is the Yakima Valley. Here you can enjoy the unique experience of playing cowboy or girl at the Cherry Wood Bed and Breakfast while learning about and tasting the wine that’s produced there. It includes basic riding instruction, and as you ride through the countryside, you’ll learn about the farming operation along with the grapes that are grown, riding from one winery to another.
Wine and Music
There are a few wineries in the Northwest that offer the chance to combine one’s love for music and tasty vino.
The Columbia River Gorge, which separates Washington and Oregon, is home to multiple wineries on both sides of the water. During the summer months, Washington’s Maryhill Winery hosts live concerts in its outdoor amphitheater, providing the perfect way to cap off a day of wine tasting and touring.
Over at the sprawling mansion of Chateau Ste Michelle in Woodenville, in the summertime you can enjoy a picnic paired with wine on the beautifully-manicured lawns while taking in a concert between late May and September. While you’re there, you can check out some of the area’s other wineries too, with many setting up tasting rooms here in recent years.
Walla Walla Wine B&B
At Abeja Winery in Walla Walla, Washington, which was converted from an old wheat and dairy farm, only guests of its inn can visit and participate in wine tastings. Book a room and the staff will welcome you with a free glass at check-in, and in the morning breakfast is served in the former dairy barn. This is also where the wine tastings are held. Your host will ask lots of questions in order to ensure she pours the perfect glass.
Wine and Rafting on the Rogue River
OARS offers a trip on the Rogue River that’s specially designed for those who love wine and also enjoy paddling through a pristine river. After a thrilling day riding the whitewater, guests enjoy gourmet means and premium wines from some of the West’s top vintners.
According to OARS, it includes “knowledgeable wine stewards and five-star epicurean offerings from renowned regional chefs. Not only that, but the wines selected for our wine tasting trips are carefully chosen to complement the menus, making dinner each night more akin to a fine restaurant experience than camp fare on the banks of a scenic river.”