Looking for a change of scenery (even if it means traveling an hour north) we headed to the heart of Willamette Valley wine country for a quick getaway. Fall in the Willamette Valley is beautiful. The heat of Summer has left, but it’s not cold. The air is fresh and earthy and it’s the one time of year you get some contrast of color to all the green. Also for those who live here, the rain hasn’t fully set in. This is the time where you aren’t sure how you are going to make it through the months of grey skies ahead.
It was my Husband’s birthday so we decided to celebrate up in the Dundee area in the heart of Oregon wine country. We technically live in wine country, but this is where most of the action is if you are looking for a lot of wineries in a close proximity. Our day started by checking in to our hotel in Dundee at the Inn at Red Hills. We stayed here because it was central, and the spot for flexible pick up with the NW Wine Shuttle which I pre-booked online.
Next we hopped on the shuttle which had multiple stops in a hop on, hop off format every half an hour. We had our stops mapped and were ready for some pinot. The shuttle was great overall and I loved having an option that was flexible.
Our first stop was Domaine Serene. It sits on a hill and is a grand main building. I was not expecting something this fancy honestly since a lot of Oregon wine country is low-key, but it is a stunning property. The views from the bar are spectacular and although it was busy they have plenty of seating indoor and outdoor.
The next stop was Vista Hills. They call their tasting room a tree house and it has an eclectic Northwest vibe. They had a host of old vinyl records, wood interior, large cozy fireplace and a large deck for outdoor seating. The view out the back is stunning and you can see all the way up the valley. This winery was also home of our favorite wine of the day, the Survivor pinot noir – a unique blend with green chile and white pepper.
Our final wine tasting stop was Stoller Family Estate which is a popular destination. They have a great, open space and expansive outdoor area. Also to note at this point we were ready to have some food and their cheese and charcuterie board was top notch. You also can bring your own picnic so this is a family friendly spot where you could come spend an afternoon, enjoy some wine and the beautiful views.
My husband and I don’t give each other gifts, but we do like to share experiences like a getaway or a nice meal. After reviewing the local options I found a complete gem near our hotel in the neighboring town of Newberg. Looking at the reviews I knew we were in for a treat with an evening at The Painted Lady. From the moment we walked up to the charming Victorian house they opened the door for us. This showcased of the level of hospitality we’d experience throughout the evening. The service was top notch and the food was creative, with unique seasonal ingredients, but flavors tapping for all over the globe.
We shared a wine pairing and also found the selections pushed outside of what you’d normally find. Each paired thoughtfully with each course it was a culinary adventure and made our weekend especially memorable. Highlights from the menu included a miso custard with Dungeness crab, black cod with oyster foam, a perfectly cooked steak, and a host of desserts almost too beautiful to eat. This is fine dining at it’s best and although definitely a special occasion spot it’s a top-notch experience in all aspects.
With full stomachs we wrapped up the day (and evening) in wine country. Have you visited any of these spots or plan to in the future? If so I’d love to hear your experience. Until next time!