I recently spent 3 weeks in Portland and one of the areas I was dying to visit was the Willamette Valley. When you think of wine in the USA, one of the most popular regions that comes to mind is likely Napa Valley. But Oregon makes some spectacular Pinot Noirs in the Willamette Valley. Here’s my Dundee travel guide with some tips and recommendations for 3 days in Oregon wine country!
Where is Dundee?
Located less than an hour drive from Portland, Dundee is an easy weekend trip (or even day trip) away. Driving Southwest out from downtown Portland, you’ll pass through the suburb of Tigard, Sherwood, Newberg and finally Dundee. If you keep driving, you can check out Dayton and McMinnville to the west or Carlton and Yamhill to the north.
Where to Stay in Dundee?
For our trip, we stayed at the Dundee Hotel. They had an excellent package for travelers with dogs! Watch my Reel featuring our cute pup! While hotels are not aplenty in the area, there are a lot of airBnBs. Although you can do a day trip distance wise, it’ll be a much more enjoyable trip if you can stay the night so you can drink more wine of course! The Dundee Hotel was well appointed, reasonably priced, and with lots of amenities like on house tasting rooms. I’d highly recommend it!
Best Wineries in Dundee
The hardest decision to make is probably which wineries to visit! There’s about 40 within the actual town of Dundee and probably 100 more nearby. You can’t really go wrong but to help you make decisions, here are a few things to consider:
Do you want to visit a winery in “downtown” or out in a vineyard?
Along highway 99W, there are quite a few tasting rooms/wineries. These are quite convenient as it is very close together. However, you won’t be spoiled with vineyard views or the rolling Dundee Hills driving out north to a vineyard. We went to three:
Argyle was my favorite as the tasting room was spacious and their outdoor area was modern and beautiful. Day Wines had a skin contact organic wine- their 2020 Tears of Vulcan that was my boyfriend’s favorite for the whole trip. Dobbes had these cute outdoor domes where you can have a private tasting and bring your furry friend too! These were all great picks and I’d have loved to check out Alit too.
How much do you want to spend per bottle?
I find wine tasting fun as an experience on its own but I know lots of people taste to buy bottles. If you have a budget, make sure to check that the bottles are within your price range! I would hate for you to fall in love with a wine to realize it’s $80 a bottle and you did not want to spend that much.
Tasting fees are pretty high in Dundee averaging $30 per person waived with a two bottle purchase. Thought I find the pours quite generous and a lot of the bottles are $50+ making it worth it. A tip I’m finding is that if you want to just enjoy the ambiance, a glass is usually a much better value!
Which vineyards should I visit?
We drove out into the Dundee Hills to do tasting at the vineyards at Stoller Family Estate ($20) and Domaine Roy ($40). Stoller felt the most popular and established. If you’re looking for something approachable or bringing a group, Stoller is stunning and offers great value from a price perspective. They look like they have good food too! On the other hand, Domaine Roy was the most luxurious experience I had on the trip. Their patio is on the perfect spot looking over the Dundee Hills and the charcuterie plate was a fantastic complement to their wine.
Best Restaurants in Dundee
One thing we were left wishing for was having more contemporary food options in Dundee. That said, Red Hills Market was our favorite choice and we visited three times. They serve an array of salads, sandwiches, and pastries – their Dark Chocolate Chip & Hazelnut cookie was to die for! Additionally, there are quite a few fine dining options such as Trellis, Tina’s, and Dundee Bistro. Rather than being the most contemporary, these are more classics and serve an older demographic of wine enthusiasts.
Newberg has a few restaurants that caught our eye like Honey Pie and Rosmarino (Monday Night is Gnocchi Night). I actually found that the wineries had pretty good food and charcuterie boards themselves! Or if you drive a short 10-15 minutes to McMinnville, where there are many more dining options to check out. We couldn’t make it, but Mac Market in McMinnville looked like a cool spot.
Other Things to Do in Dundee
If you’re all wined out, might I suggest visiting an alpaca farm? This was an activity I was super stoked and giddy about! In my research, I found two places for alpaca visits: Alpacas of Oregon and Wings and a Prayer. We went to Wings and a Prayer as the tour dates were sold out at Alpacas of Oregon. We met directly with the owner and it was a private session. It’s not commercialized which is great in the sense that you get to see an authentic experience. But it also meant no photo-op spots and since we went right before the alpacas were waiting to be shorn, they were not as fluffy and cute as expected.
I learned so many new facts about alpaca and how to tell them apart from llamas! It’s $15 a person and an entertaining activity.
You can also take a drive to the other local towns including Yamhill and Carlton. In this area, I found Carlton to be the cutest town. We also had quite a bit of wine already and visited a few vineyards without doing a tasting. They are usually really welcoming for you to just walk the grounds.
I hope this Dundee travel guide was helpful to plan your next wine adventure in Oregon’s wine country!