In Oregon’s inviting Willamette Valley, more than 150 wineries and tasting rooms will offer samples of the region’s acclaimed Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Riesling during the annual “Memorial Weekend in the Wine Country,” May 29-31. Here, half an hour south of Portland, scenic back roads link a handful of small towns, skirting fields of hops and grass seed, truck gardens and nursery stock, fruit orchards and hazelnuts. Scattered roadside stands sell seasonal produce, and blue road signs direct travelers to 200 or more wineries that have emerged in the past 25 years along the burgeoning Oregon wine trail.
With climate characteristics similar to those of Burgundy, the region has built a reputation for world-class Pinot Noirs, attracting an impressive number of excellent chef-owned restaurants to the surrounding towns. You can download wine tour maps provided by the Willamette Valley Wineries Association. The Harper-recommended Black Walnut Inn offers fine accommodations just outside the town of Dundee, with views across vineyards and rolling hills, and granting easy access to many of the region’s best wineries, tasting rooms and restaurants.