Lucky for you, it’s very hard to go wrong with any wineries in the Salem area! Here are a few fun ones:
Brooks has a wonderful blend of elegant wines and a welcoming atmosphere. It’s an absolutely gorgeous space with great views of the Cascades and a fun outside area with picnic tables and outdoor games. They even have local beer on tap if there’s someone in your group who likes microbrews more than wine! The only thing they don’t have is a regular food service — they have great cheese plates and they cook up wood-fired pizza on special event days. I would call ahead and check on food availability and perhaps bring a picnic lunch if they will not have food on the day you hope to go.
Just south of Salem, Ankeny is a great boutique winery with views out over a local wildlife refuge. They have a cozy tasting room and a beautiful deck that’s great for relaxing with a glass of wine. They even have a friendly winery dog that likes to come say hello to guests. They have delicious custom wood-fired pizza, salads, and desserts available on the weekends.
Also just south of Salem, Willamette Valley Vineyards is a much more polished and upscale wine tasting experience than the previous two wineries, though still not stuffy or pretentious (you’ll have a hard time finding an Oregon winery that is stuffy or pretentious — they tend to be pretty friendly!). However, they have a large and beautiful facility with views of the Coast Range, and they are also the only winery in the Salem area, and one of the few in Oregon, to offer a full food menu. Their in-house chef makes amazing dishes that are specifically designed to pair with their wines. Definitely worth a visit.
If none of those sound like just what you’re thinking of, visit www.OregonWineCountry.org or www.TravelSalem.com — both of them have lots of information on local wineries and should help you find the perfect spot.