Fall Flavors Near Hood River

September 21, 2016 (Updated September 23, 2016)

Fall is by far my favorite time of year. Nothing beats the crisp air, blue skies with a tinge of wood smoke in the air, stunning colors of leaves, harvesting of apples and pumpkins and, of course, the crushing of grapes to make wine.

There is no better place to experience the colors and tastes of fall than the Columbia River Gorge. Hood River, just one hour east of Portland, has the full fall experience — wineries, fruit stands, pumpkin patches and more.

Start your journey east side of Hood River and follow the Fruit Loop signs on Highway 35 into the hills of the Gorge. (The folks who organize the Fruit Loop have put together a wonderful map that outlines all your stops along the way.) If you’d love a guide to show the way, consider an all-inclusive wine tour with MountNbarreL, now offering trips via bicycle, e-bike and van shuttle.

The Fruit Company

2900 Van Horn Drive
Hood River, OR 97031
Your first stop is The Fruit Company, one of the country’s oldest fruit basket and gourmet gift sellers. Stop by this farm stand to pick up some orchard fresh fruit or put together your own gourmet gift basket at wholesale prices.

Mt. Hood Winery

2882 Van Horn Drive
Hood River, OR 97031

But don’t get back in the car — your next stop is right in the same parking lot! “Come for the wine, stay for the views” is the motto for Mt. Hood Winery, voted best Oregon winery in 2016 by Northwest Wine Press. Just step into the tasting room and you’ll see why. Following five generations of fruit growers in the Bickford family, brothers Steve and Don Bickford opened the Mt. Hood Winery and tasting room in 2009, exactly 100 years after the founding of the farm. The wide range of wines included in their tasting give you a chance to enjoy the full range of the Columbia Gorge wine region.

Fox Tail Cider

2965 Ehrck Hill Drive
Hood River, OR 97031

A few miles further up Highway 35 is Fox Tail Cider, one of the many up-and-coming cideries in the Columbia Gorge. Fox Tail focuses on small batch craft ciders that each have “a unique story to be shared, told and enjoyed.” Taste the hard cider options made from fruit just outside the charming tasting room, ranging from the traditional apple to boysenberry, peach and even plum cider.

Wy’East Vineyards

3189 Highway 35
Hood River, OR 97031

Another few miles up the road is Wy’East Vineyards. This beautiful tasting room overlooks gorgeous fields and hills and with multiple places to sit outside, it is the ideal place to enjoy a picnic lunch or one of the winery’s prepared snack plates and a game of bocce ball. Wy’East is truly a family-run operation; owners Christie and Dick Reed are joined by their eldest daughter, Keely, and her husband to help run the operation. Be sure you try their Pinot Noirs, which are much different from the wines made in the Willamette Valley!

Mt. View Orchards

6670 Trout Creek Ridge Road
Mt Hood, OR 97041

Now you’re really in the hills and valleys of the Hood River area. Enjoy the gorgeous scenery and views of Mt. Hood as you head out to Mt. View Orchards. Pick your own apples, visit the pumpkin patch, enjoy a hayride and visit the famous Carlos the Steer. It’s the perfect place to let the kids run and enjoy the stunning scenery.

Apple Valley Country Store

2363 Tucker Road
Hood River, OR 97031

Heading back toward Hood River on Highway 281, stop at the Apple Valley Country Store to pick up homemade jams, jellies, hot sauces and pies of every variety imaginable. If you’re lucky, you’ll be there on a day when its sister store, Apple Valley BBQ, is cooking up some delicious treats!

Hood Crest Winery

1908 Orchard Road
Hood River, OR 97031

End your day with a stop at Hood Crest Winery for excellent wine, stunning views and some of the best wood-fired pizzas around. At Hood Crest Winery, you’re likely to hear winemaker Tess Barr jamming with her eponymous blues band. After all, the recording studio and record label are right there on the property. You’ll get an unparalleled experience — gorgeous views of Mt. Hood, rockin’ music, hot pizza right from the wood-fired oven and stellar wines.

About The

Carrie Wynkoop
Carrie Wynkoop is the founder of Cellar 503, a wine club featuring unique, high quality, affordable wines that represent the full range of great Oregon wine. Cellar 503 is for anyone who loves Oregon wine and wants to explore.