Ready for a getaway to the Willamette Valley? Plan your trip at OregonWineCountry.org.
It’s a fact: exploring makes you thirsty. Take this drink-inspired road trip between Oregon’s 7 Wonders, and make time to swap adventure stories over an Oregon microbrew or a hand-crafted pinot noir. You’ll discover why no Oregon journey is complete without sampling the legendary craft beverage scene that fuels Oregon’s dreamers.
1. St. Josef’s Winery
After you’ve seen the beauty of The Gorge and climbed Mt. Hood, head to the green valley below, where you’ll find St. Josef’s Winery. Owner/winemaker Josef Fleischmann was among Oregon’s earliest winemakers, and to this day maintains his five vineyards without the use of irrigation or pesticides—a theme you’ll come across again and again among Oregon winegrowers and brewers, who pride themselves on their sustainable practices.
2. The Eyrie Vineyards
From St. Josef’s head west to one of the birthplaces of Oregon wine. Fifty years ago, David Lett planted the first pinot noir vines in the Willamette Valley, giving birth to an entire industry of world-class wines and passionately independent winemakers. Pay your respects with a pilgrimage to sip Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Noir in the place where it all began.
3. Coelho Winery
Oregon has a way of drawing people in, and that’s what happened to Dave and Deolinda Coelho, who left California for Oregon Wine Country 20 years ago. Once they were here, they got to work: planting grape vines in the Eola-Amity hills; salvaging a fire-scarred building to create a showpiece tasting room and state of the art winery; and crafting fine Oregon wines alongside traditional Portuguese blends that honor the family’s heritage. Pull up a chair at Coelho Winery and taste what these dreamers have created.
4. Gilgamesh Brewing
Follow winding rounds south through lush countryside to Oregon’s capital city, Salem, where you can get a taste for the state’s booming craft beer scene. Gilgamesh Brewing calls its 130-seat restaurant, bar and event venue alongside Pringle Creek “The Campus,” and with at least 12 Gilgamesh beers on tap at all times, it’s the perfect place to expand your studies of Oregon beer.
5. Calapooia Brewing
Continue south to Albany and wander into the quirky pub near the Willamette River known as Calapooia Brewing. Locals are sometimes waiting outside when the doors are unlocked at 11 a.m., ready to grab a beer at the cozy bar or in the spacious atrium. Delicious food (burgers are made from beef fed on spent brewing grain), a rotating lineup of craft brews, and live music on weekends add to the homey vibe.
6. Block 15 Brewing
Turn west toward Corvallis, a riverside university town where you’ll find a brewery every few blocks in the historic downtown. Pay a visit to a quintessential Oregon brewery: Block 15 Brewing. At Block 15, the tasty food is sourced from local farms, the beer is brewed onsite in the basement, and for every gallon of water used in the brewing process, the owners purchase certificates to divert water back to rivers in need.
7. WildCraft Cider Works
From Corvallis, continue west to another one of Oregon’s 7 Wonders: the Oregon Coast. Take Highway 101 south, traveling from the beaches and tidepools of Newport to the dunes of Florence. From the coast, take Highway 126 east to Eugene, where WildCraft Cider Works is reviving the centuries-old tradition of cidermaking. The gurus behind WildCraft hand-pick their fruit from local orchards, some with trees dating back to the pioneer era. They then use whole-fruit fermentation and old-fashioned pressing methods to create truly unique hard ciders.
From Eugene, you can continue your 7 Wonders road trip south toward Crater Lake, or east to Smith Rock, the Painted Hills, and The Wallowas—but before you leave the Willamette Valley, tuck aside a few bottles of wine, beer or cider. At the day’s end, raise a glass to your 7 Wonders trip and the craft beverages that fueled your journey.
For more food & drink trip ideas, go to www.oregonwinecountry.org.