Thanksgiving weekend is a special time of year for winemakers and wine enthusiasts in Oregon — when more than 100 wineries in the Willamette Valley and many, many more across the state throw open their doors to visitors for a giant party. Wine Country Thanksgiving, held each year around the holiday, offers special tastings, new releases, food pairings, live music, holiday discounts and more.
The holiday open house tradition dates back to the early 1980s, as the first generation of Oregon winemakers rooted in the nutrient-rich soil, perfect for pinot noir and other varietals. Wine lovers of all stripes now flock to the valley to sip their way through their favorite spots and panoramic vistas and explore new ones. For some smaller operations, it’s just one of a few weekends a year when they are open to the public. Here’s a roundup of several Thanksgiving weekend events in the Willamette Valley to explore. Find listings for more Willamette Valley vineyards here.
North Willamette Valley
Newberg — Open to the public on a limited basis, family-friendly Styring will open its doors for Thanksgiving weekend to celebrate a new-release bubbly just in time for the holidays, as well as offer a full range of wines from bright and lively whites to rich pinot noirs. Reserved indoor and outdoor seating is available.
Dundee — The Four Graces’ Foley Family Vineyard serves up vertical-vintage pinot noir tasting flights (among others) paired with small bites, set to live music. Pick up gifts at the holiday makers market, too. Meanwhile, Knudsen Vineyards offers guided 2-mile hikes through the property with tastings and lunch, demonstrating how the grapes (and wine) develop.
Carlton — The speakeasy-vibe tasting room at K&M Alchemy Vineyard sets the scene for relaxing as visitors sip new releases of its estate-grown pinot noir and chardonnay from vines about four decades old. Live music and food keep the festive atmosphere going.
Turner — Founded in 1983 by Oregon wine pioneer Jim Bernau, Willamette Valley Vineyards offers an intimate seated wine tasting in its cellar each day during Wine Country Thanksgiving, featuring limited releases such as the Quinta Reserva port-style pinot noir paired with a handcrafted chocolate truffle.
Philomath — Compton Family Wines grows its own grapes through regenerative practices within a few miles of downtown, where the wine itself is made. Try pinot noirs, pinot blancs and other varietals that reflect the rich, healthy soil these sustainable techniques deliver.
Salem — The Wine Collective at Björnson Vineyard offers premium and collectible wines from small Oregon producers including Arabilis, Denison Cellars, and newcomers Cho Wines and Sun Break Wine and Cider, among others. Amity — Farmers Dave and Deolinda Coelho specialize in producing single-vineyard pinots and chardonnays from fruit they grow themselves. For the holidays Coelho Winery will be offering a vertical library flight of a traditional blended red made in the Portuguese style. Pair it with small bites to bring out the unique qualities of a bold wine.
Amity — Farmers Dave and Deolinda Coelho specialize in producing single-vineyard pinots and chardonnays from fruit they grow themselves. For the holidays Coelho Winery will be offering a vertical library flight of a traditional blended red made in the Portuguese style. Pair it with small bites to bring out the unique qualities of a bold wine.
South Willamette Valley
Eugene — Silvan Ridge Winery is one of the many South Willamette Wine Trail tasting rooms that will feature a special library wine flight and more in a family-friendly space. Book a weekday Willamette Valley Wine Tour to sample pinot noir and more at three wineries near Eugene with the convenience of a driver and hotel pick-up. If you’re staying downtown, stop by one of many tasting rooms and wine bars near the urban center. Territorial Vineyards & Wine Company keeps it mellow with live music on Thursday and Friday evenings from September through January.
Sipping Beyond the Willamette Valley
Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge — In the Columbia River Gorge, you can taste flights of more than 50 grape varietals grown across a 40-mile stretch. Sign up for a free Mt. Hood Territory Wine Trail mobile passport and sip your way through the 15 wineries to win a prize. Many of the wineries have their own events, so call ahead to see what’s happening.
Southern Oregon — Experience world-class wines along four trails: the Applegate Valley Wine Trail around Ashland; the Upper Rogue Wine Trail around Medford; the Bear Creek Wine Trail around Ashland, Medford and Jacksonville; and the Umpqua Valley Wine Trail around Roseburg. Each trail includes maps, passport info and tips for visiting this acclaimed wine-growing region. Call ahead for special Thanksgiving deals and events.
Portland Region — Some of the hottest destinations for urban wine are Coopers Hall Winery and Taproom in Southeast and Amaterra, a 46,000-square-foot facility including a 12-acre vineyard that opened in 2022 in Portland’s West Hills. If you’re looking for the perfect holiday gift for your favorite wine lover in Forest Grove, head to Apolloni Vineyards’ tasting room, where you’ll find a market of local wares, seasonal rotating wine tastings and views of the Tualatin Hills. In McMinnville, Coeur de Terre Vineyard celebrates more than 20 years of making wine, offering both new releases and also tastes of classic vintages by reservation. Ponzi Vineyards in Sherwood pairs flights of pinot noir and chardonnay with an autumnal lunch by the winery’s resident chef, Nathan Jones. Warm up by the fire and take in the surrounding Avellana vineyard from the terrace. Reservations required.
If You Go:
There’s no lack of options for lodging, dining and transportation around the Willamette Valley.
- Lodging: Wine-country retreats range from cozy B&Bs to rustic glamping to luxury vineyard rental homes. Make yourself a comfy base camp at the The Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg; McMenamins Hotel Oregon in McMinnville; The Vintages Trailer Resort in Dayton; or Black Walnut Inn & Vineyard in Dundee, a European villa-inspired bed and breakfast high on the hillside with panoramic views of the valley below. In Eugene, Inn at the 5th is a gorgeous downtown boutique hotel with discounts for local wine-country hot spots. Find more unique Willamette Valley lodging options here.
- Dining: Farm-fresh and seasonal options in wine country are abundant. Don’t miss the walnut bread pudding French toast for Sunday brunch at Ruddick/Wood in Newberg, and for some of the best barbecue in the region, head to Storrs Smokehouse in Newberg for melt-in-your-mouth brisket and all the fixins. The wine-forward Marche Restaurant in downtown Eugene offers award-winning Pacific Northwest-French fusion fare with beautiful wine pairings. See Willamette Valley’s food listings for more options.
- Transportation: If you want to skip the driving and organizing and pamper yourself with a little VIP service, schedule a wine-country tour for part of the weekend. Two dozen operators now offer such tours, from luxury limo and town car rides to guided backcountry adventures, many offering custom itineraries and appetizers or picnic fare. McMinnville-based Insiders Wine Tour specializes in small boutique wineries. Evergreen Escapes, meanwhile, offers a Willamette Valley Wine & Waterfalls tour that takes small groups on a personable deep dive of top spots in the region.
- Feel free to stock up on your favorite bottles to enjoy at home: Alaska Airlines’ Oregon Wine Flies Free program lets you check up to a case of wine for no charge for mileage-plan members flying within the United States from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and CaliforniaMedford, Portland, Redmond or Walla Walla, Wash.