: Ponzi Vineyards

Enjoy Fireside Wine Tasting in Tualatin Valley This Cellar Season

Cozy up to the hearth with a glass of pinot noir or tempranillo and watch the world go by.
January 8, 2024

Once the hectic harvest season winds down, winter settles over Oregon wine country. While the vines slumber, winery cellars are alive as freshly fermented wines mature in tanks and barrels. Known as cellar season, this laid-back time of year is one of the best moments to pay a visit to wine country. Wineries are quieter and less busy, and nothing goes better with Oregon’s cool winter weather than a glass of red wine.

With its world-class wines, convenient location half an hour’s drive west of Portland, and enchanting views of evergreen forests and patchwork-patterned vineyards, the Tualatin Valley is the ideal location for a winter wine-country getaway. Here’s how to embrace Oregon’s version of hygge . just don’t forget to make a reservation before you head out to ensure there’s a cozy spot waiting just for you.

Árdíri Winery & Vineyards

Sip Pinot Next to a Personal Fire Pit

During the summer, visitors to Blakeslee Vineyard Estate outside Sherwood — about 20 miles southwest of Portland — enjoy its estate-grown, award-winning pinot noirs and chardonnays in Adirondack chairs on the sprawling lawns and picnic areas. But come winter, it’s time to retreat indoors. Make an appointment, then settle in at a table close to the stone fireplace in Blakeslee’s sheltered, gazebo-style piazza dining area. Then admire the vistas of this former Christmas tree farm while tasting through a five-wine tasting flight, or pair your favorite bottle with a charcuterie board. 

A stately stone fireplace ringed with comfy chairs anchors the rustic-chic tasting room at Sidereus Vineyard & Winery near Cornelius, about 30 miles west of Portland. Settle in with a glass of this boutique winery’s estate pinot noir or chardonnay, or keep the winter chill at bay with full-bodied  reds like tempranillo and cabernet sauvignon. In the case of Árdíri Winery & Vineyards, a boutique winery outside Cornelius, its fireplace features are more than just a nice addition to the space — they actually allude to the winery’s name and mission. A Sicilian word, árdíri has several different meanings, one of which is “consumed by fire.” Feel that fiery passion for winemaking by sidling up to one of the winery’s personal fire-pit tables, which give each group their own flickering centerpiece for a conversation over white pinot noir or riesling. There’s also a sleek communal fireplace in the tasting room for extra warmth. 

Ponzi Vineyards

Pair Sparkling Wine with Seasonal Flatbreads

Founded in 1970, Ponzi Vineyards in Sherwood was one of the very first wineries in the state of Oregon, and a pioneer in planting pinot noir in the Willamette Valley. Today, it’s a landmark producer of classic Oregon wines, including pinot noir, chardonnay and sparkling. With its modern tasting room and terraced outdoor spaces overlooking 130 acres of vineyards, it’s also a wonderful spot to grab a flight or glass and snuggle up around a fireplace or fire pit.

Although walk-in tastings are possible depending on availability, it’s best to book one of Ponzi’s many tasting experiences ahead of time on the vineyard’s website. The Signature Tasting is a great introduction to Willamette Valley wines, while the Estate Tasting includes paired bites with every pour. A tight menu of small plates like seasonal flatbreads or black tahini beet hummus served with socca crackers is available for nibbling. Or time your visit to coincide with special events like pairing classes, brunches or occasional late-night hours.  

Sosta House

Stay in a Boutique B&B and Slurp Udon Noodles

Located among the old-growth vines of Hamacher Wines in the shadow of Douglas firs, the newly opened Sosta House bed-and-breakfast offers a stylish, food-and-wine-focused stay near Beaverton. Polished, minimalist rooms overlook the lush vineyards and gardens. A crackling fire in the shared Great Room greets guests during the winter. Each day starts with a hearty breakfast delivered to the door of your room, and multicourse wine dinners are held on Sundays and Thursdays. Rejuvenate after long days of wining and dining with some Nordic hot-and-cold therapy in the barrel sauna and cold plunge.

It’s not a stay in Tualatin Valley wine country without plenty of delicious food. Head to Hillsboro for a steaming bowl of udon, fresh sushi and izakaya staples like yakitori at Syun Izakaya. At the new Hillsboro Downtown Station, a spacious and stylish indoor dining area with ample seating and a gas fireplace sustains Oregon’s love for food carts through the cold winter months. Choose from among nearly 25 different carts serving up cuisines from across the globe. Warm up with hot-chicken sandwiches from Ali’s Hot Chicken, homestyle German dishes like Kassler-style ham from Ein Berliner or savory ropa vieja from Azúcar Cuban Cuisine.

About The

Zoe Baillargeon
Zoe Baillargeon is a Portland-based freelance writer who covers travel, food & drink, the outdoors, sustainability, culture and more. Her outlets include National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveler, Outside, Wine Enthusiast, AFAR and Field Mag. When not writing, she enjoys immersing herself in Portland's amazing food scene and escaping to the Coast or Mt. Hood.

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