: Gemini Vineyards

Fresh Faces in Sherwood Wine: 4 New Wineries to Visit

See what’s new in Tualatin Valley wine at these four producers.
May 6, 2024

There’s no better way to enjoy a beautiful day than by grabbing your friends or your special someone and popping out to Tualatin Valley for wine tasting. Lush vines, sprinkles of wildflowers and expansive views all compound the sensory delights of what’s in your glass, whether that’s pinot noir, chardonnay or something bubbly.

Just 20 miles southwest of Portland, Sherwood is flanked by the Chehalem Mountains American Viticultural Area, where some of Oregon’s oldest wine labels like Erath, Adelsheim and Ponzi established vineyards in the 1970s and ’80s. Attracted by diverse terrain and a hospitable climate, these pioneers put Oregon on the map for wine lovers around the globe.

Today more than 40 wineries call the area home, including four newer reservation-only producers you might not have visited yet. So make some appointments, put a designated driver at the wheel and check out all four on a 60-mile loop through foothills and farmland — or book a wine tour and leave the driving to a pro.

Olea Vineyards

Farm Animals, Mt. Hood Views and a Vineyard Stay

When you visit Olea Vineyards just a few miles south of Sherwood, you’ll be welcomed by the canine greeting committee: Molly the golden retriever and Lola the French bulldog. Chickens, goats and a cat round out the menagerie. 

Tom and Melinda Melillo founded this winery as a creative extension of their indie record label, Olea Records (many of the wines are named after works of artists signed to the label). Visitors can settle into comfortable private seating areas both indoors and out. The patio area has a firepit and lounge chairs to enjoy views of Mt.Hood across the vineyards. All tastings are paired with a cheese board, inviting guests to linger over the selection of wines, including estate pinot noir, rosé of pinot noir, sparkling rosé of pinot noir, estate white pinot noir and a double gold medal 2019 tempranillo. Extend your wine country retreat by booking a night or two in Casa Olea — it sleeps two, with a private deck, firepit and infrared sauna.

Proteus Wines

Bocce, Pickleball and a Guided Vineyard Tour

Ten miles west of Sherwood, Proteus Wines evolved from a gathering of wine-hobbyist friends who collaborated on harvesting, bottling and sampling over potlucks. A tasting visit here begins with a stroll through one of the estate vineyard blocks with owner Peter Jacoby or a winemaker/resident sommelier. Guests learn about the local geology and soils as well as the sustainable agricultural practices Proteus embraces in accordance with organic and LIVE principles, including maximizing biodiversity on the vineyard and avoiding synthetic pesticides.

Continue your conversation on the peaceful deck over tastes of wine. The Ramato skin-contact pinot gris is a must-try, and pairs beautifully with curries, sushi or spicy foods. The white pinot noir is another notable pour here. A bocce ball court invites guests to get sporty, and you can also use the tennis/pickleball court. With advance planning, Proteus can host events for up to a dozen guests, including catering from the wood-fired pizza oven with advance notice. 

Gemini Vineyards

Sheep, Beehives and a Vineyard Walk

Emily and Luke de Hayr are the parents of twins, so when they were shopping for property, Gemini Vineyards stood out. You might meet their twin boys during your visit. Sheep, chickens and beehives contribute to the rustic charm, along with two English bulldogs, Olive and Rupert. 

After a guided stroll among the vines, you’ll sip wine under a covered pergola, savoring views of the vineyard, valley and mountain. Wines include a pinot noir rosé and the reserve Lebeau pinot noir, made from the best two barrels of each vintage. Gemini also makes excellent chardonnay and pinot noir. About a third of the property grows wild or remains open pasture to maintain a diverse and resilient ecosystem. Gemini is certified Salmon-Safe, LIVE, and Bee Friendly Farming. They welcome one group at a time, maximum six guests, and require reservations.

Lolati Wines

Live Music and Friendly Pups

Lolati Wines is a stone’s throw from Highway 99, just west of Sherwood. Winemaker and founder Leigh Brown is a professional harpist, so it’s not a surprise that Lolati often hosts live music (check the event calendar for details). After a stint at the Western Culinary Institute, she pursued winemaking in the Willamette Valley and launched Lolati in 2019 with one wine: primitivo, also known as zinfandel. 

The winery is named after Brown’s grandfather’s farm in South Africa, and the bright graphics on her labels are inspired by African fabrics. Here you can taste bold, full-bodied reds in South African styles, along with rosé of grenache and sauvignon blanc. You might meet her two border collies at the tasting room, along with chickens and a guinea fowl named Jazz.

About The

Annelise Kelly
When she's not exploring the rich culinary offerings near her Portland home, Annelise Kelly likes to hit the road seeking small-town atmosphere, old-growth hikes and hot springs. Food, history, nature and agriculture—especially baby goats—put a smile on her face.

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