The Portland area is a destination you will easily fall in love with. You can bike through the highland forests and vine-covered hills, hike scenic trails, enjoy the craft brewery offering and explore Portland’s original and relaxed culture. But if there’s one thing you can’t miss, it’s the gourmet specialties you can enjoy in-between activities. Here you are at the gateway to the Oregon wine region, so expect exceptional wineries with equally extraordinary settings and lively wine bars, as well as delicious artisanal products that complement the region’s wine culture.
In the heart of the vineyards
The tinkling of wine glasses, generous plates of exceptional cheeses and lush green valleys: this is what awaits you in the Portland area. Make your first stop at Pete’s Mountain Vineyard & Winery in West Linn. This winery’s tasting room and patio offer stunning views of Mount Hood and the Willamette River. Each summer, the winery hosts “Dinners in the Field”, meals in the heart of the vineyard with a chef’s menu and a selection of house wines. Continue on to Ponzi Vineyards, a leading family-owned winery in Sherwood that is LIVE certified for its sustainable approach. Savouring a Pinot Noir in front of the Chehalem Mountains knowing it has been grown according to the principles of sustainable development makes it even better. Next, head to David Hill Vineyards & Winery, a winery popular with wine lovers for its old pinot noir grape variety. You will be welcomed at the top of a hill in a pleasant historic farmhouse. This is where the tasting room is located and where many wine-related events are held.
Best wine bars
Downtown, the wine bars attract connoisseurs and novices alike with their intriguing wine lists, delicious appetizers and warm ambience. If you like bubbly, try Ambonnay, Portland’s premier champagne and sparkling wine bar. It offers a selection of sparkling wines by the glass or bottle and snacks including artisan cheeses, green olives and truffle popcorn. Check out Pairings Portland Wine Shop & Bar, an unusual boutique bar that is considered Portland’s strangest. Enjoy the surprising atmosphere (wine is chosen based on your favorite movie character and your zodiac sign!), and leave with a great selection of wines to savor. Continue your pub crawl at Bar Vivant, which serves tapas inspired by the Spanish city of San Sebastian, but revisited in the style of Portland. It’s the kind of place you come to for exceptional wines and where you’re pleasantly surprised by the remarkable quality of the food. The bar has Pix Patisserie as a roommate, so if you’re in the mood for macaroons, éclairs and other sweets that will remind you of France and Paris, you’ll kill two birds with one stone.
Culture of gourmet craftsmanship
The richness of this terroir is being showcased by Portland’s wine producers and chefs, but also by the growing number of food artisans. For example, Quin Candy, a candy store that makes rosé lollipops, and Olympia Provisions, a deli that makes its own sausages, salamis and pies from Pacific Northwest meats, are available in local stores. Jacobsen Salt Company harvests sea salt along the Oregon Coast and sells it as a quality condiment or incorporated into popular specialty products such as salted caramel candies. Taste their pinot noir salt inspired by the flagship wine of the Willamette Valley. At Missionary Chocolates, chocolate truffles are made without dairy products and are rich in flavour, with a choice of flavours including Meyer lemon, spicy cinnamon and salted caramel. You won’t be able to resist the urge to buy a box, or even several to share with your loved ones. The hardest part will be not opening them until you get home! But if you crack, I promise we won’t say anything.
Land at Portland International Airport (PDX) and rent a car to explore the city and its surrounding wine region.