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Newberg: The Gateway Town to the Willamette Valley!

a close up of a sign

Where does the Willamette Valley start? Geographically speaking, if you drive in from downtown Portland, south on Route 99, in under an hour you will reach the first wineries in the town of Newberg. Complete with vineyards, scenic tasting rooms and production facilities, Newberg is truly the gateway to the best of Oregon wines! Once you leave the hubbub of the city, Route 99 transitions to suburban strip malls, chain stores and restaurants, but keep driving a  little farther south and it gives way to farms, hills and the beginning of the spectacular scenery that makes the valley so special.

Once you reach Rex Hill Winery, you have arrived! The Chehalem Hills rise on your right to the northwest and Parrett Mountain on your left to the southeast, paralleling the Willamette River. A little farther down Route 99, the road divides and the downtown area of Newberg begins. Known as the Camellia City, complete with a spring Camellia Fest, Newberg offers dozens of wineries, including many with downtown tasting rooms (for example: Et Fille, Chehalem, D’Anu, Anum Cara), accommodations, restaurants, shopping and more!


Where to Stay?

Newberg is home to The Allison Inn & Spa, one of the premier hotels in all of Oregon, as well as the Jory Restaurant and wine bar. The Jory is named after one of the celebrated soil types in the Chehalem Hills AVA that is responsible for the unique wine flavor profile of this area.

Other options include The Setting Inn (with a second property in Napa Valley), Chehalem Ridge  B&B and Willamette Valley B&B.


Where to Eat?

Newberg is also home to several highly regarded restaurants: SubTerra, Rosemarino, The Painted Lady who often partner with local wineries for winemaker/chef food and wine pairing dinners. For more casual dining consider Honey Pie pizza for takeout and the Food Cart Pod with a variety of cuisines including Thai, Mexican, and barbeque.


Where to Taste?

But let’s get to the heart of Newberg: the world class wineries! 

Rex Hill is the premium winery connected to the widely distributed A to Z brand (and in 2022, acquired by the Chateau St Michelle winery group, largest in Washington State)

Adelsheim: David Adelsheim is one of the original settlers who planted Pinot Noir in the valley against all advice and helped launch the wine industry in Oregon.

J Christopher, owned by Ernest Loosen, the Riesling king of Germany, produces pinot noirs in the style of French burgundies with Oregon terroir as well as estate and German rieslings.

Chehalem Winery, part of the Stoller Family serves chardonnay, gruner veltliner, riesling, pinot gris and pinot noir

Roco Winery, started by Rollin Soles, one of the pioneers of the Willamette Valley, is well known for excellent sparkling wines as well as Pinot Noirs.This winery is now owned by Italian brand Santa Margherita.


In addition to the classics, don’t miss these hidden gems and personal favorites of mine:

Compris: Dru & Erin Allen purchased Vidon 2 years ago from Vicki & Don and renamed it in 2022. They make great pinot noir, tempranillo, and syrah with winemaker David Bellows and one of the nicest views of the valley. You may meet all three on your visit and be greeted like family.

Natalies Estates: Boyd & Cassandra Teegarden make amazing bold reds and red blends from Columbia Gorge and Columbia Valley grapes as well as estate Pinot Noir

Bells Up: Transplanted from Ohio, David and Sara Specter make artisanal wines with a musical theme from syrah and seyval blanc to cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir

Domaine Divio: Winemaker Bruno Corneaux consults with many well known WV labels. This winery is his personal project to make burgundy style reds and whites including pinot noir, chardonnay, gamay noir and pinot beurot (aka pinot gris)

Raptor Ridge: With views of Mount Hood, Mt Adams, Mt St Helens and Mt Rainier (if you are lucky), this winery on the north side of the Chehalem Mountain serve excellent Pinot Noirs along with rare-for-Oregon Gruner Veltliner, Auxerrois, plus Chardonnay and sparkling.

Arbor Brook: Owned by Cooper Vineyard, this winery is one of a handful of biodynamic wineries in Oregon serving excellent Pinot Noirs as well as chardonnay, rosé and pinot gris


The Takeaway?

You don’t need to travel far from Portland to enjoy the best of the Willamette Valley! Stay nearby or take a day trip from the city (with Triangle Wine Country Tours!) and find new favorite wineries, wines, scenery and a memorable experience to share with friends or family! Because Newberg is relatively close to Portland, it’s perfect for a day trip or mini-vacation. We can help with all the planning and selections to ensure you taste all the wines you wish to try and more!

Did I forget to mention Vista Balloon Tours for unforgettable birds eye views?


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