How to Visit Oregon’s Willamette Valley and Drink a Ton of Pinot Noir

On Friday night, Heron and I joined our family in the Willamette Valley outside of Portland, Oregon, where we drank so many pinot noir that I felt like my blood had literally been turned into wine. It was my first time in the valley, and I was surprised to find that it reminded me so much of my home in New England. In the photo above, you can see the thick fog that hugged the grape vines at Domaine Serene, a fantastic winery with some earthy and complex pinots and a dry rose. It rained the entire weekend, but I enjoyed it. The fog enveloped the entire scene, and it forced me to examine what was right in front of me, and I was in the moment and focused on family and friends. Below you will find some of the photos I took in the Willamette Valley to highlight some of the places we drank and ate.

Photo in Oregon .jpgWhat struck me about the Willamette Valley is how green it is. My brother-in-law went on a run, and he came back and said he felt like he just ran through a jungle. The views are lush, and the rain warm.

Rose .jpg

We drank a lot of wine, but we did something that I never did before: an olive oil tasting. It wasn’t my idea, and we almost went to a local brewery instead, but I was so glad that I stuck around for the olive oil tour at the Oregon Olive Mill at Red Ridge. We tried olive oil in official tasters, and what I learned was that when tasting olive oil there is a peppery, almost spicy taste at the finish. I had one olive oil that hit me like I had just ingested a bunch of pepper. We had a lunch after the olive oil tour, and everything was drenched in olive oil, including coconut ice cream with a bit of sea salt.


The rose above was taken on the grounds. Someone who is a part of my family pointed out the rose above and said: “Take a photo of that rose. It’s Mother Nature at her finest.” Hope I did it justice.


Final shot is of a hazelnut. At the bottom of the olive plants, they use hazelnut shells as ground cover.

5 thoughts on “How to Visit Oregon’s Willamette Valley and Drink a Ton of Pinot Noir”

  1. You really captured Willamette well! I’m heading up that way tomorrow, though the weather will be sunnier than when you went I’m guessing. It’s currently my favorite retirement destination to consider. Although we live in Napa Valley, California and that doesn’t suck either. You may enjoy our wine country blog: Follow us if you like what you see.

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