DAY 4 THE WILLAMETTE VALLEY Friday, June 21, 2019
ABOUT DAY 4
Day 4 was our day in the Willamette Valley Wine Country. We toured two wineries, one vineyard, and one olive mill with the Great Oregon Wine Tour Company. While on the tour, we saw a couple of vineyards that we wished had been on the tour. After the tour, we stopped by one of these on our own.
If you are thinking of going on a wine tour, allow me to offer some advice. Some people may not want to take my advice because, I am not a wine connoisseur. In addition, I don't really understand how a wine company can get away with selling a bottle of wine for $200, when I can buy one that tastes almost the same in the store for $20. In all honesty, I am floored at the fact that it is the supposedly "smart" people who pay these prices because they truly believe the higher priced wines have better quality. I do taste a difference in very cheap wine and moderately priced wines, however, it seems very ridiculous to spend hundreds of dollars on a bottle of wine, no matter the quality. Let me be frank, my recommendations are not about what wineries are the best. My recommendations are about how to have the best experience for the lowest cost.
If you decide to go to the Willamette Wine Country, let me make a few recommendations. Though our trip was fun, I recommend NOT booking a wine tour company. You can look online and choose ones of interest or you can follow a map of wine country and stop at the ones you want. The tours do not include tasting fees, so you would actually be saving money! Also, the tour companies do not tell you the ones you will be visiting and you don't get to see very many because you are with a large group.
If you are worried about driving after tasting so many wines, there are alternatives to using a tour company. You can hire a driver service at about $35 an hour. This is still cheaper than a tour company because 2 people can share the cost. For example, a 6 hour driver would cost around $230. If you have 2 people, it would cost you $115 a piece. This would still allow you to go to about 4 or 5 wineries for tastings until you each reached the $160 a person for going on a group tour with 10 or more people.
Another alternative for transportation is to use Uber. The average cost between wineries is $8.00. At this price, you could visit 20 wineries for $160.00, just using Uber.
DAY 4 MAP
Our Air BnB was a basement apartment. I was not sure how I was going to like the place knowing the owners were above us. You worry that the owners of these types of Air BnBs might bother you the whole time you are there. It was such a wonderful surprise. Our hosts welcomed us when we arrived, showed us around, and then left us to our stay. On Friday morning, our sweet hosts invited us to eat a big breakfast with their family. They told us about how they came to live in the region and we talked about our wine country tour. We did not even think to get pictures of the Air BnB, so I have the Air BnB Website pictures of the place below.
Click on each picture below to enlarge the picture and view the whole photo.
THE WILLAMETTE VALLEY WINE TOUR
So, we booked our tour of the Willamette Valley Wine Country with, A Great Oregon Wine Tour Company. We had a wonderful time but were a little disappointed in the tour. The company did not deliver all the amenities and services it advertised. Their customer service was fine but not professional per se. This tour was $160 and the package included the following:
Pick up and drop off at your Hotel, VRBO, Air BNB, or private residence
6 hours for tours originating in wine country from McMinnville, Newberg, and Dundee
Bottled water is provided
A wine country style lunch will be provided
4 to 5 wineries
Gratuities not included
Tasting fees are not included
No fuel surcharges
Immediately after booking the tour, we received a text giving us a pickup location at a hotel in Portland. Portland was an hour away from the Willamette Valley and our Air BnB. It clearly said in the advertisement, "Pick up and drop off at your Hotel, VRBO, Air BNB, or private residence." We called to tell them where we were staying for pick up and they told us that they picked up in Portland only. Then, the man I talked with said, "I bet you will think twice about staying in Hillsboro the next time you visit, won't you?" I very calmly replied, "Your website claims you will pick up from the customer's Air BnB. If you are visiting the Willamette Valley Wine Country, and the service advertised offers to pick you up from your Air BnB, wouldn't you think staying in the Willamette Valley Wine Country would be the right decision?" I should have added - and why in the heck would I stay an hour away from the place I am visiting to be picked up taken to where I wanted to go and brought back. I guess in this guy's world, if I went to an Auburn game, I should stay in Prattville or Newnan and be ushered back and forth, instead of conveniently staying in Auburn! GGGEEEEZZZZ! So, we asked them if we could meet them at the first place on the tour. They gave us the address for Hyland Estates and said to meet them there at 10:00 AM. We thought this seemed about right because the tour pick up was 9:00 and it is about an hour drive from Portland to Hyland Estates.
This tour took us to three vineyards and and olive mill. It began with the Hyland Estates Vineyards. It was very nice. They did not take you on a tour of the vineyards, but you did learn about the wines at the wine tasting. After this, we went to the Durant Olive Mill. I am not sure why this was on the tour, though it was a beautiful little place. They processed olive oil and we got to taste all the different kinds. Next we stopped at Anne Aime Vineyards. This place was absolutely beautiful! I met a fellow history teacher there and we had some wonderful conversation. In addition, the owner has a painting of George Washington in the sitting room! After Anne Aime, we went to Styring Vineyards. Here, we had the provided lunch that was advertised. By this time we were pretty hungry, and the lunch was a small collection of hors d'oeuvres that was probably enough to feed four people and we had ten. There were aspects of this vineyard I enjoyed. We did get to actually see the vineyard here and one of the wines from the vineyard was featured in the television show, Grimm. Our guide however, was very long winded. He lectured us for over an hour after the tastings. Some people were literally falling asleep! This kept us from seeing the last vineyard on the tour.
Even though it might seem like we did not have a good time, we did. We were disappointed with parts of the tour, but Lorna and I made it fun for us. The scenery was beautiful. We successfully conducted a bus boycott of the driver's music choices, and there was always something to laugh about. We learned about "hoes and wackers" at the last vineyard. This still makes us laugh hysterically like 12 year old kids!
These galleries are divided up by location. Click on each picture below a location to enlarge the picture and view the whole photo.
DURANT OLIVE MILL
ANNE AIME VINEYARDS
DOMAINE ROY & FILS
During our tour we saw so many wineries that we wished we had gotten the chance to see. We had a little time before they closed, so we stopped by Domaine Roy and Fils. Domaine Roy & Fils is a small, organically farmed winery and vineyard in the Dundee Hills of Willamette Valley. They focus on producing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The atmosphere, service, and wine made this place my favorite place of the day, but the cost of the wine, in my opinion, is fairy high. Each bottle is around $120. I only took a few pics of this place because to be honest, we really just enjoyed the view and conversation. I did pull some pics from their website for you to see. They are the last pictures in the gallery below.