Craft a Culinary Excursion and Raise a Glass to Oregon’s South Willamette Valley—
Where Wine Meets the Great Outdoors
Rich in volcanic soils and graced with a climate that parallels that of France, Oregon’s South Willamette Valley is home to more than 25 wineries and nearly two dozen urban tasting
rooms that make it easy to fall in love with this special place. The Eugene and Springfield metro area is surrounded by a vibrant arts scene, wine country, farms and foraging, and outdoor adventure. It’s the perfect basecamp for a wine weekend.
As part of the greater Willamette Valley American Viticulture Area (AVA), the South Willamette Valley crafts award-winning, cellar-worthy wines — think Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. Couple these extraordinary wines with outstanding farm-to-table fare and a variety of approachable outdoor adventures and you’re in for a fun-filled wine tasting getaway.
The vast King Estate Winery is one of the largest in the area
Surprisingly uncrowded, particularly during the winter months’ Cellar Season, South Willamette Valley wineries offer a friendly tasting experience with a relaxed vibe. Sometimes the people pouring the wine are the winemakers themselves, and they’re eager to share their stories with you.
Sip wine while basking in sunshine and soaking up sweeping views, or snuggle up beside a flickering fireplace as rain patters on the tasting room roof. Quality is the constant here, but each location offers a unique experience.
One of the largest wineries in the area, King Estate has Instagram-worthy panoramic views, heavenly Pinot and a gourmet restaurant. Rounding out the experience is their organically farmed orchards and gardens, a state-of-the-art winemaking facility and a birds of prey partnership with the local Cascades Raptor Center.
Drive through the beautiful Goodpasture Bridge
Another scenic stop to hit is Brigadoon Wine Company, a 66-acre multi-generation wine operation committed to sustainable agriculture. Brigadoon produces excellent Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Riesling, along with high quality Oregon grown rootstock sourced by other valley vineyards. From their four terraced gardens, watch the hawks soar overhead and glimpse the occasional elk herd grazing across the canyon.
If an urban wine experience is what you’re after, Civic Winery in downtown Eugene merges metro-cool with an environmentally responsible ethos. Working with organically and biodynamically grown grapes, this on-site winery specializes in natural amphora fermentation using clay and concrete vessels to create exceptional wines with minimal intervention.
Heceta Beach is a great spot for relaxation
Wine & Food Trails
A variety of food and beverage trails make it easy to taste all that this region has to offer. For an excellent collection of wineries, follow the South Willamette Wine Trail; or if beer and spirits are more your thing, explore the Eugene Ale Trail and the Eugene Distillery Trail. Discover award-winning breweries and distilleries headed by passionate artisans seeking to perfect their craft. Pair the beverage trails with 50 stops along the South Willamette Valley Food Trail, including forward-thinking restaurants, bakeries, cafés and farms committed to excellent local and seasonal foods.
Salt Creek Falls is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise
Journey just one hour in either direction from the Eugene-Springfield metro area and you’ll find the Oregon Coast and the Cascade Mountains.
Along the stunning stretch of Oregon’s rugged coastline near the city of Florence, you can enjoy tide pools, sea lion and whale watching and an easy hike to Heceta Head Lighthouse. You’ll also want to visit the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, one of the largest expanses of coastal sand dunes in the world. Choose your pace — fast and thrilling or slow and scenic — by booking a dune buggy ride with one of the local touring companies or renting a kayak and paddling the scenic Siltcoos River.
After exploring the coast, travel through the valley to experience the profound beauty of the Cascades. Visit Salt Creek Falls and you’ll be rewarded with an awe-inspiring view of Oregon’s second-highest single-drop cascade which can be appreciated year-round. Stop at one of the many covered bridges in the area for a picturesque photo opportunity and a look into the past.
Back in the Eugene-Springfield area, tour by bike or on foot for a low-key outdoor experience. Networks of beautifully maintained paths, bike-friendly public transportation and an abundance of bicycle shops make this is an ideal place to ride. Just as easily accessible is Eugene’s Ridgeline Trail system, which rings the southern edge of the city. Spencer Butte, the city’s highest point, crowns the Ridgeline and offers excellent views of Eugene and surrounding countryside.
No matter the season, this region provides an abundance of activities to fill your time between glasses of wine.
Discover more about this area of Oregon at EugeneCascadesCoast.org.