Tucked amongst the low-lying foothills bordering the western edge of McMinnville are the wonderful wineries and vineyards of the McMinnville AVA.

McMinnville-AVA

McMinnville is often referred to as the heart of Oregon wine country thanks to its vibrant wine scene and the annual International Pinot Noir Celebration that takes place here every July. While downtown McMinnville certainly is a destination in itself (check out R. Stuart Wine Bar, or head over to the nearby Granary District for Brittan, Eyrie and Westrey Wines), wine tasters should be sure to spend at least a day exploring the foothills that border the western edge of town. It’s among these hills that some of Oregon’s most acclaimed vineyards are planted. Many wineries throughout the valley source grapes from these gorgeous vineyards, which tend to produce Pinots that are darker and more savory than the other Willamette Valley AVAs (American Viticultural Areas).

Tucked among the hills and valleys  of this winegrowing region are a number of excellent wineries. What visitors will notice right away is that things are much calmer and more intimate out here compared to the crowded tasting rooms closer to Portland. One-on-one tastings with the winemakers is not a rarity. Nearly as wonderful as the wines is the feeling of rejuvenation that comes from escaping to this serene corner of the wine world. If you haven’t been, do yourself a favor and Go!

Featured On This Tour
Yamhill Valley Vineyards
Maysara Winery
Coeur de Terre
Youngberg Hill
Map Overview


Recommended by Brian Richardson
Brian is an editor for WineryHunt. He lives and breathes Oregon wine country.


Don’t want to drive? A Vineyard Wine Tour offers private wine tours of the Willamette Valley and is based out of McMinnville!



YAMHILL VALLEY VINEYARDS


Yamhill Valley Vineyards
503-843-3100
Open Daily 11-5pm
16250 SW Oldsville Rd, McMinnville, OR 97128
yamhill.com
Yelp: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Yamhill Valley Vineyards has deep roots in the Oregon wine scene, having been making wine since 1983. Located just off Highway 18, they are a favorite stop for wine tasters heading to and from the Oregon Coast. Tasters approaching the winery will climb a steep driveway and come to a crest with view of the winery, tucked on 150 acres against the start of the Oregon Coast foothills.

The tasting room has a great view of the vineyard off the sprawling back patio. Large groups will have no problem spreading out here, but as always be sure to call ahead if in a party of 8 or more. The life of the tasting room is the tasting room manager Linda, who keeps the conversation alive and happily pours through the winery’s Pinot noir, Pinot gris, Pinot blanc, Riesling and Chardonnays (depending on what is currently available for sale). Insider Tip: YVV often has some great case discounts going on. Be sure to ask them for any specials when visiting. 


MAYSARA WINERY


Maysara Winery
503-843-1234
Open Daily 11-4:30pm
15765 SW Muddy Valley Rd, McMinnville
maysara.com
Yelp: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Maysara Winery is a family-owned operation located on a stunningly beautiful portion of the McMinnville AVA. Owners Moe and Flora Momtazi planted the first vines in 1998, and since have raised three daughters who all are actively guiding the growth and success of the winery and vineyard. Visitors to the extravagant stone and wood winery (made from materials found on the property) will often meet one or several members of the Momtazi family working in the tasting room.

The wines at Maysara are made from the estate Momtazi Vineyard, which covers over 250 acres of the property. Following biodynamic winegrowing principals, there is a complete absence of chemical use throughout the property. The Momtazis grow a variety of plants and herbs that are used to make compost teas to nourish the vines. The wines have a sort of wildness and vibrancy to them, as thought the life of the property carries through into bottle. Winemakers throughout the region rave about the purity and character of the grapes grown here, and some are lucky enough to secure grapes for their own wines (such as St. Innocent, Chapter 24 and Kelley Fox Wines).  



COEUR DE TERRE


Coeur de Terre Winery
503-883-4111
Open Daily 11-5pm
21000 SW Eagle Point Rd, McMinnville
cdtvineyard.com
Yelp: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Of the wineries on this tour, Coeur de Terre is nestled the deepest into the foothills. A 5 minute drive from Maysara, Coeur de Terre (pronounced “Core-de-Tear” for Heart of the Land after a heart-shaped rock found on the property) is just far enough into the hills that you will forget where you are and simply revel in this winery oasis. Even cell phone service is disrupted back here, which makes this momentary respite from the world all the more pronounced.

Owners Scott and Lisa Neal had the vision and guts to build a winery and vineyard off the beaten path, and their gamble has clearly paid off. The wines are stellar, the tasting room experience top-notch, and the staff as friendly as they come. Tasters will feel right at home in the cabin-like tasting room or sitting on the wraparound deck and enjoying the view. Coeur de Terre makes a Pinot gris, Rose of Syrah, Riesling, Pinot noir and Syrah, and is open every day 11am to 5pm.

Photos: Inside the tasting room, a view of the vineyard, and sitting on the wraparound deck. Photos by CWK Photography. Aerial photos by Vinbound Marketing.


YOUNGBERG HILL


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Youngberg Hill Vineyards & Inn
503-472-2727
Open Daily 11-4pm
10660 SW Youngberg Hill Rd, McMinnville
youngberghill.com
Tripadvisor: 5 out of 5 Stars

A short drive towards McMinnville from Coeur de Terre is Youngberg Hill, a wine country estate set on a 50-acre hilltop surrounded by an organic vineyard. The 28-year old vineyard produces award winning Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris wines that you can taste while enjoying the spectacular views of the valley sweeping from Mt. Hood to the coast range. Youngberg Hill also doubles as an event space and bed-and-breakfast, which means with proper planning you will have arranged to stay the night here before your inevitable return to the “real world”.


MORE INFORMATION

Read more on this great wine region on the official McMinnville AVA Website.

Like any wine region, it’s not advised to see all the wineries in one day of tasting. On Day #2 or on your way to the Oregon Coast, be sure to visit J Wrigley and Coleman Wineries. Several wineries that grow fruit in the McMinnville AVA have tasting rooms elsewhere. These include Brittan Vineyards, Hyland Estates and Winderlea. I strongly encourage you to seek out these wineries for their high-quality wines.

MAP OVERVIEW


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