Top Willamette Valley Vineyards Destinations | Travel Zone by Best Western

Top Willamette Valley Vineyards

By Stuart Hughes

There is something special about family-run businesses – maybe it’s because they provide a sense of commitment, trust, and authenticity – however, nowhere is this sentiment more evident than when visiting a multi-generational winery. As a result, we’re heading to the wine-making capital of Oregon to tell you about the four best family-owned Willamette Valley vineyards you must visit. 


Often referred to as the Napa Valley of Oregon State, Willamette Valley wineries have a long and illustrious history of producing the best grapes to consistently deliver an incredible range of earthy Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris wines. 



WillaKenzie Estate 


Famous for its fantastic variations of Pinot Noir red wine, first on our list of family-owned Willamette Valley vineyards finds us at the 420-acre WillaKenzie Estate. Impressively, WillaKenzie Estate winery has six distinctive vineyards, each producing exotic Pinot Noir variations due to the differing terroir (soil variation), elevation, and angled slopes. 


As one of the most popular family-farmed vineyards in Willamette Valley, WillaKenzie Estate is named in tribute to the two major rivers in Willamette Valley: the Willamette and McKenzie. With a fantastic interactive ATV tour of the vineyards and fabulous tasting room, we recommend you taste the 2018 Estate Cuvée Pinot Noir or try their top-of-the-range 2018 La Crête Pinot Noir. 



Elk Cove Vineyard 


Family-owned Willamette Valley vineyards with spectacular views of the Oregon countryside don’t get much better than our second recommendation: Elk Cove Vineyard. Founded in 1974, it was the first vineyard and winery in what is now the Yamhill Carlton AVA, whose vineyards have expanded to over 380 planted acres. 


Known for producing an exciting array of white, rose, and red wines, Elk Cove has become a must-visit Willamette Valley winery for any wine enthusiast frequenting the area. Drop in and enjoy the winery’s indoor and outdoor tasting areas, where we recommend sampling the Elk Cove Vineyard’s Goodrich Chardonnay white wine, or if you’re in the mood for bubbles, try their Brut Rose sparkling wine, too.  



Yamhill Valley Vineyards 


As the oldest winery in the McMinnville AVA, the family-run Yamhill Valley Vineyards makes for a sensational wine-tasting adventure any time of year. Recognized as a leading Pinot Noir winery in Willamette Valley, Yamhill Valley Vineyards also produces a tasty range of Pinot Blanc, Riesling, and Rose, all developed from its over 40 years of expertise in grape harvesting 


Featuring prominently in our shortlist of family-owned Willamette Valley vineyards, Yamhill Valley Vineyards maintains its 100% record of estate-grown wines produced across this 150-acre vineyard. Checking out their indoor and outdoor tasting venues provides an excellent opportunity to try their famous 2016 Pinot Noir Reserve red wine and 2019 Riesling white wine. 


The Eyrie Vineyards 


Our final recommendation on our shortlist of the best family-owned Willamette Valley vineyards is The Eyrie Vineyards, which traces its history back to its pioneering founder, David Lett. Keeping it the family today, The Eyrie Vineyards still specializes in family-farmed Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris with its multi-generational approach to wine growing. 


With cascading views across its vineyards in Willamette Valley, The Eyrie Vineyards provides a stunning backdrop while you sample its fine wines and learn about this historic winery’s past. Another top tip is you must try the remarkable 2019 Pinot Noir Sisters red wine and their 2021 Pinot Gris The Eyrie when you’re on-site. 


Cheers to Willamette Valley’s Fine Wines 


The wineries in Willamette Valley hold a special place in the heart of any wine enthusiast who visits Oregon’s sweeping hills of vineyards. Specialists in the Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris variations, paying a visit to all these must-see family-owned Willamette Valley vineyards makes for a memorable wine-infused vacation to this famous wine-growing region 


Whether it’s the warm hospitality or the rich family history, each of these top vineyards in Willamette Valley has developed its own expertise and won’t leave you disappointed. Ideal for a romantic trip or a great week away with friends, you can heighten the whole experience when you book ahead to stay at the impressive Best Western Premier Keizer/Salem Hotel when stopping in at all four family-owned Willamette Valley vineyards. 


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