Joyous holiday conviviality paired with some of the Willamette Valley’s best wine is exactly what you’ll find when you head for the Dundee Hills this December. The idyllic region, just 28 miles southwest of Portland, offers many varietals, including Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and is world-renowned for their incomparable quality. From Thanksgiving until the New Year, more than 60 members of the Dundee Hills Winegrowers Association - vineyards, wineries, restaurants, retailers and lodgings - will open their doors in the festive spirit, offering exclusive vintages, special dinners and other activities that make for a worthwhile wine tasting and/or weekend getaway.
Just because the year is winding down, doesn’t mean the excitement surrounding Dundee does too. The town hums with yuletide cheer during events such as the annual Dundee Fire Truck Parade, downtown holiday lights spectacles and even a National Chocolate Candy Day celebration at Erath Winery (Dec. 28). Confectionary treats may be sweet, but when it comes to shiny parcels under the Christmas tree, for adults, there’s nothing more tempting than a gift-wrapped bottle. If you still have shopping to do, don’t stress, the area’s markets and boutiques are perfect for picking up stocking stuffers and thoughtful presents, and you can’t miss the highly-anticipated Winter’s Hill Estate’s Winter Bazaar (Dec. 14).
New this year is the Deck the Hills Barrel Tasting. 13 wineries, including names like Argyle, Archery Summit, Purple Hands and Furioso, will be serving Dundee Hills barrel samples on Saturday, December 14. At Cramoisi, you can throw on your Santa hat and take a vineyard tour before also getting a sneak peek at the new tasting room (by appointment only, Dec. 1-16). Black Walnut Inn will be pouring a Dundee Hills wine flight daily from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
For a place known for its artisan winemaking, the food is equally sublime. A quick bite and respite in between wineries is worth it at Red Hills Market, where wood-fired pizzas and sandwiches are the fare. More upscale, refined dining awaits at eateries such as The Dundee Bistro or Tina’s, where friendly waiters will help to pair delectable appetizers and entrees with a suitable local wine.
Though it’s only a short drive from Portland, many charming inns and B&Bs make staying overnight in the Dundee Hills a pleasant and convenient choice. Many of them will curate unique, wine-centric options while you enjoy their unique spaces. For bookings with Inn at Red Hills from Nov. 18 to Dec. 31, guests can get 25% off using code “DECKTHEHILLS”. The Dundee Wine Library offers visitors the option to snack on fudge or cheese samples and savor a free wine tasting when making a non-perishable food donation (Dec. 21).
Make plans to experience superb wines with family and friends this holiday season in the Dundee Hills!
For more information on activities and participating wineries, click here, or visit traveldundeeoregon.com.