Birds and Wine, a Magical Pairing
Nearly every inch of Tualatin Valley is prime for bird watching. However, with this handy one-day itinerary, you can combine two of your passions–birdwatching and wine tasting–into the ideal Tualatin Valley getaway.
Jump start the morning at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, home to nearly 200 species of birds, more than 50 species of mammals, 25 species of reptiles and amphibians, and a variety of insects, fish and plants. Explore the Wildlife Center, the nature store and the one-mile trail that meanders through the refuge, providing great photography opportunities along the way.
The best time to view wildlife is during the most active times for the birds and animals: dawn and dusk.
Try a progressive wine tasting and tour at Ponzi Vineyards Winery. Explore this pioneering winery’s state-of-the-art, gravity-flow winery and sample Ponzi wines as you visit each state of production during the tour (reservations required for the tour). Or, if you’d rather sample Ponzi’s collection of exquisite wines, simply visit the tasting room for a flight (no reservation required).
Enjoy lunch at the South Store Café, a quaint country cafe situated in the heart of Tualatin Valley’s agricultural area. The sweet yellow building is a cozy lunch spot for farmers, winemakers and visitors alike. From old-timey meatloaf to health-conscience matcha lattes, this cafe is a must-stop location for any visit to Tualatin Valley.
Next, take a brisk walk at Cooper Mountain Nature Park, to get ready for an afternoon of food and craft brews. Explore the more than three miles of trails that will take you through numerous habitats filled with nature trees, flowers and grasses, home to many birds and other wildlife.
Download these bird checklists to keep track of the many species you may encounter while visiting: Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge’s “Watchable Wildlife” (PDF) and Jackson Bottom Wetland’s “Bird Species Checklist” (PDF).
After taking in the awe-inspiring views of the valley, sample a flight of biodynamically farmed organic wines at Cooper Mountain Vineyards. This family-owned winery has been making wine for 40 years, and is one of the oldest wineries in Tualatin Valley. Cooper Mountain specializes in Pinot Noir, but also is known for its white wines, such as Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer.
Venture to downtown Hillsboro and browse the artisan and antique shops, along Main Street, or rest your weary soles and relax with a cup of coffee or tea–iced or hot–at Insomnia Coffee, a local coffee roaster with a lot of buzz. Taste a flight of Oregon wine made with Alaskan spirit at D’Anu Wines Tasting Room and Wine Bar, another new winery in Tualatin Valley.
Before the sun begins to set, head over to Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve, a 725-acre wildlife preserve with 4.5 miles of trails, wildlife viewing blinds and picture-perfect views. This truly is one of the best places in the valley to spot winged wildlife.