Wine and Farm Tour of Oregon’s Tualatin Valley
In Oregon’s Tualatin Valley, nature, agriculture, history and wine are undeniably intertwined. Just minutes from nearby Portland, the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route showcases this special comingling of attractions along its 60-mile drive through the serene Oregon countryside.
Reconnect with nature and the simpler joys of life and escape to the farms and vineyards of Tualatin Valley. This two-day itinerary takes you to some of the highlights of the Scenic Tour Route, with stops at our signature wineries along the way.
Start with your tour in the small community of Helvetia and a hearty meal. One bite out of a Helvetia Tavern burger, and you will see why it continually lands on the top 10 list of best burgers around. This no-frills restaurant focuses on traditional, simple burgers, grilled sandwiches, fries and onion rings. For the vegetarians and pescatarians, the tavern has meat-free options, as well as fish and chips. Bring cash, as the tavern does not accept credit cards.
Next, visit Helvetia Winery and Vineyards, located in the 100-year-old former house of Jacob Yungen, an early Washington County winemaker. Prior to Prohibition, this area was known as “Grape Hill” due to its cottage wine industry. Most grape vines that existed at the time were destroyed during Prohibition.
If your visit coincides with lavender season (usually mid-June through mid-August), visit Helvetia Lavender Farm. This farm boasts 1,000 lavender plants and beautiful gardens, provides tea service and lavender classes (by appointment), and offers u-cut lavender. The farm is a site for the Oregon Lavender Festival (July), at which time vendors, musicians and craft classes provide a relaxing, entertaining day in the country.
As you continue along the route, stop at Blooming Junction, a nursery specializing in farm-grown produce and plants. Grab some of the fresh-picked produce for snacking while driving along the Scenic Tour Route.
Enjoy the ride while viewing the bucolic farmland as you travel to the small city of Forest Grove. Hop over to Montinore Estate, the second-largest producer of biodynamically farmed organic wines in the country. A family-run winery, Montinore Estate holds high standards in sustainable agriculture and careful craftsmanship and is committed to creating estate grown and bottled, balanced wines that are true to their varietal characteristics as well as this special place in the Northwest Willamette Valley.
For dinner, head into downtown Forest Grove and experience this community’s growing dining scene. If you crave Hawaiian specialties, try Kama’aina, which has earned national acclaim in food magazines. For Asian fusion, Bites Restaurant offers a selection of shareable bite-sized “tapas” and full-sized entrees, all with Asian flair.
After a day of exploration, overnight in one of our hotels and rest up for your next day of adventure.
Rise and shine and start your second day of exploration along the southern route of the Vineyard & Valley Scenic Tour Route, starting in the rich-in-agriculture community of Scholls.
Enjoy breakfast at the South Store Café, a quaint country café 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 café is a must-stop location for any visit to Tualatin Valley.
Next, pop over to Smith Berry Barn, located across the street from the café. The historic barn houses aromatic candles, lotions, honey and teas. Basically, it’s a delicious heaven. Surrounding the barn store, seasonal u-pick and garden wares tempt even those with a black thumb.
If your trip falls in June or July, then follow the scent of lavender to Mountainside Lavender Farm. Lavender fields are good for the soul. Bring the fragrance home with you by way of Mountainside’s massage oil, eye pillows and lip balm (all made with lavender from the farm).
Next 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).
Detour off of the Scenic Tour Route and drive to Unger Farms and enjoy a sandwich or berry treat from the Berry Café. After a bite, pick strawberries, or peruse the gift shop and pick up some local wines, crafts and products.
Next, visit Oak Knoll Winery, another of the valley’s oldest wineries. Oak Knoll started as a berry wine producer more than 45 years ago. Today it produces a wide array of varietals, including Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Riesling (you can still get berry wines, too). This historic winery also produces the official wines for the annual Portland Rose Festival!
From one of the oldest to one of the newest, visit Blizzard Wines. The tasting room has a stunning view of the hills and the family’s vineyard, VanSchepen Vineyards. Blizzard wines creates amazing big red wines from Eastern Washington like Syrah and Carmenere and delicate Pinot Noir from the estate vineyard.
After your jam-packed day in Tualatin Valley, retire back to your hotel and rest for your return home. Find a restaurant near your hotel or use our guide to find a great restaurant near you.