Spring break is the ideal time to let loose, have a drink and appreciate the scenery we Oregonians are blessed with – and there’s no better way to do both than touring local wineries.
Skip the usual bars for a day and take a trip to some of the best views and the best wines in the area.
King Estate Winery:
80854 Territorial Hwy Eugene, Oregon 97405
Open: Wednesdays-Sundays 11-8 p.m. and Mondays and Tuesdays 11-5 p.m.
Walking through the large glass front doors, you immediately smell the oaky wood beams that line the ceiling. Within the open space is a tasting room and a full service restaurant – a unique attribute for a winery. Restaurant seating extends out on to a patio overlooking the vineyard when the weather allows. Certified organic, seasonal ingredients come from the 30 acres of gardens and orchards on this beautiful property.
Most popular wine: Signature Pinot Gris ($17) and Signature Pinot Noir ($29)
Also try: Freedom Hill Pinot Noir ($55)
Sweet Cheeks Winery:
27007 Briggs Hill Road Eugene, Oregon 97405
Open: Everyday 12-6 p.m.
Twilight tastings: Fridays 6-9 p.m.
Sweet Cheeks is perfect for relaxing and enjoying the beautiful weather, with a very large patio that marvelously overlooks the Willamette Valley. Inside, antiques line the tasting room. Cody (the owners’ black lab) roams about and the smell of firewood lingers from the fire pits outdoors. Sweet Cheeks allows outside food to be brought in, so picnicking is common. Stop by on a bustling Friday night or Sunday afternoon to enjoy live music out on the patio.
Most popular wine: Pinot Gris ($16) or Vintage Riesling ($14)
Also try: Syrah ($28)
Chateau Lorane Winery:
27415 Siuslaw River Road Lorane, Oregon 97451
Open: Everyday 12-5 p.m.
Chateau Lorane prides itself on creating different and obscure wines. For example, its Huxelrebe is a wine made from a German ’20s hybrid grape and is one of only two to three in the U.S. The winery is secluded by tree-topped hills and sits near Lake Louise. The waterfront venue is often booked up by weddings or other events, however, it will be open to the public over Memorial Day weekend.
Most popular wine: Pinot Gris ($18)
Also try: Huxelrebe ($16) or Leon Millot ($20)
Noble Estate Vineyard & Winery:
29210 Gimple Hill Road Eugene, Oregon 97402
Open: Everyday 12-5 p.m.
Noble Estate has a cabin feel, with wood accents and trees surrounding the picturesque property. It’s unique in that the owner is also the vintner, and their wine has won several awards. Noble Estate is dedicated to making high quality wine, using the right soil and just the right amount of sunshine. Additionally, it offers tasting rooms on the Oregon Coast and in West Eugene.
Most popular wine: Semi-Sparkling Muscat ($18)
Also try: Malbec ($32)
25600 Mayola Lane Eugene, Oregon 97402
Open: Fridays 12-9 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays 12-6 p.m.
Summer hours: Everyday 12-6 p.m., Fridays 2-9 p.m.
Quaint, indie, family-friendly and delicious – Sarver provides quality, reasonably priced wine and makes sure you have a pleasant experience sipping it. The “Voyage” experience allows for eight different cheese and wine pairings, specifically mastered to be the perfect combinations. They offer plenty of other snacks and even a local brew, for those who prefer grains to grapes, as Sarver says.
Most popular wine: Barrel Aged Pinot Gris ($17)
Also try: Vin Glacé ($20)
Follow Sydney Zuelke on Twitter @sydcaroline