Hood River wineries
While many flock to the Columbia River Gorge and the Hood River region of Oregon and Washington States for the abundant outdoor recreation – from windsurfing and kitesailing to hiking and biking – the area’s myriad wineries are a popular attraction as well.
Once you’ve chosen your comfortable Hood River accommodations, head out for the day to discover the Columbia River area’s world-class vineyards and wineries – there are 30 wineries and more than 45 vineyards to explore, thanks to perfect and diverse growing conditions that result in a huge variety of grapes. Here in the vast river valley, you won’t encounter much traffic, the tasting rooms are relaxed and jovial and the heady, rugged beauty of the Gorge is everywhere the eye can see.
The varietals found here range from Albarino to Zinfandel, the result of strikingly different microclimates. Within a forty-mile radius, this “World of Wine” experiences extreme differences in fog, wind, precipitation and temperature.
A few favorite vineyards, of all which are located close to your Hood River accommodations, include:
In the town of Mosier, Oregon, Analemma Wines has used its high-elevation vineyards to create a variety of food-friendly wines. On the weekends, the cellar is open for wine tasting at $10 per person. Informative vineyard tours are also available.
Pheasant Valley Winery
Visit the area’s first certified organic vineyard, Pheasant Valley Winery, and sample from its extensive and award-winning list of wines. Relax in the back bar or by the cozy stone fireplace with a glass of delicious wine and an antipasto platter.
If you’re visiting the Pheasant Valley Winery, Wy’east Vineyards is just a hop, skip and jump away. This is a local favorite and you’ll find many of the wines in Hood River restaurants. Just 2,000 cases are produced here each year, making this a relatively small winery for the region – all of the grapes, except the Cabernet and Syrah varietals, are grown on the property.
If you’re not staying at your Hood River accommodations for long and have time for only a couple of vineyard visits, be sure to include The Gorge White House on your itinerary. Here in this 1910 Dutch Colonial house, you’ll be able to browse the shelves holding a huge collection of bottles from local wineries, including some from Maryhill, Quennet and Marchei. Sample a taste at the counter in the back of the house – it’s a dollar per taste. Beer aficionados can taste local pints. And if the season is right, there is blueberry and flower picking in the orchard.
Your well-located Hood River accommodations will put a Columbia River Gorge winery tour high on your “must” list, yet consider these tips when planning your travels:
-As with any travel that includes wine or beer tastings, consider hiring a designated driver or tour company.
-Taste varietals you haven’t tried before! You may discover a new favorite.
-Ask questions. This is your chance to quiz the wine owners, who are full-time Gorge residents, about what makes their wine so world famous. You might also ask where to dine, where to hike, where to get the best photographs – don’t be shy!
-Use the dump buckets in the tasting rooms. When you spit out a wine or dump out the remainder in your glass, this is not insulting the wine! Instead, you’re preserving your wine palate for the next tastings – the vineyards owners recognize this and appreciate it.
-Visit mid-week to avoid crowds and have a quieter tasting-room experience. It's likely your Hood River accommodations will be less crowded, as well.
-Have fun. Don’t take the wine or yourself too seriously. Enjoy the different vintages for what they are and don’t try to become an expert oenophile overnight!