Food and beverage establishments around the world have rushed to add outdoor seating as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, but the dozens and dozens of wineries that dot the hills outside McMinnville, Dundee, Newberg, Carlton and other Willamette Valley towns have a head start in this area.
After all, a sidewalk table in town is fine, but one where your view is across acres upon acres of grape orchards? We mean, go.
With the onset of the rainy season and many wineries preparing to receive the visitor crush that Thanksgiving traditionally brings, we’ve learned about some vineyards in the region that have taken the covered and heated outdoor seating to the next level. Here are six that are well worth going down 99-W, plus a few bonus choices from savvy locals.
The cave : Domaine Lenné, 18760 NE Laughlin Rd, Yamhill
The seat: A covered back patio, with glazed garage doors on three sides, electric overhead heaters and propane heaters as needed, plus views for days of surrounding vineyards. (They also accept dogs.) Indoor tastings near their fireplaces are also available.
To drink: Try a tasting flight of five wines from their on-site vineyards for $ 20 ‚a Chardonnay and four Pinots Noirs. It’s $ 20 per person, which is refunded with any two-bottle purchase or wine club registration.
And for eating : You are welcome to bring your own snacks, or they have charcuterie and cheese boards available for purchase.
Hours: Open from Thursday to Monday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment. More info and reservations on lenneestate.com/contact
The cave : Cana Feast Vineyard, 750 Lincoln Street West, Carlton
The seat: Two pergolas in the outdoor seating area, both with blinds that lower to reduce the wind, but allow views. There are radiators in both spaces and a fireplace in one of them. All tastings are outside at the moment, as interior space is limited. Do not sleep on the pétanque court on site.
To drink: The cellar has just released a new Syrah, and November brings a new vintage of Barbera. Particularly festive note: look for mulled wine to put it on the menu, closer to the holidays. Other wines currently on the tasting room menu include a 2018 Pinot Noir and a 2017 Cabernet Franc; a flight of 6 for $ 20 per person, which is canceled for the purchase of bottles of at least $ 35.
And for eating : Buy one of their cheese platters to go with all that fine wine.
Hours: Open daily, 11 am-5pm. More info here: canasfeast.com/visit- us/
The cave : Vidon vineyard, 17425 NE Hillside Drive, Newberg
The seat: Relax on a comfortable sectional sofa in their gazebo with up to four other people; heaters and blankets are available to ward off the fall cold. Larger groups can display on their outdoor crush pad, allowing a peek at the production space, as well as a view of the surrounding vineyard, complete with a heater and blankets. available. There are also outdoor tables with umbrellas, with a limited number of heaters and blankets available (in other words, if you’ll be sitting there, plan to bundle up.)
To drink: Expect a flight that includes a chardonnay, two to three different Pinot Noirs and a bold red to finish, perhaps a Syrah or a Tempranillo. Or before the game for the holidays with a glass of “Mull’igan”, their spicy red wine.
And for eating : Charcuterie boards for everyone!
Hours: Open by appointment, from Wednesday to Sunday. More info on vidonvineyards.com.
The cave : Winderlea vineyard and winery, 8905 NE Worden Hill Road, Dundee
The seat: Imagine being in Iceland or Montreal in Winderlea’s private, enclosed geodesic domes, which are well placed for maximum views of the vineyard. Each dome is equipped with a heater and blankets on request, although on sunny days they heat up quickly on their own, while protecting you from the elements. Note that proof of vaccination is required.
To drink: Tasting flights are available between $ 25 and $ 40 per person and can include Chardonnays, Pinots Noirs, Pinots Blancs, and sparkling wine.
To eat: Small plates are available here, true to form for a cellar that presents its wines as particularly convivial.
Hours: Daily for indoor seats, Friday, Saturday and Sunday for outdoor domes. More info on winderlea.com.
The cave : Alexana, 12001 NE Worden Hill Road, Dundee
The seat: A 2,000 square foot covered terrace, with plenty of comfortable seating, blankets on request and modular heaters. Bonus: the view of the Oregon Coast Range mountains in the distance.
To drink: Flights range from $ 30 per person to $ 75 per person, and include rarely seen Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from the estate’s “Soil Series”.
And for eating : Add carefully prepared cheese or charcuterie boards for an additional $ 25. (Pro tip: one plate is enough for two people.)
Hours: Places are available every day at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Learn more about alexanawinery.com.
The cave : Winter hill, 6451 Hilltop Lane, Dayton
The seat: A covered outdoor patio with heaters, but you should still dress for the weather. Here, tastings are only outside and seating is limited to five tables at a time, which means only around 50 people in total on a weekend day, for a more personalized experience. Children and dogs are welcome, but no group can exceed 6 people.
To drink: The managers of the cellar prefer to pour older wines for tastings, so they are currently highlighting a Pinot Blanc Réserve 2018 and Pinot Noirs from 2017 and 2015, all made only from grapes grown on the estate.
To eat: Bring a picnic or try their chocolate and wine pairings for an extra $ 15.
Hours: Open every day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., reservations strongly encouraged. More info on wintershillwine.com
Looking for even more wineries with heated terraces? The Willamette Valley Wineries Association recommends the following: Vrille cellars, Vineyard of saffron fields (don’t miss the gardens designed by landscape architect Hoichi Kurisu, the mastermind behind Portland’s Japanese Gardens), Cave Coelho (with a nice outdoor fireplace on their Amity lot), Keeler Estate Vineyard and Cellar, Ponzi vineyards, Stoller family estate, Wines Flâneurs, Hazelfern cellars and, last but not least, private wine huts at Adelsheim.