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From Sokal Blosser Winery

I didn’t really have any expectations for the Willamette Valley wine country.  I’ve been to Napa Valley, all over Italy, and even to Arkansas wine country (that’s a whole other story, but I need a banjo to tell it).

Rural road avoiding Hwy 99 outside of Dundee

The wineries and infrastructure here totally impressed me.  I was quite surprised.  For as long as I’ve been here and as much as I love vino, I didn’t know about the severe levels of awesome that are going on in the Valley.  They have really worked hard recently at developing both the Pinot grape and ways to get people to taste it. BTW, there are usually three Pinot Noirs on each tasting menu.  Rad.

Laura with flowers, vines, and pretty hills

People are calling the Willamette Valley the new Napa Valley, ie what Napa used to be before the touristsplosion.  However, the cycling is not quite as cush as it is in Napa.

People aren’t as used to cyclists. Plus, if you are navigating the North Valley, riding icky Hwy 99 (or other busy roads) is a must, though you can avoid a lot of it if you take gravel roads.  South Valley (where we go today) has a lot more low-traffic, gorgeous roads for cyclists.  Making the route, I’ve noted the wineries that aren’t perched atop long gravel climbs, as many of them are.

Surprisingly, there is no established cycle tourist route, and I hope the change that.  Bicycle tours (such as Portland Bike Tours) do come here and shuttle people up gravel hills to the wineries which must be a lovely option for some folks.

Laura climbing a hill-cito in rural farm country

Don’t worry, I’ve sussing this out for you over numerous Pinot Noir and Chardonnay tastings.

Cycling out here is muy romantico.  Thanks for coming with me, Laura P!  But seriously, you could really do it up and have a splurgy weekend of lovey dovey.

Besides the numerous high-end B&B’s, the new Allison Inn and Spa (rooms starting around $300) outside of Newberg is an absolutely indulgent, modern, well thought out (did I say indulgent?) hotel and spa. Their pool and hot tub looked as if it would be sensory ambrosia.

Little did I know that there are top class restaurants in most of the little towns including Thistle in McMinnville, which was named restaurant of the year by the Oregonian.

Harder to be on a budget here, but it can be done!

Okay, got to get on the road.

No Responses to “Pedaling to Your Taste: Willamette Valley Wine Country”

  1. Captain !@x?!#*

    Panniers or Trailer?

    Cranks with a Granny Gear?

    What size tires for those gravel roads?

    Give us the details!

    Reply
  2. Dan VanBrabant

    Elle,
    My wife and I met you and your friend Laura at the Burgstrom winery. We were also staying st the Allison Inn celebrating our 20 year anniversary. I had promised to send you a picture of the 4 horned sheep we talked about but do not see how to do so from your website. Shoot me an email if you have a achance and I will send you a few photos.
    Also, I am getting ready to do the hut-to-hut ride around Mt Hood in a little over a week and will let you know how it goes. If you are interested the url is http://www.cascadehuts.com. Hope your ride is goin well!!!
    Dan – dvanbrabant@msn.com.

    Reply
    • Ellee

      It was awesome meeting y’all. What a fun weekend! You and you’re wife were incredibly inspirational. Have a ball on the hut-to-hut adventure!
      Cheers,
      Ellee

      Reply

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