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The arrival of Domaine Drouhin may have been responsible for focusing the wine world’s eye on Willamette Valley, but the local wine industry had its beginnings in 1966, when David Lett of Eyrie Vineyards planted his first Pinot Noir vines. Erath, Ponzi, Sokol Blosser, Adelsheim and others soon followed. The industry has matured along a bumpy path, but Willamette Valley has become a world-class wine region in the process. Here are four top wineries to check out on your visit.

Please note that prices, hours of operation and wine availability can often change. We recommend that you call ahead before you go.

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Domaine Drouhin
6750 Breyman Orchards Road
Dayton, OR 97114
Telephone: (503) 864-2700
Open: Wed-Sun, 11-4, Mon-Tue, by appointment only; Tours, Wed-Sun, 10 and 1
Tasting Fee: $10

Robert Drouhin, of the famed Drouhin family in Burgundy, raised the ante when he arrived in the Willamette Valley in 1987. His interest in the area proved that it had come of age as a wine region. The family-run winery, housed in a modest chateau, hugs a vine-covered hillside offering great views of the valley and distant mountains. Take a seat at the upstairs tasting bar to sample almost all of Drouhin's refined bottlings: two Pinot Noirs and a Chardonnay. The winery also makes the Louise Pinot Noir, but it is reserved for wine club members.

Archery Summit Winery
18599 N.E. Archery Summit Road
Dayton, OR 97114
Telephone: (503) 864-4300; (800) 732-8822
Open: Daily, 10-4; Tours, daily, at 10:30 and 2
Tasting Fee: $15

Much has changed at this winery in recent years—founder Gary Andrus retired in 2001, and now there's a new winemaker, Anna Matzinger—but the Pinot Noir is still first-rate, showing depth and richness, and consistently scoring in the very good to outstanding range. A stately winery built into a vine-covered hillside, Archery Summit offers one of the best tours in the region, including a walk-through demonstration vineyard that teaches visitors about clones and rootstock experimentation and a barrel-tasting in the caves where the wines are aged.

Argyle Winery
691 Hwy. 99W
Dundee, OR 97115
Telephone: (503) 538-8520; (888) 427-4953
Open: Daily, 11-5; Tours, by appointment only
Tasting Fee: $10

Stopping in at this winery in the heart of Dundee is like visiting an old friend: To get to the tasting room (part of a wood-frame house that used to be the site of Dundee City Hall), you walk through the garden and across the wraparound porch. But don't let the folksy atmosphere fool you, because Argyle is one of the largest and most savvy wineries in Willamette. The estate produces everything from plush and seductive Pinot Noir to sophisticated sparkling wine to rich Chardonnay.

Carlton Winemakers Studio
801 North Scott St.
Carlton, OR 97111
Telephone: (503) 852-6100
Open: Daily, 11-5; Tours, by appointment only
Tasting Fee: $8 - $15

If you want a quick overview of what's happening in the Willamette Valley, check out this collective winery and tasting room located in out-of-the-way Carlton. The eco-friendly winery, partially hidden by grassy berm walls, is home to labels such as Ayoub, Hamacher and Andrew Rich. The list of varietals is wide and varied, from Pinot Noir to Pinot Gris to Riesling. The tasting room is a sleek, modern den of polished steel and wood.


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