SEPTEMBER 22, 2021
When people think of American wine, it’s likely they think of the bounty grown in California. But it would be unwise to dismiss the fruits of beloved wine producers in Oregon and Washington. Carve out an extended weekend and behold the delights available to you in the Pacific Northwest where you can indulge in an array of upscale dining, boutique R&R, and, of course, tasting your way through a cache of truly amazing wines.
We’ve picked out all the Pacific Northwest hot spots for you—the only thing you have to do is start making reservations.
WALLA WALLA, WA
Walk among the stars at The Marcus Whitman Hotel
Go grand and feel like a mid-century globetrotter as you step into the lobby of Walla Walla’s most cherished luxury hotel, the Marcus Whitman. Both posh and historic, not only is it the tallest building in the region, but its floors have been graced by the likes of Dwight Eisenhower, Shirley Temple, and Louis Armstrong. Check-in and get comfortable in one of the tower suites with views unparalleled anywhere for miles. All amenities are first-rate, including the spa, the restaurant, and, yes, try some of the local wine downstairs at the Vineyard Lounge.
Soak in the sites and wine at Three Rivers Winery
For over 20 years, Three Rivers Winery in Walla Walla has been producing some of the best wines in the Columbia Valley. Visitors are welcomed by the Blue Mountain skyline and pristine fields perfect for picnics and lawn games like cornhole and Giant Jenga. Sign up for the barrel room and cellar tour and upgrade your wine tasting with an unbridled cheese and charcuterie board. At Three Rivers, winemaker Holly Turner cranks out a handmade wine for every occasion—from lush, plummy Merlot blends and velvety Cabernet Sauvignons to crisp whites like Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.
Taste local and seasonal cuisine at The Eritage
Extend the range of your adventure with a short drive north from downtown Walla Walla to the new Eritage Resort. Enjoy the scenic beauty as you dig into hearty creations from Eritage’s seasonal menu with entrees ranging from wild Alaska sturgeon steak to Porcini Sacchetti. Many of the ingredients used are sourced from local farmers within the eastern Washington region. Try to time your dinner reservation so you can take in the lake and sunset hour.
Bocce in the morning, fireside drinks in the evening at The Setting Inn
Newly renovated and ready to serve, the Setting Inn is just a little way north of Dundee and provides arresting views of Willamette Valley’s vineyards and farms. Nestled on a sloping hillside, this is an ideal spot for a romantic getaway, adorned with modern decor and contemporary comforts. Wake to the distant mooing of cows in the pasture and wind down at night by the peaceful patio firepit. As upscale lodges go, this one ranks among the very best. They also have a nice bocce court (and you know you need to work on your bocce game.)
Get your Pinot game on at The Four Graces Winery
Wind your way through the morning mist while visiting this jewel of the Willamette River Valley. Full of cozy, rustic goodness, Four Graces Winery is a top spot for strolling through the vines, picnics under a cool moody sky, and of course, delicious wine tastings in a recently renovated historical farmhouse. When it comes to what wines are on the menu here, the specialties are rich, elegant, sustainably-grown Pinots of three different varieties: Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc for the whites, and Pinot Noir for the red. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to meet winemaker Tim Jones.
A bit of Victorian charm at The Painted Lady
Head a short distance east to nearby Newberg to feast on some fine cuisine from this James Beard Award-nominated restaurant. Placed in a charming Victorian home, the Painted Lady is an excellent place to soak up the Willamette Valley atmosphere while dining on an eight-course tasting menu. Menu selections are seasonal, but be sure to try Mopsy’s Best sheep’s milk cheese with pickled cherries and their butternut squash agnolotti. Everything here satisfies, but to get the full experience, be sure to indulge in the wine pairings as well.
For introverts and extroverts: The Gordon Hotel
At once stylish and hip, The Gordon Hotel in downtown Eugene is the place to go for artists, creatives, and pet lovers. Lean into a meeting of the minds in some of the inviting social spaces, sample some locally-sourced eats at the Gordon Tavern, and get ready for the arrival of their new rooftop bar, Carlita’s (coming in the fall of 2021). The Gordon is right next to the 5th Street Public Market, home to some of the city’s greatest restaurants and full of shops with everything from artisan wares to chocolates and wine. While all the desired comforts are assured for introverts who like curl up with a book in front of the fireplace, this hotel is also perfect for extroverts who like a little social interaction with their wine.
Pilgrimage to Acrobat Winery at King Estate
On the streets of Eugene, the name “Acrobat” holds a special place in the hearts of wine lovers with hometown pride. While Acrobat’s wines are now sourced from several vineyards across Oregon, the original home of the Acrobat brand is the nearby King Estate Winery. Use the Acrobat store locator to find one of their beloved Pinots and Chardonnays and sneak one onto your hotel’s veranda. But while you’re at it, do yourself a favor and make a pilgrimage to King Estate. Not only is it the home of Acrobat, but it’s also a sprawling tract of beautiful vines kissed by the morning fog.
A bit of French panache at Marché
A jewel of the 5th Street Public Market and a Eugene favorite, Marché is a French-based purveyor of fine cuisine with a casual romantic vibe. A James Beard Award semifinalist, Marché is known for its eclectic menu that evolves with the seasons. Reliable appetizers include their selection of “pizzettes” as well as their sea-fresh oysters on the half shell with a cucumber mignonette. As for entrees, they know their way around their steak and pork dishes. Be sure to save room for dessert: The vanilla panna cotta is a must.