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Marci Sischo | 06/08/2021 | Breweries, Wineries & Distilleries, Summer, Winery

3 Heart of Willamette Wine Passport Sip Trips

Benton County is nestled in the heart of some beautiful wine country, surrounded by the lovely foothills of the Coast Range and blessed with excellent grape-growing conditions - all of which means we're surrounded by excellent boutique wineries. Every year, several of those wineries get together and offer the Heart of Willamette Wine Passport, which offers free tastings, discounts on purchases, free swag, and more.

This year seventeen of our local wineries are participating in the Heart of Willamette Wine Passport, which can make for difficult decisions when it comes to planning out an afternoon of wine tasting. To help out, we have three suggested Sip Trips here, offering three stops each.

Round up a few friends, pick up your passports online, and savor Oregon wine on a sip trip through beautiful Oregon back roads. And don't forget your designated driver!

Namaste Vineyards is located at 5600 Van Well Road in Dallas, and known for pinot noirs and elegant white wines. They're open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., March through November, and have a second tasting room at 3250 Pacific Highway S. in Independence that's open on Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Heading south from Namaste's Dallas tasting room, you'll find Salt Creek Ciderhouse, located at 14500 Salt Creek Road in Dallas, and known for their flagship ciders, Freedom, Rebel, Rebel Rose, and Wild. They're open for tasting daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Round out your afternoon with a taste of pinot noir or chardonnay from Benedetto Vineyards, which you'll find at 14020 Orchard Knob Road in Dallas. They're open from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays; and by appointment on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Redgate Winery is home to frequent live music and known for their artisan wines. They're located at 8175 Buena Vista Road in Independence, and they're open for tasting Fridays and Saturdays, from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Ankeny Vineyards, which you can find at 2565 Riverside Drive S. in Salem, is best known for their pinot noirs, pinot gris, and chardonnay. They're open Wednesdays, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursdays, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Fridays and Satudays, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sundays, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Springhill Cellars hosts an annual Federweisser Festival the weekend after Thanksgiving Day, as well as offering a lovely port, Port in Any Storm. You can find them at 2920 NW Scenic Drive in Albany, and they're open for tasting from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Tucked away in the beautiful rolling hills around Monmouth, you'll find Emerson Vineyards and Airlie Winery.

Emerson Vineyards is possibly best known for their Brother Red, and they have a great rosé, Pinkie, as well. Find them at 11665 Airlie Road, open daily from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Join them Friday evenings in the summer for live music, for a special evening.

Airlie Winery, meanwhile, offers occasional "yoga and wine" classes, along with concerts on Sundays through the summer. Try their Late Harvest Muscat Ottonel while you're there - it's a lovely floral and fruity dessert wine. Airlie is located at 15305 Dunn Forest Road, and open Thursdays and Mondays, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Spiritopia is a bit different than other suggested stops here, as they're a craft distillery, not a winery. Don't let that give you pause, though. They're known for aperitif wines like their Ginger Lemon Drop and Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine as well as whiskeys, brandy, and liqueurs. Find them at their original tasting room at 720 NE Granger Avenue, Bldg. B, in Corvallis, open Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.; or their new tasting room at 333 1st Avenue W. in Albany, open Thursdays through Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Heart of Willamette Wine Passport

The Heart of Willamette Wine Passport participating wineries are all within 30 miles of Corvallis and the South Salem area. You'll be able to picnic, listen to music, hike, and more at various locations on the passport, as well as take advantage of free tasting flights, swag, and discounts.

The 2021 Heart of Willamette Passport, priced at only $30, offers over $100 worth of value and is valid until December 31, 2021.

Learn more and buy your passport.

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