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Guest Author | 05/01/2024 | Breweries, Wineries & Distilleries, Downtown Corvallis, Spring

May is Oregon Wine Month!

What better way to celebrate Oregon Wine Month this May than to explore the wineries in and around Corvallis? Corvallis literally translates into “Heart of the Valley.” The Willamette Valley wineries were declared one of the top 50 global places to explore in Time Magazine’s The World's Greatest Places of 2023. Since Corvallis is the heart of Oregon’s wine valley, you’ll want to stay here and try them all!

An insider tip from one of the vintners for coming to this area is that you often have easy traffic, places to park, and incredible vistas.

With over a dozen boutique wineries surrounding Corvallis, how can you fit them all into one weekend?  The Heart of Willamette Wine Passport is one way to start. Participating wineries all offer Passport holders a little something extra! Bonus: you can use your passport repeatedly since they are good until the end of the year.

Start Within City Limits

Start your wine adventure at Fullerton Wines, a self-proclaimed “urban winery.”  It can feel like visiting a hidden gem since it’s located in an industrial complex behind a UHaul rental.  They recently renovated their tasting room, and you’ll get to meet the winemaker and see where they create their vintages using grapes from local and other Oregon vineyards.

Next, head into town for Valcan Cellars, just a few minutes walk from the Courtyard by Mariott or the boutique hot spot, Hotel Corvallis - making it easy to carry your Passport discount wine case!  Plenty of great dinner spots are nearby, but to keep with the wine theme, try the new Corazón for more tastings, or head for dinner at Caves.

Saturday

Enjoy the morning taking advantage of all the area offers - from perusing the farmer’s market, hiking at one of the many trails, checking out the local thrift shops, or touring OSU.

Then head out to Philomath’s downtown wine-tasting room at Compton Family Wines.  Matt and Tabatha are farmers, organically growing grapes in several different vineyards - including one that has been around since 1976. A fun side note is that they are increasing the natural biomes on the soil with their sheep and goats!  While there, have lunch from one of the food trucks, which could be pizza or Nick’s Soul Food.

Continue west on Highway 20 towards the coast and explore two or three more spots for the afternoon.

Harris Bridge Vineyards makes pinot gris and pinot noir vermouth, aperitifs, dessert wines, and brandy. So while picnicking along Mary’s River, check out the nearby covered bridge that inspired the winery’s name.  Winemakers Nathan and Amanda will open for the season starting the first weekend in May.

You’ll recognize Lumos Wine by the “big ol’ barn on what is left of the H bar H Dude Ranch which flourished in the 1940s” that serves as their tasting room.  It has a wide porch and beautiful views of its organic vineyards and Marys Peak, where you can sip award-winning wines.  If you plan ahead, they rent out a former bunkhouse as an updated rustic guest cabin (available to their club members or through Vrbo).

Up the road, you’ll discover Cardwell Hill Cellars - 2021’s Oregon Winery of the Year (and over 560 other awards).  The buildings with European touches and vineyards named after French artists Monet and Degas, you’ll feel relaxed as you taste wines from grapes grown on their “Salmon Safe,” LIVE Certified, Bee Friendly Farming Certified, and sustainable fields.  The first weekend in May (Friday through Sunday), they are offering an Old Vines Vertical Tasting, where reservations are required. Memorial Day weekend, they will introduce a 2022 blush pinot noir and Fenders Pinot Noir, with proceeds from sales of these wines to benefit Mary’s River Watershed Council.

For dinner, head back into Philomath to The Dizzy Hen, which has recently opened for evenings from 5:30-8:30 pm.

Sunday

Sunday is a fun day as you can choose which direction you head next.

Go north on 99W and head to Airlie Winery (owned and operated by women) and then east to Springhill Cellars Winery while enjoying the rolling hills of the countryside.  There are more wineries in that area, and once you start up north on Interstate 5, you’ll have more options before the end of your trip.

Or you can head to Monroe, the town just south of Corvallis.  Instead of 99W, take the scenic route driving down Bellfountain Road. The first stop is Tyee Wine Cellars, and then squeeze in some Goat Yoga/Goat Happy Hour or a hike in the Finley Wildlife Refuge. A popular stop is Bluebird Hill Cellars - and bring mom on Mother’s Day for complimentary tastings…and an insider says mom may even receive a rose! Follow Bellfountain to Alpine Cut Off Road for a visit to Dragon’s Vineyard (named after the high school mascot and has attractive dragon-theme decor). From there, head to Monroe’s town for tastings at Broadley Vineyards.  According to the locals, excellent-tasting meals are at Long Timber Brewery (you will see some beautiful long timber seating and tables!) or Benny’s Pizza.

Have a bunch of girlfriends you’re meeting up with or taking a trip with your bestie? Whatever your reason for exploring wine country, Visit Corvallis has many options. Check out our Wine and Dine page for wineries, places to eat, and other adventures.

While on your tasting explorations, we’d love it if you tagged #VisitCorvallis on your social media posts - and we may even share them on our social media pages.

“Life is too short to drink bad wine!” So enjoy your adventures, and be sure to be nice to your designated driver or book a tour with Best Oregon Tours!

Article by Stacey Newman Weldon. Keep up with Corvallis news, events and happenings by signing up for our email newsletter.

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