A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to team up with Travel Salem and explore Oregon's famous wine country - Salem. Think 'the Napa Valley of Portland' - they're internationally known for their amazing cool climate pinot noirs! We spent most of our time at wineries in the Mid-Willamette Valley and I learned a ton about how the Salem climate makes their wines unique.
During our stay, we had unique experiences setup for us, including Goat Yoga and an equestrian wine tour. Probably some of the coolest winery experiences I've ever had! We had the most amazing weather the whole weekend, as Oregon is so beautiful in the summer, and everyone we met along the way was friendly and eager to share their wine knowledge with us.
I already can't wait to go back - it's such a perfect getaway from California with just a quick ~1 hour flight and 45 minute drive from the airport. If you're a wine lover like me and eager to try new spots that are easily accessible from the Bay Area, I highly recommend you adding Salem to your bucket list! With the help of Travel Salem, I'm sharing my perfect weekend in Salem to-do list:
My Salem Weekend Itinerary
Where to stay: Le Puy A Wine Valley Inn, the cutest bed and breakfast set on a gorgeous hillside with unbeatable views of Salem's rolling hills. Andy and Lea were amazing hosts, and not to mention wonderful farm-to-table chefs (we loved the breakfasts!)
1. Tasting and tour at Cristom Vineyards, a lovely second generation family owned winery. All of their vineyards are named after family members, which I thought was so charming. The name of the vineyards itself, Cristom, is named after the founders' children, Christine and Tom. Cristom had its first vintage in 1992 and is still running strong 25 years later!
2. Tasting at Bethel Heights Vineyard, who's first vintage was produced in 1984 and its vines are planted on a former walnut tree grove (many of the trees are still on the property today!) The views here are gorgeous!
3. Lunch & wine tasting at Left Coast Cellars, one of the largest contiguous vineyards in the Willamette Valley. Part of the estate sits on the 45th parallel, the halfway point between the equator and the North Pole. This spot has wonderful wine and an amazing wood burning pizza oven, where the cooks are constantly cranking out some of the best pizza I'd had in awhile!
4. GOAT YOGA at Emerson Vineyards. Goat Yoga = enough said. It was originally created as a therapy for people who are sick or generally just need some more smiling in their life. If you're an animal lover, you will LOVE this. The sweet goats had us smiling the entire time (making the yoga part a little more unproductive than I expected, but totally fine with that!)
5. Dinner at Ruddick/Wood, which is a modern eatery in town with locally sourced ingredients and amazing craft cocktails. The ambiance is casual and cute - very industrial chic! The food was Ruddick-ulously good (see what I did there?!)
1. Start (or end) your day with an Equestrian Wine Tour (they have 2 start times/day: 11 AM and 2 PM). This was my favorite thing from the entire weekend! The horses were so beautiful and friendly - I'm a total beginner and have maybe been on a horse maybe 3 times ever when I was much younger, but the horses were perfect for that! We started at Wine Country Farm and then went to 2 different wineries on this tour: Vista Hills and Winter's Hill. The ride between wineries was my favorite part. You literally ride right through the various rows of beautifully symmetrical vineyards and it was so breathtaking!
2. Do a seated tasting at Domaine Serene. This winery had one of the most magnificent views I've ever seen. The name serene doesn't even do it justice. The wine was fabulous (known for their many award winning wines!) and the staff was so friendly - we went through an extensive tasting as well as brought us through a full tour! Their charcuterie board also paired perfectly with the wine (and was nothing less than delicious).
3. Dinner at Dundee Bistro, which is owned by the Ponzi family who has produced world class wines in the Willamette Valley since 1970. They opened the Dundee Bistro based on examples of the culinary hospitality they had observed in the world's best wine regions. The restaurant was great! They served american food with local wine and have the best patio for enjoying the Oregon summer sunshine!
This post was sponsored, but all opinions are my own.
Next, check out my getaway guides for Northern California!