Located in the Willamette Valley region of Oregon lies the city of McMinville. The city is about 40 miles southwest of Portland, but it occupies a big space on the Oregon map, thanks in large part to the stunning collection of wineries that do business there. The land where the vines now grow was once farmland that housed livestock and all kinds of fruit trees. That all changed in 1970 when David Lett, a winemaker of some renown, purchased an old turkey processing plant that he turned into a winery. Once it became known that the soil and climate was perfect for growing grapes, other winemaker soon followed suit, turning this part of the state into a legitimate wine country.
The number of Oregon wineries is rising steadily, and McMinnville is considered by many to be the heart of where the action is in that region. Much of the credit for the success and quality of the wineries in McMinnville has to go to the McMinnville AVA Wineries Association, a group of 8 wineries, local fruit suppliers, and restaurants who do all they can to ensure that the great name that the region has built continues in good standing. With over 600 acres on land currently used for growing grapes, and new wineries frequently arriving in the area, the group certainly has their work cut out for them.
If you love wine, and are thinking of visiting this part of the country in the future, you may want to consider setting up your base camp in or around historic downtown McMinnville. Not only is this a truly scenic place to stay, you also get the added benefit of having some fantastic restaurants to choose from, many of whom go out of their way to create a menu that is very much in tune with what the McMinnville wineries produce. There are a number of different varietals made in this region, but it is Pinot noir, Pinot gris, and Pinot blanc that are the most popular.
One of the great reasons to visit McMinnville is to celebrate the wine and culinary events that take place several times each month. Some of the best restaurants in the city take turns in hosting these events, with wine tastings and special themes all included in the culinary experience. It’s a fantastic way to sample a great number of wines from the area without having to drive between each winery and tasting room. Stay in town and you might even be able to take a leisurely stroll back to the hotel once the meal and wine tasting is complete.
McMinnville is certainly not the largest of the wine regions throughout the US, but there is no denying that it is one of the most beautiful. There are some folks that travel to that region to soak up the scenery as they sample the quality wines that are made there. Nestled in the shadow of the Coast Range, McMinnville is a truly unique little spot that is home to some of the best wineries in the country.