With backdrops including the Columbia River and Mt. Hood, the Columbia Gorge AVA (Wine Region) is the perfect getaway for any wine lover, and is a quick 60 minute drive from Portland. Often marketed with the phrase “A World of Wines in Forty Miles”, this beautifully diverse area will prove the phrase true in short order.

While most looking for a day trip to wine country from the Portland area will head out to the Willamette Valley, the Columbia River Gorge exhibits a wide range of terrain in a relatively small region which allows for many varietals of grapes to be produced. Legitimately claiming they grow grapes from A to Z (Albarino to Zinfandel), there is no doubt you will find a wine or two to tickle your palate.

With more than 30 wineries and 45+ vineyards, this region features relaxed tasting rooms with unparalleled views. If you are looking for a wine tour not far from the Portland area, this region offers variety and a setting to be remembered.

In our many visits escorting clients on wine tours in the Columbia River Gorge area, we have stumbled across a few favorite stops that we believe are worth a special mention:

The Gorge White House is located in the heart of the Hood River Valley. As you enter the historic colonial home on a century-old farm, you will be taken back in time. Boasting orchards that produce delicious pear wines and hard ciders, the location also offers fabulous mountain views. The Gorge White House wines include an award winning Heritage Bosc Pear Wine, a Red Blend, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Blueberry wine. For those who may need a little break from wine (Gasp!), the cozy tasting room also offers micro-brewed beers on tap. Adding to the comfortable, relaxed environment, local artists and photographers display their work throughout the year. We expect you will want to spend a little extra time at The Gorge White House,  so we suggest you plan your day accordingly and enjoy the ambiance.

purple-grapes-553462_1920Another recommendation is the Mt. Hood Winery, also located in the beautiful Hood River Valley. Here you will find wines perfected by expert winemakers using grapes cultivated by farmers who have been growing fruit on Mt. Hood soil for generations. From the beautiful Northwest lodge style tasting room patio, you will enjoy the stunning vineyard and double mountain views while sipping on one of the many wine varietals offered including Estate Pinot Gris, Estate Pinot Noir, Estate Riesling, Barbera, Chardonnay, Grenache, Malbec, Syrah and Zinfandel. May we suggest slipping into the cozy leather seating around the hearth and tasting several of their award winning wines.

Last but certainly not least, a stop into what was known as the “Secret Winery” for years is a must. The Hood Crest Winery has been making music and wine together since the 1980s. A family owned and operated winery, Hood Crest Winery is known for their boutique wines and gourmet, handcrafted pizzas. Boasting dozens of awards and a fabulous new tasting room, Hood Crest Winery is a must see in the Hood River wine area.

The secret is out! For a great day trip or weekend getaway, the Columbia River Gorge AVA is the perfect escape. With unique places to shop, eat and play, we are sure that your trip to Hood River Valley will be a trip that will not be easily forgotten.  Vino Ventures offers both group tours as well as private tours and we would love to create the perfect wine tasting adventure for you. For more about Vino Ventures, visit www.vinoventures.com, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Instagram or Twitter.