REI

Biking in Oregon Wine Country

by Lauren Braden

in Tasting Cascadia, Trip Ideas

Pinot noir and bicycling go together like bread and butter. If you don’t believe me, you’ll just have to try it for yourself!

If you have a bike and a free summer weekend, head to the Willamette Valley south of Portland and tour wine country by bicycle. You have two choices to ride through the vineyards and taste along the way. One is to create a DIY route and pedal solo or with your own group of pals. The other is to join an organized vineyard bike tour with a local tour company that specializes in Willamette Wine County bike tours.

To DIY, pack your own picnic lunch, put your bottle purchases in panniers, and set out for a day of riding and tasting. Try the Oregon Wine Center / (503) 228-8336) for brochures and maps to help plan your route, and an online explorer to help plan your trip.

August is perhaps the best month to tour Oregon’s Willamette Valley wine country by bicycle. The Eola Hills Wine Cellars near Salem organizes Bike Oregon Wine Country every Sunday in August, at a cost of $65 per person. This fully-supported ride guides you through the scenic Eola Hills and Mid-Willamette Valley wine region, biking through lush vineyards and some of the most picturesque countryside in the Northwest. Short and long loops are available, ranging from 45 to 70 miles a day. All rides start at 8am at Eola Hills Wine Cellars. Lunch is provided at one of the participating wineries, and all wine purchased in-route is transported back to Eola Hills by a separate vehicle. After the ride enjoy a fantastic BBQ feast and a glass or two of Eola Hills wine. Click here for more info.

It’s not a bad deal for $65, but of course you can pack your own picnic lunch, put your bottle purchases in panniers, and do a similar route on your own. Try the Oregon Wine Center (503-228-8336) for brochures with maps to help plan your route. Their website also has wine explorer to help plan your trip.

STAY: For a great night’s sleep in the area, check out the Bookmark Bed and Breakfast in Salem (503) 399-2013 which has two charming rooms, $90 – $110 a night. After your long bike ride the day before, you’ll be delighted with a full, home-cooked breakfast, like Evelyn’s “Souffle” with Tillamook cheese, fruit salad, honey lemon muffins, juice, coffee, and tea. Children are welcome, but no pets. (For some odd reason Salem limits its B&Bs to only two rooms, so the local proprietors don’t make much money but guests sure get plenty of personalized attention.)

wines_pacific_northwestEssential Wines and Wineries of the Pacific Northwest: A Guide to the Wine Countries of Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, and Idaho by Cole Danehower

This definitive volume profiles the wines, the people who make them, and the wine countries of Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, and Idaho. Superbly balanced pinot noirs; crisp rieslings; rich, heady syrahs: these are only a fraction of the expertly crafted wines being produced in the Pacific Northwest’s diverse and distinctive wine countries. Second only to California in production, the Pacific Northwest is the largest wine region in North America, home to more than 1,000 wineries. What was once a young winegrowing area with a reputation for eccentricity is today recognized as a dynamic region producing world-class wines, with a focus on ecologically sound practices.

 

 

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