Picture being able to get to world-class wineries just 35 minutes from downtown Portland, sip a glass of perfectly chilled pinot gris while enjoying an outdoor patio with a view of iconic Mount Hood in the distance. Afterwards dine on delicious Italian fare in downtown Beaverton. The Tualatin Valley is where a significant portion of Portland’s food and wine comes from; it’s only natural to want to visit the source of all this culinary excellence.
Your Guide to the Best of Tualatin Valley, Oregon
Here’s your guide on where to drink, stay and eat when you visit Tualatin Valley.
Montinore Estate Winery
Montinore Estate is the second largest producer of biodynamic grapes in the country! While their focus is on pinot noir, their Italian varietals are impressive. Try Montinore’s pinot noir, pinot gris, gewürztaminer, dry riesling, and the Ross Terzo Atto. Ask about the library wines if you want a special occasion wine to take home. The 2010 Graham’s Block 7 Pinot Noir is one of their best. At $50 per bottle, this will be a special occasion for most wine lovers.
A Taste of Japan at Sake One
After Montinore, to mix things up, check out Saké One in Forest Grove. Open seven-days-a-week, this saké brewery is an excellent way to experience a variety of saké. Taste their G Saké, Momokawa, and Moonstone made on site and several imports from Japan as well. Tours are given free of charge from Friday to Sunday by appointment only. Whether you like a fruity type of saké or classic dry-type, Sake One will send you off with an appreciation of this Japanese rice wine.
Stay at McMenamins Grand Lodge
McMenamins Grand Lodge in Forest Grove is the best lodging for the night. This former Masonic Lodge built in 1922 has been turned into one of the most exciting and fun hotels in the Tualatin Valley. Quirky art adorns the walls throughout, and a colorful assortment of light fixtures illuminate hallways and rooms. The grand lodge has restaurants, a spa, and even a movie theatre with free, first-run movies. Give their food and drink a try, or head into downtown Forest Grove to check out the Yellow Llama.
Eat at the Yellow Llama
Opened in 2017, the Yellow Llama brings Peruvian fare to the Tualatin Valley. Housed in a narrow building downtown, they feature delicious empanadas, ceviche, Peruvian-style fried rice, and more. Wines by the glass and bottle are ample or choose a specialty cocktail to go with your meal. Service is friendly and efficient while delivering authentic Peruvian fare.
Indian Buffet at Chennai Masala
For a delicious Indian lunch buffet, try Chennai Masala in Hillsboro. Chennai Masala serves authentic Indian food and the price is right.
Wine at Ponzi Vineyards
After lunch, your next wine stop is Ponzi Vineyards. Ponzi is one of the first wineries in Oregon and famous for their pinot noir and Italian varietals. Their wines have graced White House dinners; they are that good. This sleek and modern tasting room is adorned with photos of the Ponzi family’s wine history. Since 1993, daughter Luisa has taken over winemaking duties and her sister Anna Maria is director of sales and marketing keeping Ponzi family run.
Hawks View Cellars for Boutique Wine
Finish your wine itinerary with a visit to Hawks View Cellars near Sherwood, where on a cloudless day snow-studded Mount Hood is visible to the east. This boutique winery is inviting with both an intimate inside tasting room and outside patio. Sustainable grape growing is essential to Hawks View Cellars, and they say, “We make wine and grow grapes in a way that respects all involved doing the least harm.” This writer especially liked their 2016 pinot gris with its crisp-clean citrus notes and floral finish.
Decarli Restaurant in Beaverton
Decarli Restaurant in Beaverton is less than 20 minutes’ drive from Hawks View Cellars. Try their decadent fried polenta sticks starter dipped in blue cheese butter and pair with a Ponzi pinot blanc. The risotto with wild mushrooms or Sweet Briar Farm pork shank entrees would pair well with a local pinot noir for a perfect meal.
When to Visit Tualatin Valley
April through October is the best time to visit the Tualatin Valley to avoid the excessive rain of the cold months. Since this itinerary just scratches the surface, either extend your stay or come back to the Tualatin Valley for another sip soon.
Even though Washington County Visitors Bureau sponsored the writer’s trip, his opinions are his own.