An Oregon Wine Tasting Itinerary
Featured April 2020
McMinnville bills themselves as "the land of plenty," and they aren't misleading...
the food, wine, and craft beer scene is flourishing here, and downtown Third Street is a joy to stroll and explore all the unique shops and craft beverages. This tasting itinerary features four of our favorite McMinnville wineries for members to visit. Brittan Vineyards and Elizabeth Chambers Cellars and Suzor Wines are located in downtown McMinnville. J.L. Kiff is located on a coast range vineyard about 10 minutes west.
Note: The wineries on this itinerary all have a McMinnville address but do not necessarily produce wine from McMinnville AVA grapes, which is located in the coast range foothills southwest of town.
50 minutes from Portland
McMinnville is about an hour drive southwest of Portland
There are more than 11 wineries with tasting rooms in McMinnville. We've picked four of the best for members to enjoy
Check out McMinnville Restaurants, the gathering places for winemakers and wine lovers alike.
Featured McMinnville Wineries
It took years to find the ideal site on which to grow Pinot Noir but after an exhaustive search, Brittan Vineyards began on an 128-acre hillside in Oregon in December 2004. The soils are a mixture of glacial deposits and volcanic material, with a predominant presence of broken basalt. “For years, I have dreamed of making Pinot Noir in Oregon... From this site I believe I can produce unique wines, wines that speak of this place," says Robert Brittan, Founder.
According to David Schildknecht of the Wine Advocate, "A personal encounter with these singular wines should be high on the to-do list of any wine lover— not just Pinotphile– who hasn’t yet had the experience.”
Wines Offered: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah
"This was by far our favorite tasting room in the McMinnville area. Ben was a phenomenal host and made the entire experience so great. He let us taste a wide variety of wines while doing an excellent job answering all of our questions. Great wine with a very welcoming tasting room." -AJH, Google Review
Elizabeth Chambers Cellar
Borne out of Elizabeth “Liz” Chambers’ love affair with Pinot Noir, Elizabeth Chambers Cellar is a boutique winery specializing in handcrafted micro-regional Pinot Noir made in McMinnville, the heart of Oregon Wine Country. Elizabeth Chambers Cellar opened its doors in 2013 in what was once the McMinnville power plant, an historic brick building constructed in 1926.
Today, they are celebrating a new chapter for Elizabeth Chambers Cellar wines under the guidance of winemaker Drew Voit, and the leadership of Liz's two daughters and son-in-law. The butterfly on their label is their tribute to Liz and her magnificent ability to act as a catalyst for change; her determination to establish a boutique wine brand and her perseverance through challenges have inspired her family to complete the winery’s metamorphosis into a luxury destination for Oregon Pinot Noir worthy of a collector’s cellar.
Wines Offered: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Rosé
"We spent a wonderful afternoon tasting delicious wines and enjoying the very relaxed atmosphere of Elizabeth Chambers. Even though the weather was a bit drizzly, the very friendly staff made us feel welcome and warm." -MHK, Google Review
J.L. Kiff Vineyard
We wanted to even out this tasting itinerary with a tasting room situated on a vineyard. One of the closest to McMinnville is J.L. Kiff, located about ten minutes west of McMinnville. Named for owners Joel and Laurie Kiff, this small winery made their first vintage in 2010 and opened the tasting room in 2017. The wines are made mostly from the estate Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris grapes. Joel Kiff is the vineyard manager and winemaker, Laurie oversees the tasting room and business, and their children help with harvest and draw the artwork for the labels.
Joel and Laurie go out of their way to make every visitor feel like part of the family. Expect a warm welcome and tours of the vineyard and winery, along with barrel samples of the latest vintage. As Joel and Laurie say, "We love what we do and love sharing it with others!". The current tasting flight offers a vertical of Pinot Noir, including some older vintages that are drinking beautifully right now!
Wines Offered: Pinot Noir, Rosé, Chardonnay
"Definitely one of the highlights of our trip to Oregon. Joel and Lori were such wonderful, gracious hosts. Highly recommend!" -KE, Google Reviews
Honoring our French heritage through Greg's grandmother's name, Suzor was born from a desire to create wines that resonate with vivacity and authenticity of the vineyards they source from. Fond memories of family meals in France's Loire Valley have influenced their choice to make simply elegant, food friendly wines.
Today, Suzor Wines has grown into a family affair. Greg focuses on crafting distinctive yet accessible wines and Mélissa works on growing our brand while baby boy Hugo keeps everyone tiredly on their toes! Many exciting possibilities are on the horizon, but they remain focused on making wines that convey their story. Suzor Wines are born from simple goals: work with quality-conscious growers that are committed to sustainability, apply a minimal winemaking approach and native yeast fermentations, and make wines that showcase singular expressions of each vintage.
Visit Suzor Wines at their intimate under-the-radar speakeasy setting in beautiful downtown McMinnville. Come enjoy an experience-based gathering rather than traditional tasting room.
Wines Offered: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir
"Their wines are excellent examples of Willamette Valley craftsmanship and love. Drink them!" -ME, Facebook Reviews