Chapter 4: Visiting Oregon Wineries

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Can I speak with the winemakers about their wines?

It depends upon a number of things: the size of the winery, the time of year, how busy is the tasting room, whether the winemaker is present or not.

For some of the smaller Oregon wineries, the winemakers both produce the wine, and run the tasting room. If you are at a tasting room, and would like to speak with the winemaker, it couldn’t hurt to ask. The winemaker may be on site. If the winemaker is not available for comment, however, just remember they are extremely busy all year round, producing the great wine you are tasting!

November 17, 2017 / by / in
What kinds of questions should I ask the winemaker or tasting room staff when talking with them about their wines?

Here are a few of the many questions you might consider asking when you arrive at a winery:

  • What kinds of varietals are grown at this winery?
  • What have been the best vintages?
  • What is the winery’s average yield of harvest grapes per acre?
  • Which wines are aged in barrels? How long are the wines aged before being bottled?
  • What is the winery’s volume of production?

After reading through this Web site, you should be able to come up with some of your own questions to ask. Approaching a winery’s staff with these kinds of questions is one way of demonstrating interest in the winery’s business, and not simply its wine.

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Are Oregon wineries open year-round?

It depends. Most of Oregon’s larger wineries are open year-round. Some of the medium-sized wineries close for certain days throughout the year. Many of the smaller wineries may be closed during December through January, for anywhere from a week to a month at a time.

If you are planning on visiting Oregon wineries, call ahead and make sure the winery will be open, and ready for your visit. There is nothing worse than taking a beautiful drive through Oregon’s countryside, only to arrive at a winery with no lights on.

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When I visit a winery, is it okay to purchase a single bottle? Can I purchase a “mixed case” of wines?

Most every winery allows you to purchase their wines in any quantity you desire. Most offer a discount if you purchase a half or full case of wine, and even allow that case to consist of any combination of their wine (called a “mixed case”).

For example, you could purchase a mixed case consisting of four bottles of Cabernet Merlot, two bottles of Sauvignon Blanc, three bottles of Pinot Noir, and three bottles of Pinot Gris.

While you should not feel compelled to purchase any wine, doing so is a way of showing your thanks for the winery welcoming you in.

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What is a tasting room?

A tasting room is just what it sounds like. It is designed to host visitors, display the various wines for sale, and most importantly, allow visitors to sample some of the wines.

Depending on the size of the winery, the tasting room may be simply a room, or a small building. Depending on the winery’s location, the tasting room may be located on the winery’s property, or in a nearby city.

Tasting rooms typically feature a winery’s different wines, and may also have additional products, cheeses and foods, and other accessories.

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Do all Oregon wineries have tasting rooms?

No. While most Oregon wineries do have some sort of tasting room facility, others may be located off site, in part of a grocery store, in a separate town, or even across the state.

Some of Oregon’s smaller wineries have no tasting facilities, as their wines are direct distributed to local vendors. However, most of these wineries do have some form of tasting room representation, as in a wine bar, or may offer a special tasting during events throughout the year.

If you’re not sure whether an Oregon winery has a tasting room, view our Winery Directory. It will quickly show you which wineries have tasting facilities:

View the Oregon Wineries Directory

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When at a winery, is it okay to walk through the vineyards?

It depends. Some wineries may allow you to wander through a portion of their vineyard, and some may request that you remain near the tasting room property.

Wineries are very concerned about the spread of pests (such as Phylloxera), which can be carried on your shoes, and can be transferred from one winery to another. Throughout Oregon’s winegrowing history, pests and diseases have destroyed acres, even entire crops, so be sure to ask the staff at the winery before you go wandering among the grapes.

If you are permitted to walk in the vineyards, you are in for a real treat! Few things can compare to holding a wonderful glass of wine in your hand, as you stroll past the very grapes that make that wine possible!

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