Chapter 4: Visiting Oregon Wineries

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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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Will it cost anything to participate in a wine tasting?

It depends. Some wineries provide complimentary tastings of their various wines. Other wineries may ask you to pay a dollar or two to sample their wines. If the winery is tasting a special or reserve wine, the fee may be upwards of $10-20 per person.

During the Thanksgiving Weekend, many wineries host special tasting events. These cost from between $5 and $10 per person, allow you to sample a wide array of special and reserve wines, include complimentary food and cheese to accompany your tasting, and also allow you to keep your tasting glass.

Before visiting a winery, you can call ahead and inquire if there is a tasting fee. However, for the experience of sampling fine wines, talking with the tasting room staff, and enjoying a wonderful afternoon at an Oregon winery, the tasting fee is probably minimal.

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Is it okay to visit a winery in large groups?

Yes. It is not uncommon to organize your own tour, rent a private tour bus, and customize the tour specifically for you and your guests. If you have a party of ten or more people, organizing your own tour may be the best route to go. This way, you’ll be sure to plan the event, visit the specific wineries you have in mind, and get the most enjoyment possible.

Please remember that while most wineries welcome tour buses, not all have the facilities to accommodate such a large number of people. Please remember to call all the wineries ahead of time, before you organize the event. This will give them time to prepare for your arrival.

In addition, it is important to respect each winery’s property and tasting room. Please follow any instructions outlined by a winery at the time you arrive. Whatever you do, don’t jump off the bus and race your friends in a 100-yard dash down some vines! If anything is in question, please ask the tasting room staff first.

When touring a winery, note that the wineries may end up pouring a lot of wine – and often may not end up selling much wine compared to the large number of people present. You might consider asking your guests to purchase at least one bottle each as thanks for a winery opening up their tasting room to your group.

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Are there organized tours that visit different Oregon wineries, and if so, where can I learn more about them?

Yes. There are many private companies that operate tours throughout Oregon, who can provide you with an easy means to visit your favorite wineries.

Wine tours typically consist of a hired tour bus or van. A group leader will give you instructions on what to bring, any special rules (such as regulations about drinking on the bus), the wineries to be visited, the times to show up for departure, and so forth.

To learn more about Oregon wine tours, contact us and we’ll connect you with a tour provider!

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