Wine Tasting in the Hood

Written byTina-Maria Garcia; Portland, Oregon

It wasn’t until I moved to Portland, OR that I started to hear about the great wines that come out of this area. I’ve been wine tasting a few times in Napa and always had so much fun, so to celebrate my 30th b-day I decided to stay local and put together a wine tasting tour.

I started researching my wine tasting tour when I received a Living Social offer for a limo wine tour with a company called G-Limos. The catch for this tour was that it was not for the popular wine region in the Willamette Valley but for the wineries in Hood River. I had never heard of anyone going wine tasting in Hood River, which is about an hour east of Portland in the Columbia River Gorge.

The Gorge is very scenic with a beautiful landscape of river, mountains, and waterfalls (scenes of the Twilight movie were filmed throughout the Gorge). What I didn’t know was that the Gorge area was such popular wine country; there are more than 40 vineyards and wineries located in that area. I thought with such a pretty drive, this wine tasting tour would be the perfect way to start my 30th b-day celebrations.

We lucked out with decent weather on the day of our tour. Hood River is in the East end of the Gorge so it doesn’t see as much rain as Portland; it was nice to get some sunshine. Our tour included stops at 3 different wineries, Cathedral Ridge, Phelps Creek Vineyards, and Stoltz Vineyards. The first two were located in the hills just outside Hood River and the third was a tasting room in downtown Hood River, all within a few minutes of each other.

I enjoyed all three wineries but my favorite tasting experience came from Cathedral Ridge. They have a delicious chardonnay and after our tasting we were able to set up a picnic on some tables outside.  I also liked Stoltz Vineyards for a great atmosphere and the location of their tasting room downtown.

My friends and I had such a great time wine tasting in Hood River. The limo ride out was so pretty with the Columbia River on one side of the road and cliffs of the Gorge on the other. I highly recommend touring with a tour company that knows that area for your first excursion out there. If you have extra time for a few more vineyards, the driver or tour guide will know exactly where to take you.

On the way home we made a pit stop at Multnomah Falls. It’s amazing how a beautiful landscape can add to an experience. Wine tasting in Hood River reminded me of wine tasting in Napa but minus all the crowds. My next trip out there I think I’ll plan on staying in Hood River and take a walking tour of the tasting rooms that are located downtown. Sounds like a day trip in the making! I very much look forward to checking out more of Hood River and its wine offerings in the future.

PS. Hood River has two breweries (Full Sail and Double Mountain) but I’ll save that for another day!


[images courtesy of Jessica Klein]