Winter Wine Tasting on the North Coast
There’s nothing like sipping wine on a damp, chilly day — the sea breeze in the air or a warm fire nipping at your toes. When you visit the North Coast this winter, where do you go to drink wine? Here’s our roundup of some favorite local spots:
Have you ever tried cranberry wine or chocolate orange wine? Owner/winemaker Paul van der Veldt has played with funky flavors and concepts over the past 30 years and invites visitors to learn about his unique style at his one-man tasting room in Astoria. The Cran au Lait is made with whey instead of water, and the chocolate orange wine is made in a liqueur style, both favorites for the holidays. Pull up a seat in the tasting room, two doors down from the Columbia River Maritime Museum. The site — with grand views of the Columbia River — was a former auto plant, refrigerator locker rental business and bike shop until van der Veldt bought and remodeled it in the 1970s. Fun fact: The winery’s name comes from the Latin word for salal, Gaultheria shallon — the owner’s favorite local wild plant, native to the Coast Range.
Less than three hours west of their flagship tasting room in Hood River, the Seaside tasting room (as well as McMinnville and Bend) are extensions of Naked Winery’s fun, risque and more playful approach to drinking wine. Labels like Naked Cowboy and Orgasmic Tempranillo may make you blush, but they’re undeniably fun to try. Their Outdoor Vino label, meant to be enjoyed outdoors, comes in a BPA-free plastic bottle that is recyclable and reusable, and one-sixth of the weight of a glass bottle, with a lower carbon footprint. The winery sources from vineyards across Oregon, including the Columbia Gorge, Willamette, Applegate and Rogue valleys. Try the Rambling Red this season at a beach campfire near you.
Opened in July 2016 in one of the boutique-lined alleys of North Hemlock Street, this tasting room (adjacent to Cannon Beach Distillery) is hard to find, but worth the trip. Slide up to the tasting bar to sample some of the 31 wines and two hard ciders offered. Each of the wines are produced at the family-run vineyard in Washington state plus their newest release — a sparkling rose, made from grapes at Kitara Vineyard in Canby. While there are two wine shops in Cannon Beach, grape-to-glass winemakers haven’t had a presence here until now, says Westport cofounder Kim Roberts, whose son is the winemaker. Cheese, chocolate and charcuterie round out the experience, and a well-curated gift shop makes for easy gift-giving.
Owner and winemaker Mark Proden put down roots here in summer 2017 after producing small-batch wine in Salem, making fruit wine in Hawaii and flying planes for 11 years with the U.S. Air Force. Inspired by the sea, he’s created a romantic but also playful and dog-friendly tasting room experience on the North Coast, complete with vines and light strands, courtyard, cafe, Adirondack chairs, fire pits, second-floor ocean-view deck and upper-reserve tasting room. Hang out and take in a tasting or flight of Oregon pinot noir or his eclectic pineapple, guava and mango wines. Also enjoy the convenience of a full lunch/dinner/appetizer menu as well as kids’ menu, picnic lunches to-go, and even water bowls and home-baked treats for the doggies in tow.
Pioneer winemaker Pat McCoy started making blackberry wine here in 1974, and it’s still a classic at this coastal vino hot spot, a former site of one of the Tillamook Creamery buildings in the early 1900s. Since 1993, owner Ray Shackleford has added a full lineup of wines and transformed the grounds into a go-to venue for local bands, community feasts and other events. Pull up a seat at the tasting room, enjoy Tillamook cheese and crackers with your flight, and try everything from a Nehalem Red Sweet to a Cranpere — a white riesling blended with cranberry. Pairs well with any hot tub.
With everything from a sparkling syrah to cabernet sauvignon, merlot and table wines for under $20, this wine bar in downtown Pacific City is a people-pleaser. Since 2008, owners Chenin and Sean Carlton have brought their deep roots in winemaking and their sense of whimsy to offer “fabulous, value-oriented wines” (produced in nearby McMinnville) in a relaxed atmosphere. They served local craft beer too, because as they say, it takes a lot of beer to make great wine.
Story by Jen Anderson
Photo of The Winery at Manzanita by @DogGoneOregon