Oregon Wine Country
This Saturday I’ll be running the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon in my new home, Yamhill County. There are several tiny towns here brimming with tasting rooms, local curiosities, and good eats. If you’ll be running this event, this post has views from the course, notes on wineries to visit, and a list of other places to eat and sip!
See you at the finish line!
Half Marathon Course
I drove the course (as best I could) this week and noted that, with the heat we’ve had, the fields are browner than normal. Still, the lush vineyards, orchards, and trees along the route will be lovely. Here are some images for you.
- Miles 10 to 12 will include a long stretch of GRAVEL ROAD, no tree cover. This is mentioned in the description of the course on the website. It’s a tough spot in the race for gravel. I’ll be bringing my Buff to cover my mouth in case it gets ridiculously dusty out there.
- Miles 6 to 7 is undergoing road construction. The website says we run north on Abbey Rd and turn left on Hendricks Rd. Currently, this stretch of road is torn up and there is a gravel road detour for cars. I have no idea how/if this effects the course but I’m prepared to hit gravel at the halfway point as well. Maybe they’ll have it all done by Saturday?
- Plenty of good views to be had, but all in all, not a ton of tree cover and more farms than vineyards. I had also heard the course was hilly but, I don’t see that. With less than 400 ft elevation gain, I’m more concerned about the gravel than the “hills”.
- Don’t forget about the WINE AID STATION! At mile 8, you’ll pass Lemelson Vineyards. And they’ll have an aid station serving water, of course, but also WINE. I hope it’s a chilled Chardonnay.
Oregon Wineries To Visit
Alright, I’ve visited a few of the wineries on the partner list (found here) and highly recommend you check these places out. Scroll to the bottom for a map of ALL the partner wineries in case you want to plan a driving tour.
Stoller Family Vineyards (The Start)
It’ll be easy to see how gorgeous this location is because it is the start of the race. However, it’s worth coming back afterward to play, picnic, and sip wine with family. Adele and Shannon will be there to answer any questions about the wine and history of this family vineyard. Here are a few notes of interest about Stoller:
- $15 Tasting Fee and $25 to $115 wines. Great Club Benefits.
- Family & Dog Friendly with picnic tables, disc golf, and doggie waste bags.
- All wines come from grapes grown on their 400 acre estate.
- Definitely try the 2014 Pinot Noir Rosé.
Anne Amie Vineyards – Family Friendly
Not far off the half marathon course is another scenic and family friendly winery. They have hammocks and a great outdoor seating at the top of a hill I’m glad I don’t have to run up! Bring a picnic and play corn hole while the cheery new sommelier, Tiquette, answers all your silly wine questions (I have a lot of silly question). Key notes about Anne Amie:
- $15 Tasting Fee and $25 to $60 wines
- 100% estate wines once they phase our their Walla Walla AVA Syrah.
- Named after the owner’s two daughters also depicted on the labels.
- Must try the 2012 Prismé Pinot Noir Blanc.
Elizabeth Chambers in McMinnville
After the race, it’s a quick drive to downtown McMinnville where you can find some of the best restaurants around. Elizabeth Chambers is a new, boutique cellar with all the wisdom and experience of winemaking from famed Panther Creek. Located in a renovated historical building, there is a large outdoor area that makes this a great location to relax before dinner.
- $10 Tasting Fee and $18 to $48 wines. Or buy a glass for $6 to $10.
- Winemaking happens right there in the building where you can see!
- They’ll be sampling 2012 Cuvée Pinot Noir & 2013 Pinot Gris at the race.
- Must try the 2012 Freedom Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir at their tasting room!
Ken Wright at the Finish Festival
In this area of the wine world, Ken Wright is the man and the former railroad station turned tasting room is the spot! They’re going to host the post-race VIP brunch as well. I’m so glad they’ll be sampling at the finish line festival because I’m not sure I can afford their wine.
- Plan on spending a bit more $$$ to taste and buy here.
- Know that Oregon wine would not be what it is without Ken.
- Taste everything!
Carlton Cellars – Pet The Grapes
The finish line festival will be in the parking lot of Carlton Cellars, which is right across the street from Ken Wright. This is a custom crush facility, meaning they let winemakers and small vineyards use their equipment to create their own wine labels. They also have two rows of “petting vines” next to the building so you can see different grape varietals up close!
- $10 Tastings Fees and $18 to $45 wines.
- Harvest volunteers can learn something and get some wine in exchange.
- They’ll let the runners use their indoor restrooms!
- Try the 2011 Road’s End Pinot Noir if you can!
Map of Partner Wineries
Where to Eat & Drink in Yamhill County:
Now that I’ve lived here for about a month I’ve tried a few great spots, but there is a lot more to do and see here than you realize. Driving through these small towns it doesn’t seem like there is much, but there really is! Here are some spots I recommend by town:
CARLTON – Where the race ends.
- Barrel 47 has your standard burger, salad, steak and beer menu. It used to be the old bank and the vault in the back has shuffleboard and darts. I’ve eaten here twice and it does the trick at a reasonable price.
- If you want a small nibble, try The Carlton Bakery. I’ve yet to stop in but I hear their pastries are addicting.
LAFAYETTE – Where the race starts.
- On the Way Cafe has a comprehensive diner menu with breakfast being the best option. It’s a good spot for kids with a play area.
MCMINNVILLE – Best town to eat, stay, and drink.
- GET TAPAS at La Rambla. Spicy, not too pricy, sit down spot.
- BEER & GAMES at Grain Station Brew Works. Kids like the outdoor game area.
- BEST VIEW from the rooftop at 1882 Grille. Also good beers.
- GET NAKED at the newest tasting room in town. Naked Winery is fun and flirty.
- DESSERT at Serendipity includes ice cream and sherbet. Cute. Vintage.
- SIT DOWN at Nick’s Italian Cafe, which is a local favorite.
- NEED PIZZA? Mikey’s Pizzeria is by far my favorite.
- CHIPS & SALSA? Pura Vida has great Latin American food!
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary race entry in exchange for writing about the event. All opinions and recommendations are my own.