At one time, Dundee was known mostly for its filberts (known to most of the world as hazelnuts) and the roadside Dundee Nut House. Now the town has several good restaurants and a plethora of wineries in the hills above town. But drive around; you’ll still see filbert orchards.
One of Oregon’s largest and oldest (dating from 1967) wineries is Erath (9409 NE Worden Hill Rd., 503/538-3318), which in 2006 was purchased by Washington’s largest winery, Chateau Ste. Michelle. Erath’s wood-paneled tasting room sits high in the Red Hills of Dundee, where beautiful picnic sites command an imposing view of local vineyards and the Willamette Valley.
To get there, go 2 miles north from the center of Dundee until you see a blue state highway sign marking the turnoff near the junction of Route 99W and 9th Street. Ninth Street turns into Worden Hill Road, a thoroughfare that’s more or less the glory road of Oregon wine. Appropriately, the road looks out over vistas dominated by grapevines.
Close by is Lange Estate Winery and Vineyards (18380 NE Buena Vista Dr., 503/538-6476), a good place to try pinot noir, chardonnay, or pinot gris. Oregon-style pinot gris is medium-bodied, bright, and acidic, with citrusy overtone—really good with grilled salmon.
An easy stop on Route 99W east of Dundee is Duck Pond Cellars (23145 Rte. 99W, 503/538-3199), which produces wines from both Oregon- and Washington-grown grapes. If you’re a price-driven wine shopper, note that this is the place to pick up some less-expensive (but still quite drinkable) wine.
The intersection of Sokol Blosser Lane and Route 99W sits about 2 miles west of Dundee. Sokol Blosser Lane leads to Sokol Blosser Winery (5000 Sokol Blosser Lane, 800/582-6688). In addition to its pinot noir, the chardonnay is especially recommended at the tasting room. Also good is the rosé of pinot noir—don’t turn up your nose at this pink wine; it’s fruity and floral, but not overly sweet.
Located in an old farmhouse in downtown Dundee, the Argyle Winery (691 Rte. 99W, 503/538-8520) tasting room is the place to come to sample sparkling wine good enough to have graced the Clintons’ White House table (and a certain travel writer’s wedding reception). It is the state’s leading producer of sparkling wine in the tradition of French champagne.
Domaine Drouhin (6750 Breyman Orchards Rd., 503/864-2700, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Wed.–Sun.), also near Dundee, is the Oregon outpost of France’s famed Drouhin family, and makes excellent pinot noirs in the Burgundy style.
While cruising the wine country, antiques collectors can pull off Route 99 into the town of Lafayette to visit Lafayette Schoolhouse Antiques (748 Rte. 99W, 503/864-2720, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily), where Oregon’s largest antiques display can be found in the old schoolhouse, mill, and auditorium. Imagine 10,000 square feet of antiques spread over three floors in a 1910 building. The mall promises it won’t sell reproductions.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel