Tips for the Perfect Sustainable Wine Tasting Weekend in the Dundee Hills

Where To Stay and Where To Sip Sustainable Wine in the Upper Willamette Wine Country

When we planned our first kid-free weekend getaway to the Upper Willamette Valley Wine Region in Oregon wine country last summer, I left eager to experience more, because there were so many wineries on my list we didn’t get to in a short visit.

So what’s a gal to do? Plan another trip, of course, with the relaxing and stylish Dundee Hotel nestled in the heart of the Dundee Hills as the perfect home base while we explored more organic, biodynamic, and eco-friendly wineries on my ever-growing list. With more than 800 vineyards and counting in the Willamette Valley, it can be overwhelming to know where to start, so read on for ideas on how to spend a weekend here.

5 Must-Try Sustainable Wineries in the Dundee Hills

There are many reasons to support organic, biodynamic, and eco-friendly winemakers, and I have personally been supporting wineries that are doing their best to follow sustainable practices. It’s always good to look beyond the label, though, because it is challenging for many of the smaller producers to qualify for full certification. Get to know your local winemakers, and you’ll find that many are doing what they can to minimize their environmental impact. Here are a few on my growing list.

Furioso Vineyards (organically farmed)

This recent visit to Furioso Vineyards was our third time, that is how much we enjoyed their wonderful organically-farmed wines, and how much we appreciated everything this unique setting has to offer. A modern tasting room (decorated with owner Giorgo’s personally curated art collection over 52 years), sweeping views, and the yummy onsite wood-fired pizza truck (Thursday – Sunday) are just a few.

Furioso wines are rooted in terroir, or the natural environment in which they are produced, and this includes a commitment to sustainability. Furioso began farming their land organically (no pesticides, herbicides, and minimal intervention), and are currently transitioning to a no-till farming system while working towards organic certification. Children and well-behaved dogs are both welcome, and although we have visited with both the general vibe makes for a better kid-free excursion in my opinion. 

Furioso is open daily from 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. for reservations and walk-ins, and after-hours Friday – Monday from 5 – 7 p.m. (featuring wines from around the world along with their own estate wines), and charcuterie for purchase. Book your tasting or learn more here.

Winderlea Vineyard and Winery (Demeter® certified Biodynamic®)

When I learned that Winderlea Vineyard and Winery produces Demeter® -certified Biodynamic® wines and was just up the road from the Dundee Hotel, I immediately arranged a tasting. Winderlea is a boutique winery in the Dundee Hills that specializes in limited production Pinot noir and Chardonnay, and the estate vineyard (the Winderlea vineyard site) has been farmed biodynamically since 2009 and has been Demeter certified since 2015.

If you’re not familiar with the term Biodynamic®, at a biodynamic winery, the vineyard is viewed as part of a “whole farm” holistic environment and integrated living ecosystem. Because the vineyard is treated as a self-sustaining ecosystem, that often means favoring organic practices such as composting over synthetic fertilizers, and the vineyard may hold both organic as well as biodynamic labels.

Biodynamic winery

As a bonus, the Winderlea vineyard site is incredibly beautiful, with sweeping views and plenty of indoor and outdoor seating options. Winderlea Vineyard and Winery is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. by appointment with a selection of curated tasting flights and wine and vineyard experiences. Book your tasting or learn more here.

Sokol Blosser Winery (Sustainable, Certified organic, Certified B Corp.)

Sokol Blosser Winery was recently featured in Food&Wine as one of 20 best Oregon wineries to visit, and I’m not surprised. Everything about our first tasting at Sokol Blosser was top-notch, from the welcome bubbly upon arriving at the beautiful main tasting room (and the tasty and thoughtfully laid out butcher’s board charcuterie) to the brief wander around the peaceful grounds where we met the resident tomcat, Harry.

Most of all, I appreciated the quality of the wines and the long-standing environmental ethic that went into producing them. From the time the Sokol Blossers started their winery in 1971 until today, sustainability has been a way of life, reflected in the environmentally-conscious practices in all aspects of their business. Now run by the second generation of family winemakers, the business continues to emphasize sustainability in three categories – “people, planet, and profit,” and these values are reflected in everything from their certifications to the USDA organic certification for their vineyard.

Green roof at a sustainable winery in Oregon

Sokol Blosser is open seven days a week, Monday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for seated tastings and reservations are required. Supervised children and “friendly dogs on leashes” are both welcome. Book your tasting or learn more here.

Corollary Wines (Sustainable Farming Methods – Organic, Biodynamic, and/or LIVE certified)

What better way to toast a wonderful weekend in the wine country than a visit to Corollary Wines, where owners Jeanne and Dan are dedicated to exploring the terroir of the Willamette Valley, and its expression in 100% Oregon-grown sparkling wines produced using traditional methods with minimal intervention.

At Corollary, the owners are also dedicated to working exclusively with growers and farmers who are broadly committed to farming sustainably, which may mean organically, biodynamically, and LIVE certified. And, since 2019, all their vineyards are herbicide free. The wines are also produced more naturally with minimal manipulation and minimal sulphur.

Limited dates are available for online bookings for winemaker-led tastings for groups of up to twelve. They may also be able to accommodate different dates by request. Make your booking or inquire here.

Bonus for Families: Stoller Family Estate in Nearby Dayton

If you’re looking for a family-friendly winery that is also focused on increased sustainability measures, look no further than Stoller Family Estate, in neighboring Dayton. While Stoller wines are not organic or biodynamic, the business is committed to many sustainable and responsible farming practices, such as being LIVE certified (the vineyard in 2006 and the winery in 2009), constructing their buildings from recycled materials (LEED Gold certified), and they were also the first Northwest winery to produce solar energy.

The Stoller estate is also home to one of the largest private oak savannas in the Pacific Northwest and is committed to preserving native plants and wildlife. Imagine your children frolicking in the meadow and swinging on the tire swing under an old native oak tree while you sip your wine in a comfy Adirondack chair, and that is the vibe at Stoller.

Classic tastings in the Heritage Tasting Room occur daily from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and you can book your tasting here.

Where to Stay in Dundee Oregon Wine Country

We made the Dundee Hotel our home base, and we couldn’t have asked for a more relaxing experience while we spent our days exploring the wine country. The Dundee Hotel is a boutique hotel located in the heart of Dundee, with 22 unique guestrooms and suites as well as five onsite luxury tasting rooms, so you don’t even need to leave the property if you don’t want to.

A few more things I appreciated about the Dundee Hotel were:

  • The town of Dundee was incredibly quiet and laid-back, which made a perfect retreat after a busy day of wine tasting, and the hotel was very private.
  • Everything was so close to the Dundee Hotel. Many of the wineries were just minutes away, and there were some nice restaurants and tasting rooms within walking distance. The neighboring AVA towns were also just a short drive.
  • The suite we stayed in at the hotel (the King Suite) was spacious, quiet, and very private.
  • I appreciated the special touches like bathrobes, a regular coffee maker, an espresso maker, plenty of coffee pods, two wine fridges, and complimentary fresh fruit. 
  • They also have five nice tasting rooms on-site if you’d like to stay in.
  • The hotel is dog-friendly (although we didn’t bring ours).
A quiet, relaxing night in Dundee, Oregon Wine Country.
We could hear the frogs singing on the peaceful walk between the Dundee Hotel and nearby eateries.

Where to Eat in Dundee

The great thing about staying at the Dundee Hotel was that several eateries were a short walk (or drive) away. For breakfast both days, we walked to Red Hills Market, where we enjoyed hot breakfasts (the avocado toast was divine) and coffee drinks (they also have a lunch and dinner menu including woodfired pizza, and an extensive beer, wine, and cocktail list). We also appreciated that it was casual (dogs and children welcome) with indoor and outdoor seating and even cornhole.

For lunch, each day we indulged in marvelous charcuterie plates, offered at several of the wineries mentioned above. We also picked up some cheeses for a special snack from Briar Rose Creamery. It was great to have a full fridge in our spacious hotel suite because we could keep snacks in our room as well.

For dinner, the first night, we walked to Trellis Wine Bar & Kitchen, where we enjoyed delicious entrees, wonderful service, and a nice outdoor patio too. The second night we headed to nearby McMinnville.

I hope I have inspired you to book a sustainable wine-tasting weekend in the Dundee Hills! If you liked this post, you might also enjoy my blog on 6 Great Organic, Biodynamic, and Eco-Friendly Winemakers to Support. As always I welcome your comments below. Cheers!

Thank you to The Dundee Hotel and the featured wineries for hosting this post so that I could provide this resource. All wineries featured above were personally chosen by me, and my opinions are my own.

Images and content copyright © 2023 Tournesol Adventures. All rights reserved.

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