Discover Oregon's Wine Beyond the Willamette Valley
Bend has some of best breweries in the United States, but most would agree that our wine culture is equally inspired. With award-winning local wineries, an array of sophisticated wine shops, candle-lit wine bars, and a number of citywide events that celebrate Oregon’s vintages, Bend has plenty to offer even the most selective oenophile.
Start at the Wine Shop and Beer Tasting Bar located at the northwest end of Minnesota Avenue. With wines from around the world, the wine bar features wines, ports, sakes, and champagnes by both the taste and the glass, plus 50 international and micro beers. The patio is also one of Bend’s best places to people watch. Just down the street, continue your downtown wine tasting tour with a visit to the Good Drop Wine Shoppe on Minnesota Avenue. Browse their huge selection of wines, ranging from Pacific Northwest specialties to rare vintage offerings. Their regular tasting events offer a good opportunity to sample something new. Then head for The Bend Wine Cellar, one of the funkiest wine shops in Bend where they sell quality, distinctive wines at great prices. Stop by on Saturdays from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. for complimentary tastings.
Next, head toward the Old Mill District. On your way there, you’ll encounter Elixir Wine Group, which does triple duty as an importer, winery, and tasting room. You can taste and shop for fine wines from around the world, including those from their two wineries in Mendoza, Argentina and the Willamette Valley of Oregon.
Continue your wine quest at the Naked Winery Tasting Room in the Old Mill District. This Hood River based winery brings exotic brands and provocative labels to Bend. They source their fruit from select vineyards in Oregon and Washington, producing subtle and complex wines. Before you leave the Old Mill, give our newest wine tasting room, Va Piano a try. The name Va Piano means ‘go slow’ and embodies a simple philosophy: great wine is an invitation to slow down and relax. Va Piano focuses on small lot Cabernets and Syrahs from premier Washington State growers, including their own Walla Walla Valley Estate Vineyards.
Continue on to NorthWest Crossing, where you’ll stop by Portello Wine Cafe for a terrific selection of salads, bruschetta, and of course, wine. They feature patio seating in the summer and a regular live music series on Saturdays nights. The raised bar tables were crafted from salvaged cherry barrels in the Willamette Valley, the brick walls were taken from a turn of the century Portland building, and Bend artist Andrew Wachs created the signage and wine racks. These touches combine to give Portello an urban chic atmosphere that is right at home in the contemporary neighborhood of Northwest Crossing.
If you’re up for a bit of a drive, Faith, Hope and Charity winery and vineyard is a true gem located in Terrebonne, Oregon, only a short drive from Bend. The vineyard and tasting room is nestled on 15 stunning acres where they are growing nine varieties of award-winning hybrid grapes. They also manage the grape growing at Monkey Face Vineyards, also in Terrebonne. Join them for their special monthly events like Thirsty Thursdays with live music and delicious wine.
While you’re in the area, make sure to visit the Maragas Winery vineyard 25 miles north of Bend in Culver overlooking Smith Rock. They are open year round for tastings and tours – check their website for current hours. Maragas also regularly hosts special events with food, live music, and more. The mountain and Smith Rock views are incredible from the winery. Maragas produced the first wine made entirely of Central Oregon grapes in 2009 which earned a silver medal in the prestigious San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
Whatever setting is your pleasure, Bend, Oregon offers the wine connoisseur the opportunity to drink in the most exciting wines of the region and the world. Several area wineries are part of the Drinkable Diversions, which takes you not only to wineries in the area, but also to cideries, distilleries, and a kombucha brewery in town.
Rather leave the driving up to a pro? Check out the Local Pour tour from Wanderlust Tours.