On the trail
Oregon’s wine trails are ready-made road maps for exploring.
By Tracy Howard Garton
Forget the cowboy coffee of the original Oregon Trail—today, trail explorations throughout the state are fueled by pours of award-winning Pinot noir, Tempranillo, and Syrah, among dozens of other local varieties. That is, if you know which trails to follow.
Many of the state’s winegrowing regions (or American Viticultural Areas) feature “wine trails” to direct visitors to a string of nearby wineries and vineyards. Following a specific route offers not only the convenience of curation (there are more than 900 wineries throughout the state, after all) and navigation (in many cases, you can download the routes on your phone) but also chances to score juicy perks.
Within Portland proper, the downloadable PDX Urban Wineries map pinpoints wineries within city limits. Check off five on the list to earn discounts and invitations to special events. The Mount Hood Territory Wine Trail offers discounts at each of its 16 producers nestled around Mount Hood. In Southern Oregon, follow the Umpqua Valley Wine Trail by downloading the easy-to-navigate app to find more than two dozen wineries. Collect stamps from five wineries on the accompanying “passport” and you’re eligible to win free gifts. Just outside of Medford, the Upper Rogue Wine Trail consists of a network of six wineries. Visit in May to take part in the “Roam the Rogue” event, which features special deals on tastings and a souvenir wine glass.