If your idea of a good time includes charming towns, stunning landscapes, plus food and wine that tantalises your tastebuds, you’re going to be hopelessly in love with this delicious two-state road trippin’ journey that transverses through Oregon and California.
The “Pacific Northwest Wine Trail” itinerary is a journey overflowing with iconic sights, unique experiences, and of course, a vast selection of some of the best food and wine the USA has to offer.
From the originality of big-city Portland to the picturesque vineyards of the Napa Valley; this roadie will have you sampling some of the very best of Oregon and Northern California.
Are you ready to treat your senses to a trip that you’ll still be dreaming about for years to come?
Explore all of Brand USA’s 31 Amazing Self Drive Road Trip itineraries here.
Pacific Northwest Wine Trail: Route Highlights
1. San Francisco, California > Napa Valley, California
Your journey begins when you arrive in San Francisco, jump in your car, and take a leisurely drive to Napa Valley.
Drive over the famous Golden Gate Bridge and stop for a photo at the Golden Gate Bridge Vista Point in Sausalito before entering the quaint Mediterranean-inspired town for a spot of lunch. Then, continue on to Napa, which is in the heart of California’s wine region.
Downtown Napa offers a wealth of dining and nightlife options, as well as local arts and craft stores to explore. You can stay here or just outside of town in one of the many Napa Valley resorts.
A new day means it’s time to explore Napa Valley’s fabulous vineyards in Yountville. Ensure you have a designated driver or organise transport for this winery-hopping trip. (Don’t drink and drive, people!)
Some of the most beautiful locations to sip wine in the Valley include Domaine Chandon, Cakebread Cellars, Rutherford Estates, and V. Sattui Winery. Four stops in and you’re probably a little peckish, which is good news; as V. Sattui features an artisan deli, offering a charcuterie selection from their own salumeria and more than 200 cheeses. YUM.
Then hop, skip, or jump your way into Opus One Winery in Oakville. Sitting amid lush vineyards and a grassy lawn, the Opus One building rises gradually from the landscape, immersing visitors in the gorgeous setting. But make sure you book, as appointments are required to visit this unique vineyard.
Dining options are plentiful in the Napa Valley, but if you’re looking for something special, make sure you head to The Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil, which is renowned as the first fine-dining establishment in Napa Valley and boasts 13 consecutive Michelin Star awards. The combination of local ingredients, spectacular views, and an unmatched wine selection might just make it into your top 5 dinners ever.
- DRIVE TIME: 107kms: 2 hours 3mins drive time
2. Napa Valley, California
A new dawn, a new day and a new wine glass!
Begin your second day in Napa Valley at one of wine country’s true landmarks, the famous chateau at Domaine Carneros, inspired by the classic 18th century Château de la Marquetterie in Champagne, France.
Channel your inner Lord or Lady, and enjoy a brunch of sparkling wine, caviar, and smoked salmon from your private table on the terrace overlooking gardens, a lake and the vineyards.
Conclude your Napa Valley experience in vintage-luxury style with dinner aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train. Journey back in time, travelling in 100-year-old railcars along a 150-year-old rail corridor on a 60-kilometre route from downtown Napa to St. Helena and back, stopping at celebrated Napa Valley wineries along the way.
3. Napa Valley, California > Redding, California
Jump back in the car and depart Napa along the Silverado Trail, which winds its way northwest to Calistoga, home to famous mineral hot springs and historic mud baths. Visit the Old Faithful Geyser of California or the awe-inspiring Castello di Amorosa, a Tuscan-inspired castle and winery.
If you’re craving a more energetic start, get up early and visit the Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, just outside Calistoga. Take the 16-kilometre, round-trip hike to the summit of Mount St. Helena, and soak up the amazing views of Napa Valley, the San Francisco Bay region and even Mount Shasta and Lassen Peak on clear days.
Break up the rest of your journey to Redding with a stop at New Clairvaux Vineyard, located in the small town of Vina. This historic vineyard is a unique wine destination: It’s home to Trappist-Cistercian monks, an order with a wine-making history that dates back nearly a thousand years.
Stay the night in Redding hotel, and if you’re a carnivore, fill up on a hearty dinner at Cattlemens Steakhouse.
Another day brings another tasting, and first on your list should be Indian Peak Vineyards in the historic town of Manton, followed by a taste and learn experience at the Moseley Family Cellars. Make sure you complete your stay by booking dinner at Moonstone Bistro; a hidden gem that’s focused on using fresh, seasonable, organic, local, and sustainable ingredients.
- DRIVE TIME: 284kms: 2 hours 47 mins drive time
4. Redding, California > Rogue Valley, Oregon
Say hello to the beautiful Rogue Valley. Your first stop in Oregon will be Ashland, sitting at the base of the Cascade and Siskiyou mountain ranges and home to a vibrant arts scene, which includes the Oregon Shakespeare Festival – perfect for a culture fix.
The wine is just a short distance from town. Visit the Irvine & Roberts Vineyards, Paschal Winery and Del Rio Vineyard Estate for stunning views and good times and then break up the day with a change of scenery.
The House of Mystery at the Oregon Vortex, is a house situated on what is rumored to be a sort of “whirlpool of force.” It will have you questioning everything you see, maybe even your own height. (Especially if you’re a little tipsy during your visit!)
All that thinking certainly ups the appetite, so enjoy a tasting and lunch at Schmidt Family Vineyards, followed by a visit to the fully-organic Wooldridge Creek Vineyard, Winery, Creamery & Charcuterie overlooking the Applegate River Valley. The farm is also home to dwarf goats, chickens, a mini donkey, and a mini horse, among other pets.
A great dinner choice is River’s Edge Restaurant, located on the banks of the Rogue River and offering a menu of locally sourced ingredients. Arrive just before sunset and witness nature’s show over the river and surrounding hills.
- DRIVE TIME: 257kms: 2 hours 33 mins drive time
5. Rogue Valley, Oregon > Eugene, Oregon
Take the morning off from wine tastings to visit Crater Lake National Park. Formed by a volcanic eruption and eventual collapse of the volcano more than 7,000 years ago, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the USA and one of the deepest in the world. The strikingly blue, pristine mountain lake is well worth the detour – trust us!
You don’t have to be thirsty for long though; rejoin your wine trail in the Umpqua Valley, and stop at Abacela Winery in Roseburg.
Then, continue your journey north to Eugene, located at the south end of the Willamette Valley on the banks of the Willamette River. This picturesque, lively city offers a mix of arts, culture, outdoors, and dining. For an exceptional culinary experience, have dinner at Grit, located in the historic Shamrock House with a menu inspired by local produce.
Head back to Eugene and explore the 5th Street Public Market and its locally owned stores and eateries, and immerse yourself in culture at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History or the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art before another cheeky vino stop at King Estate Winery for dinner. The gourmet menu features vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers grown on property. It’s a truly memorable dining experience overlooking equally remarkable scenery.
- DRIVE TIME: 262kms: 2 hours 31 mins drive time
6. Eugene, Oregon > Willamette Valley, Oregon
Just north of Eugene in Junction City, you will find Pfeiffer Winery, a boutique winery, and tasting room, where, if you are lucky, you might be able to listen as the winemaker discusses the varietals in his informal “Pinot Clinic.”
A short distance away is Walnut Ridge Vineyard, housed in a unique French Colonial-style tasting room with outdoor areas amid breathtaking vistas of the Cascade and Oregon Coast mountains.
Continue into the heart of the Willamette Valley to Newberg and delight in dinner at The Painted Lady; a charming farm-to-table fine dining restaurant that’s tucked away in a Victorian house in a quiet neighborhood just steps from downtown.
In the evening, take a short drive to Dayton to dine at Joel Palmer House. Mushroom lovers, rejoice! The menu shines a spotlight on wild mushrooms and truffles, which are gathered by restaurant staff and incorporated into family recipes with other locally raised ingredients. Naturally, the cuisine is complemented by local Oregon wines.
- DRIVE TIME: 107kms: 1 hour 5 mins drive time
7. Willamette Valley, Oregon > Portland, Oregon
The last leg (sad face) of your Willamette Valley tour starts at another one of Oregon’s pioneering wineries, Sokol Blosser Winery, just northeast of Dayton, followed by your final winery experience, at the picturesque Clubhouse at Domaine Serene. Drop-in for a tasting, or schedule an intimate tour in advance, and perhaps choose to combine your tasting with a delectable culinary offering.
After lunch, depart the Willamette Valley for big-city Portland, and arrive in time to explore the rich culinary scene – because you’re still on holiday and it’s still totally okay to be treating yourself!
Housed in a restored industrial building, Olympia Provisions Southeast started as the city’s first salumeria but has expanded into a restaurant with an innovative take on rustic Spanish and Mediterranean cooking. Come hungry enough to start your meal with a charcuterie board and end your day, and your roadie with a mouth-watering share plate.
The “Pacific Northwest Wine Trail” will leave you feeling like you’ve seen, smelt, felt and tasted the magic of this flavoursome part of the States.
Cheers and bon appetit!
- DRIVE TIME: 76kms: 54 mins drive time
Download the complete ‘Pacific Northwest Wine Trail itinerary here!’
Get the Road Trip Playlist
This I Like Wine playlist will have you Californian Dreaming and singing all the way Back To Oregon with artists such as John Mayer, Dolly Parton, California Zephyr, and more.
With songs dedicated to these Valley Oak destinations, you’ll be feeling like the Queen Of California, dancing merrily from vineyard to vineyard. Just be careful not to Spill The Wine!
Agents: Download, Escape and Explore GoUSA TV
GoUSA TV is a free premier travel entertainment channel. Watch full episodes, documentaries and films, told from the diverse perspectives of real people across America.
With more than 400 authentic and short format videos featuring destinations from all 50 states, 5 territories, and the District of Columbia, there’s never been a better time to get online and enjoy some incredible travel entertainment!
Available for download in the App or Play store and on Apple TV.
More info here.
Agents: Join the USA Discovery Program
The USA Discovery Program is Brand USA’s official trade training platform for the USA. The Pacific Northwest Wine Trails itinerary features two destinations with training badges.
Get clicking and complete your California and Oregon badges and get all the knowledge in a fun and interactive way.
Click here to register and get all the knowledge for the USA.
PLUS! Design your own Road Trip with the USA TRIP PLANNER
The Visit USA Trip Planner is an amazing (and free!) tool that matches your personal travel preferences and style.
With over 230 million data points including the best places & times to visit, reviews and hidden gems, this is one smart piece of travel tech.
This little travel genius optimises your itinerary to minimise travel time, checks when attractions are open and even recommends how much time to spend at each stop off. Brilliant!
Finally, it lets you share & collaborate with your fellow road trippers and is easy to add or revise points of interest as you go.
Find out more: Trip-Planner.VisitTheUSA.com
Get all the tools on Brand USA’s TRAVEL TRADE SITE
From Trip Planners to Itineraries and the USA Discovery Program and Destination information, Brand USA’s Travel Trade Site for agents has you covered.
Hero image – Willamette Valley, Oregon
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