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Travel: In Search Of Pinot In Willamette Valley
International Pinot Noir Festival Salmon Bake

Travel: In Search Of Pinot In Willamette Valley

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In Search Of Pinot
Willamette Valley, Oregon


August 8 - 12, 2014

Check out traveler reviews for previous years of this trip by clicking on the Reviews tab. 


For five days and four nights experience Oregon’s North Willamette Valley in a fashion unavailable to most people.  Travel with your own knowledgeable and experienced wine experts who possess an industry-level knowledge of the most storied wine area in Oregon.  You will enjoy the most exclusive of wine tours imaginable, not offered to the general public.  Your experience will include winemakers and winery owners, and internationally-recognized chefs de cuisine.  Your accommodations are convenient and comfortable.  The food experiences will be stellar, from freshly caught salmon and freshly plucked Kumamoto oysters to hand-harvested mushrooms.  In summary, with the exception of your airfare to Oregon, everything on this trip is included and provided.  Again, the group is limited in size and inclusion is first-come, first-served.  So make your reservations now!


View a short video summary of our 2011 Oregon trip.



Eleven (11) winery visits - access to experiences that are unobtainable by the general public

Private wine dinners with winemakers, in awe-inspiring wineries, with award winning chefs…


Bonus Offering

Whether you arrived early, or decide to stay a few days, we will provide a free itinerary service for your winery/excursion visits.

*Normally $150/day per group, we are waiving this for our trip participants,


DAY 1: Depart to Portland, Oregon

AWS will provide the transfer mid-day from the Portland airport to the hotel.

Check-in to our hotel.  We’ll start each day with a hearty breakfast.

6:00pm: Depart for our inagural dinner and our formal introduction to Oregon Pinot Noir.


DAY 2: Start the day with a hearty breakfast!

9:30am: Assemble in the lobby.  Our first stop will be Penner-Ash.  This vineyard offers high-end, boutique Pinots.  We will get to step out into the vineyards and take in the gorgeous view over the Willamette River while tasting some excellent Pinots.

12:00pm: Lunch and tasting at Elk Cove. This small family owned and managed winery is known for their Pinot Noirs but their 2009 Pinot Gris was named to Wine Spectator’s top 100 Wines of 2010!  We will enjoy a catered lunch paired with their wines on the terrace overlooking the vineyards.

3:00pm: At Chehalem we’ll sample some hard-to-find-but-worth-it wines while wandering through the vineyards with founder, owner and winemaker Harry Peterson-Nedry.

6:30pm:  It’s unusual for us to include a restaurant dinner in our trip.  But this is no usual restaurant.  Joel Palmer House (circa 1857) is named for one of Oregon's preeminent pioneers.  The owner Jack Czarnecki is one of the country’s most knowledgeable mushroom gatherers!  Not surprisingly, we will experience mushrooms like never before.  Don’t worry!  If fungi aren’t your thing, there will be wonderful alternatives!!


DAY 3: Wakey, wakey eggs 'n bakey!!

9:00am: We will depart for Domaine Serene.  At this landmark winery we will experience their collection of single vineyard Pinots.  Winemaker Erik Kramer is a definite foodie.  So we will enjoy some great conversation around Pinot pairings!

11:00am: Domain Drouhin has its roots in Burgundy.  In fact, most of the family is still there growing grapes and crafting fine Burgundy wines.  This unique experience will allow us to compare and contrast their Oregon Pinots to their Beaune Burgundies in a gorgeous setting.  They have a very appropriate saying about their Oregon Winery: French soul, Oregon soil.

1:00pm: The Ponzi family has been producing world class wines since 1970.  Their culinary endeavor is just over 10 years old.  We will experience both their luscious wines and their sophisticated dishes at their restaurant Dundee Bistro.

3:00pm until 6:00pm: Free Time.  Our free afternoon is offered to our guests as an opportunity to experience some “down-time.” Relax at Spa Bliss,  or do some shopping and strolling thru the small villages of McMinnville.

*We are happy to make reservations for the spa but it is not included in your tour price. Times and prices are available upon request, first-come, first-serve.

6:00pm: AnneAmie boasts breathtaking views of their vineyards and the Pacific Coast Range.  Their vineyard manager is on the board of LIVE – Low Input Viticulture and Enology.  We’ll get schooled on LIVE and taste AnneAmie’s beautiful pinots during a special wine dinner.


DAY 4: Now you're catching your stride!

9:30am:  Off for Erath!  You’ve heard of this winery and perhaps know them for some inexpensive, large production wines.  But their single vineyard Pinots are the gems.  We will even get a taste of their highly rated La Nuit Magique.

12:00pm:  Let’s celebrate Oregon Pinot Gris and seafood at Sokol Blosser!  We’ll enjoy a full flight of Sokol Blosser Pinot Gris, including several hard to find vintages. 

3:00pm:  We will head to Bergstrom for a tasting in their barrel hall.  Their winemaker and vineyard manager Josh Bergstrom was trained in Burgundy.  We will have the unique pleasure of talking with him about his grapes and his wines. 

7:00pm: A special SURPRISE location and wines along with a sumptuous dinner.


DAY 5: Head home or extend your stay

Whether you arrived early, or decide to stay a few days, we will provide a free itinerary service for your winery/excursion visits.  Normally $150/day per group, we are waiving this for our trip participants!


View a short video summary of our 2011 Oregon trip.

Many flights are available to Portland International Airport (PDX) from major U.S. cities on a variety of carriers. Your transportation to and from PDX is included in your package.

Program Inclusions

  • All Ground Transportation and airport transfers (if arriving Saturday at Portland airport & leaving Wednesday from Portland airport) during stay
  • Special Wine Hosts from AWS
  • Four (4) Nights Accommodations
  • All meals, tastings, tours, and excursions INCLUDING Wine
  • Industry-Level discounts on purchases


Not Included

  • Airfare
  • Trip Insurance


Review our Travel Terms and Conditions for all of the fine print!

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Customer Reviews

  • Author: Sally Wood
    Pinot heaven! This trip was everything and more than I hoped for. After having this destination on my wish list for many years, I was more than satisfied. The salmon bake is extraordinary! I never would have been able to have the same experience on my own. Loads of fun!
  • Author: Pam and Bill Blackstone
    If you love Pinot, this is the trip for you! The scenery was lovely, meals were wonderful and the wine was the star of the show. The salmon bake was an experience we will remember the rest of our lives. One of the best trips we have taken with the Atlanta Wine School. And we have taken serveral.
  • Author: Teresa Meggs
    What could be better than 'Vineyard crawls' in the extraordinarily beautiful countryside of the Willamette Valley in the spectacular Pacific northwest? The food, fellow wine-lovers and the PINOT of course!!!! Don't let the laid back atmosphere of the of Oregon Wine Country fool you; the Wine is outstanding! Another amazing Atlanta Wine School Travel experience!!
  • Author: Dan and Cathy Nelson
    The incredible beauty of the Oregon countryside and that unique Oregon Pinot Noir quality of bright red fruit with smoky and earthy reminders of the Oregon forests - all surrounded by a special silkiness that we have found only in Oregon Pinot...these have become two of our favorite things. Already big fans of both after several prior visits, our Oregon wine experiences were rounded out and topped off with the best of the best when we visited with AWS last summer. Incredible winery visits, tastings, and meals; wonderful wines from top wineries across the Willamette Valley; and the ultimate experience of the IPNC Salmon bake - all with a great group of wine and fun loving AWS friends. This is a special trip not to be missed!

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