If you're going wine tasting in Oregon's beautiful Willamette Valley, be sure to stop at Utopia Vineyard. With ample outdoor space, two bocce ball courts, and beautiful wines, this really is utopia!
In 1998, Dan Warnshuis came up to Oregon from California to search for the ideal vineyard site. It took him two years, but when he found the land - then a horse pasture - he knocked on the owner's door. Turns out, the owner was looking to sell.
Right time, right place. And that's the kismet birth of Utopia Vineyard.
Utopia Vineyard: Timeline to Blissful Winemaking
Over the next few years, Dan worked tirelessly to transform the land, while still living and working in California. In the fall of 2002, he planted his first vines, consisting mostly of Dijon and Pommard clones.
In 2005, Utopia's first estate Pinot Noir was produced. It was a blend of six clones, and Dan made 97 cases. Dan, his wife Kathy, and their daughter Erin, officially made the move onto the house on the property; the three of them continue to run Utopia Vineyard. The first commercial release of Utopia Vineyard estate Pinot Noir came in 2006, with 413 cases produced.
Now, Utopia Vineyard is thriving. They have a total of nearly 19 acres planted at the moment, including three acres of Chardonnay.
Plus, in 2018, Utopia acquired 37 more acres of new land up the road, including an old barn and stable that has been rebuilt. There, you'll find Dan's new winery project, as well as the Utopia Vineyard Log Cabin.
Wine tasting at Utopia Vineyard
Utopia Vineyard is a beautiful place for wine tasting in the Willamette Valley.
There is space inside the tasting room for socially distant indoor wine tasting.
But during these remaining sunny months, I'd suggest grabbing one of the many picnic tables outside on the lawn facing the vineyard. Or, one of the patio tables.
There are also plenty of games to keep everyone in your party occupied.
You'll find two regulation-size Bocce ball courts located right next to the parking lot. Plus, they have cornhole! Fun for the whole family.
Speaking of family, Utopia is most definitely family-friendly. It's also dog-friendly. Just make sure you keep your dog on a leash.
This cutie pie pup pictured above stole my heart during my visit to Utopia.
Utopia focuses on producing small-batch, artisan Pinot Noir.
If you are not familiar with Oregon Pinot Noir wines, Utopia Vineyard is an excellent place to earn your education. If you are familiar, then you'll find yourself in wine geek heaven.
Utopia grows numerous Pinot Noir clones that are known to create wines with character and distinct flavor. Depending on which Pinot Noir you are drinking, you could be drinking a blend of Dijon 115, 667, and 777, along with the Pommard, Wadensville and/or Swan clones.
Utopia also has plantings of five different Heirloom and Old World clones from old vine cuttings taken from well-established Pinot Noir vineyards in Oregon and California.
My two personal favorites during my tasting at Utopia: the 2016 Paradise Pinot Noir ($65) and the 2016 Eden Pinot Noir ($100). Both have delicious black cherry and spice aromas and flavors, and smooth tannins. These wines also both have an elegant long finish, with the potential to age beautifully.
Utopia Vineyard also makes an Estate Chardonnay, as well as a Late Harvest Riesling and a Bandol-style Rosé of Pinot Noir.
While you're here, you should also try the Pinot Noir Blanc ($45). If you've never tasted a white Pinot Noir before, you're in for a treat! This wine is a lovely champagne color with hint of pale pink, with citrus and light tropical notes on the nose and on the palate.
IG Live with Utopia Vineyard
Want to learn more about Utopia wines? Curious about the difference between Oregon Pinot Noir, California Pinot Noir, and Burgundy Pinot Noir? Join me and Utopia Vineyard owner Dan Warnshuis for an IG LIVE: PINOT NOIR WINES OF THE WORLD!
We'll be talking and tasting our way through:
- 2016 Eden Pinot Noir
- 2017 Estate Pinot Noir
- 2018 Estate Pinot Noir
You can tune in and taste along with us, or watch the replay that I will add to my IGTV afterward.
Visit Utopia Vineyard
17445 NE Ribbon Ridge Road
Newberg, OR 97132
HOURS: open daily 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
Reservations recommended for parties of 8 or more
- Dog-friendly (dogs must be on leash)
- Appointments recommended but not required
- All wine flights are pre-poured upon your appointment time, prior to seating.
- Staff will wear a face covering at all times.
- Tables, chairs & glassware are sanitized prior to guest arrival and between seatings.
- Frequently touched surfaces will be sanitized throughout the day.
- Hand sanitizer stations are readily available.
- Tables are spaced a minimum of 6-10ft apart.
- Face coverings are available for guests upon request and highly encouraged.
For more information visit the Utopia Vineyard website.
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