Originally posted by NolanE:
My honest suggestion for lodging is to stay in Portland and commute into the valley. When the tasting rooms close for the day the towns get very quiet and the locals take over, some who are friendly with the wine community and many that can be resentful of the tourism it brings. Plus, the restaurant quality of Portland is wildly better than anything in the valley, with maybe a couple of exceptions.
If you have to stay in the valley, the Allison is the most Napa-like place here (not a bad thing), the Third St Flats in McMinnville are a visitors' favorite. There's also Youngberg Hill B&B west of McMinnville and plenty of AirBnbs I'm sure (I haven't used any of the lodging here). The Atticus hotel just opened this week, it's supposed to be nice but I haven't had any first hand experience.
For dining, the best places are
McMinnville: Pura Vida, Community Plate (breakfast and lunch only), Nick's (I prefer the more casual back room, which is accessible through the dining room or through an alley behind the restaurant), Valley Commissary (breakfast and lunch only)
Dundee: Red Hills Market (WV's answer to Oakville Grocery), Dundee Bistro (bad pizza but everything else is solid, especially if they have a mushroom pasta), Tina's (I haven't been but locals love it)
Newberg: Jory (restaurant at the Allison, again very Napa-like, definitely on the dressy side), Recipe Part Deux, Ruddick/Wood (I don't love the food here but on Wednesdays all whisky is half off on Wednesdays all whisky is half off in the tavern portion of the restaurant), Newberg Bakery (baked goods)
Salem isn't worth spending any time in, except for a few wineries at the southern end of the Eola Amity Hills
For wineries...it all depends what you like. Some of the more exciting places are
Ayoub (appt needed)
Evesham Wood/Haden Fig (TR open on weekends, appt needed otherwise)
Brittan/Winderlea (joint TR in McMinnville, I used to work here, TR closed Tues/Wed)
Fairsing (used to work for the winemaker)
Gran Moraine (I work at Penner-Ash, also a Jackson Family Wines property, just full disclosure)
Lingua Franca (not really sure of their tasting availability but it's worth a shot if it looks interesting to you)
Walter Scott (top notch chardonnay program, they historically only do barrel tastings because the wine sells very quickly, appt needed)
Beckham (ferments and ages in amphorae that he makes himself)
Domaine Serene (people will say a lot of things, but their upper tier wines are awesome, just depends on your budget and comfort level with $120+ Oregon wines)
Vincent (small producer who works out of Grochau Cellars, appt needed)
De Ponte (good Melon de Bourgogne)
Domaine Drouhin Oregon (taste OR and Burgundy side-by-side)
White Rose (very odd tasting experience but super interesting, if expensive, and experimental wines)
Hope this helps.
Extremely helpful post, NolanE, thank you. BUT...you had me at what I put in bold above. SOLD...I'll be there soon!