March 28th, 2024

Plan your weekend getaway around the Yamhill-Carlton AVA Spring Tasting

A group of people lift their glasses to smell their wine.  One person pours wine into a guest's glass.
Guest enjoying Carlton Hill wine at the Yamhill-Carlton Spring Tasting. Photo credit: Carolyn Wells Kramer, courtesy of Yamhill-Carlton AVA.

The vineyard-dotted hills surrounding McMinnville grow some incredible grapes and area wineries produce world-class wines. Even though these wineries aren’t far away from one another it’s still tough to get to more than a few in a day, but at an upcoming event you can swirl and sip with more than forty local wineries all at once. 

On Saturday, April 20, the Yamhill-Carlton AVA will host their annual Spring Tasting, their biggest tasting event of the year. Forty-three wineries from the region, which encompasses a horseshoe-shaped area just north of McMinnville, will pour their celebrated pinot noir, chardonnay, and other bottlings. Wine lovers can connect with winery representatives to learn about different vineyard sites or cellar processes, ask questions, find new favorites, and buy bottles to take home. 

Some of the participating wineries including Soter, Ken Wright Cellars, and Résonance Wines have big, onsite tasting rooms with regular hours, but others are very small operations with visits by appointment only, so trying their wines at an event is one of the most accessible ways to enjoy them. One label to look out for in particular is Joyful Noise Wine, the independent winemaking project of Calli and Deven Morganstern, the General Manager at McMinnville favorite R. Stuart.

The majority of the wineries represent small and hands-on winemaking teams, so attendees will likely get the chance to chat with winemakers directly. 

Besides the wines, the event also represents a chance for attendees to sample local food. Chef Erick Caballero of Caballero’s Catering will be preparing seasonal bites for attendees to enjoy in between sips.

Carlton winery and event venue Abbey Road Farm will host the event this year. A $75 general admission ticket includes open access to one of two tasting periods, one from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm and a second beginning at 3:00 pm until 5:00pm. 

A VIP ticket includes some extra perks: premium parking access, passed hors d’oeuvres from Abbey Road Farm’s Chef and Innkeeper Will Preisch, a complimentary Riedel Pinot Noir glass, and a special library pour. What’s more, VIP guests get access to the wineries for a full hour before the general admission entry begins (starting at 10:00am or 2:00pm). 

Tickets are limited and expected to sell-out. Reserve yours here

Visiting for the event? The limited rooms at Abbey Road Farm’s onsite bed and breakfast, the Silo Suites, are already booked for the weekend, but there are plenty of options a short ride away.  For a similarly rustic farm-stay vibe, check out the Eola Crest Farmhouse, which has a lovely, rural setting but is only a short drive from downtown McMinnville. 

For a more walkable experience, 3rd Street Flats offers both full- and self-service vacation rentals for groups of all sizes, located right in the heart of downtown McMinnville. Named for walkable Third Street, they’re only a 20 minute drive from Abbey Road Farm, and the rest of your visit can be spent on foot. 

The Boutique Retreat is so dreamy at dusk. Photo courtesy of The Boutique Retreat.

For a truly unique visit, check out The Boutique Retreat, a tiny house hotel. Each house has its own decor so you can pick based on the vibe you’re after.

Emily Teel writes about cooking and dining and develops recipes on behalf of national brands. Mom to a toddler, she’s also an avid gardener and loves to forage for mushrooms in berries in the Pacific Northwest.