Ximena Orrego of Atticus Wines
Ximena Orrego of Atticus Wines

Many of these wineries require advanced reservations (always a good idea in Willamette Valley in general), so make sure you reach out ahead of time. Small family wineries often don’t have designated tasting hours because you’ll be tasting with the owner/winemaker/do-everythinger, and there is no better person to tell you about their wines and no experience more special to a wine tourist!

J.L. Kiff Vineyard is run by Joel and Laurie Kiff, who dreamed for years of owning land in the Willamette Valley before finding this perfect place in Yamhill-Carlton in 2003. With only 9 acres of grapevines, Joel and Laurie do everything in the vineyard and the winery. Their small-production Chardonnay and Pinot Noir will be poured by Joel himself, in a renovated barn with pastoral views.

Mark Huff and Jill Zarnowitz fell in love with wine on their honeymoon in 1985, and purchased a sheep farm in 1989 that is now home to the Stag Hollow Wines vineyard and 12 acres of oak woodland that they’ve chosen to preserve. As scientists, they continue to experiment with grape varieties that will do well at the site and with the realities of climate change. This means when you visit you’ll taste Tempranillo, Dolcetto, and a lovely sparkling Dolcetto Rosato, grapes that are quite rare to see in the Willamette Valley.

Guy and Ximena fell in love with the Willamette Valley in 2004, and moved quickly, planting the first grapes for Atticus Wines in 2005. Concentrating on producing the finest Pinot Noirs they can from their incredible site, they partnered with the winemaking team at Raptor Ridge while Ximena learned the ins and outs of winemaking. Now she leads the winemaking activities, and she will be your host for a private, appointment-only tasting at the top of their vineyard.

Belle Pente means “beautiful slope” and the name came naturally to Jill and Brian O’Donnell when they wanted to name the beautiful hillside vineyard they planted in 1994, one of the earlier plantings in Yamhill-Carlton. The vineyard is dry farmed and has been organic since 2000, and the O’Donnells have employed their own vineyard team since the beginning, very rare for a winery this size. When you come taste with Jill or Brian, you’ll be treated to a private and informal tour and tasting, and leave thoroughly delighted with the people and the property.