Watering Vines at Elk Cove in 1974
Watering Vines at Elk Cove in 1974

Although our region was approved as an AVA in 2004 (effective 2005), the winemaking in our region started long before. You can visit and taste from producers who made Yamhill-Carlton what it is.

Elk Cove Vineyards was founded in 1974, the earliest plantings in Yamhill-Carlton. In 1979, their Riesling won gold at the Oregon State Fair, some of the first proof of the greatness of our region. The Campbell family still helms Elk Cove, with second-generation Adam as the winemaker and Anna as the creative director of the business. Known for Pinot Gris, taste through estate wines including Chardonnay, Sparkling, Rosé of Pinot Noir, and vineyard-designate Pinot Noirs.

Ken Wright was convinced the finest Pinot Noir was made in Oregon by a visit in 1976. A decade later, he moved his family north and started Panther Creek Cellars. He founded his eponymous Ken Wright Cellars in 1994, with nearly three decades of winemaking experience. Ken is dedicated to vineyard designate wines, and he wrote the proposition for the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. In 2003, Ken bought Carlton’s historic train station and renovated it into today’s tasting room, where you can sit inside or out and enjoy pristine expressions of site, focussing on Yamhill-Carlton vineyards.

Carlton Hill Vineyard was planted in 1999, and has been certified LIVE and sustainably farmed since 2004. Winemaker David Polite may still be the person you taste with if you visit the historic barn on their beautiful estate vineyard. His winemaking philosophy is geared toward making vintage expressions of Pinot from the estate, wines meant to be cellared and enjoyed in a few years.

Only 20% of the fruit grown at Shea Vineyards is used for Shea Wine Cellars. Instead, this historic vineyard sells fruit to some of the finest winemakers in Oregon and Washington, including Ken Wright and Elk Cove, and the wine made from this vineyard has won many awards over the years. First planted in the late 80s, it was one of the earliest Yamhill-Carlton vineyards. Tastings are by appointment only, but this private experience offers you a chance to taste a little bit of history, wines made from one of the most renown vineyards in Oregon.