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East Side Wines

Viticulture outside the Valley

Valleys aren’t the only places for making wine. While most of Oregon’s 450-some wineries are located in cooler, more temperate climes, central and Eastern Oregon are in on enology culture, too. For a treat on your next road trip east, drop by one of these wineries to get a taste of Oregon’s east side.

 

Volcano Vineyards 

930 N.W. Brooks St., Bend, OR 97701 • 541-390-8771 • volcanovineyards.com

Volcano Vineyards co-owner Scott Ratcliff says that his winery is the smallest in the U.S. when measured by bonded space — it’s just 226 square feet. “And I’ve got a big ass so I’m always moving stuff around,” he jokes.

The winery specializes in merlot and syrah because Ratcliff loves the full-bodied varieties, and Volcano Vineyards is also working on a line of sangrias. Its wines are available in Eugene, too, at Growler Guys and the Tap & Growler.

 

Watermill Winery 

235 E. Broadway, Milton-Freewater, OR 97862 • 541-938-5575 • watermillwinery.com

Watermill Winery, located in the southern tip of the Walla Walla Valley, is a diverse operation. It started not with wine and grapes but with apples, and it also produces a hard apple cider. The winery produces a variety of red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah and tempranillo, but it doesn’t ignore the whites — it also makes viognier and a dry gewürztraminer.

Co-owner Nancy Brown says it was the apple orchards that got the business involved with sustainability, and that spread to the winery. “It has to do with water conservation,” she says. “We’re also considered salmon-safe. We don’t use as much water so we’re able to give back to the Walla Walla River so that the salmon can go back up and spawn.”

 

Maragas Winery 

15523 S.E. Hwy. 97, Culver, OR 97734 • 541-546-5464 • maragaswinery.com

Jefferson County’s founding vineyard and winery, Maragas Winery, is a boutique operation that sells a variety of reds and whites made in small batches aged in barrels for long stretches. The winery hosts events like farm-to-table dinners, tastings and private parties. The Maragas family’s winemaking roots started in Crete, but they’ve been making wine in the U.S. since 1941.

 

Sno Road Winery

210 W. Main St., Echo, OR 97826 • 541-376-0421 • piercyfamilyvineyards.com

Located in tiny Echo, Ore., in Umatilla County, Sno Road Winery always has something happening, whether it’s music, a jewelry-making class in the tasting room or the fantastic nature updates that co-owner Lloyd Piercy includes on the Facebook page. Even better, there’s a mountain bike trail that’s part of the Echo Hills Vineyard Trail System, and it’s host of the annual Red to Red Mountain Bike Race Extravaganza.

 

David Hamilton Winery

150 N. Mountain Blvd., Mt. Vernon, OR 97865 • 541-932-4567 • davidhamiltonwinery.com

The David Hamilton Winery specializes in homemade fruit wines with no added sulfites. Varieties include huckleberry, blackberry, blueberry, apple, chokecherry, elderberry and more.