by Allen Cox
Newberg, Oregon, sits in the heart of northern Willamette Valley wine country, less than 25 miles from Portland. The city is a hub where four separate and distinct American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) converge: Chehalem Mountains, Ribbon Ridge, Yamhill-Carlton and Dundee Hills. Each AVA is known for growing and producing stand-out pinot noir, as well as other varietals, and is home to several handsome tasting rooms happy to welcome visitors.
While the plethora of wineries is one of Newberg’s main draws, it has drawn significant attention on other fronts as well, from award-winning luxury lodging to some of the finest dining in the Northwest, from trailblazers in the brewing scene to an active arts community. So, whether you’re taking the short drive from Portland for a change of pace or are traveling from farther afield to discover a new destination, Newberg is a perfect place for a long weekend getaway.
Newberg was an early settlement founded by Quakers. Visitors who seek out the city’s past will discover a rich legacy that includes the boyhood home of President Herbert Hoover. The Hoover-Minthorn House was built in 1881, by Jesse Edwards, the Quaker founder of Newberg. It is the oldest standing home in the original Newberg township, and was a place of learning and development for the young Hoover. In 1885, Dr. Henry John Minthorn, uncle and foster-father of Herbert Hoover, and his family moved into the house. Dr. Minthorn became the ﬁrst superintendent of Friends Paciﬁc Academy (forerunner of today’s George Fox University) and worked as a physician in rural Newberg. Today, The Hoover-Minthorn House is a museum; guided tours of the house and grounds provide a window into late 19th-century daily life and the story of the humble beginnings of a boy that would later become President of the United States.
Downtown Newberg is a walkable neighborhood full of eateries, galleries, independent shops and wine bars. Anyone who enjoys a small-city experience should spend a few hours browsing downtown, whose main drag is First Street. A walkabout downtown will reveal a collection of fine art galleries, including Art Elements, showcasing Oregon artists. A hub of the arts community in Newberg is the Chehalem Cultural Center, a former school transformed into a gallery space, classrooms, a performing arts center and more. Art lovers should stop by to see the love the community has put into its arts scene and catch the exhibition in the gallery.
This section of the Willamette Valley with its four AVAs is perfect for a leisurely drive through wine country with stops along the way at tasting rooms and discoveries in small towns like Carlton and Yamhill. There are so many outstanding wineries in this region with so many varying experiences that it’s difficult to narrow down which ones to visit, but the online resources at the Taste Newberg website make the task easier. The region offers a gamut of tasting experiences from casual drop-in tasting rooms to reservations-only cellar tours and tasting journeys complete with food pairings.
Other innovative producers, like Christian DeBenedetti, are also creating a distinctive niche in Newberg. DeBenedetti owns historic Springbrook Hazelnut Farm where he created a farmhouse brewery, Wolves & People, dedicated to brewing styles that utilize extensive wild, native and indigenous yeasts, and barrel-aging in wine and spirits barrels. The brewery uses only pure, untreated Parrett Mountain water, house yeast cultures, as well as many local grains and hops. A tasting experience at Wolves & People is a true taste of place.
A long weekend in Newberg is perfect for couples, groups of friends and even solo travelers. With so much to do in wine country, whether it’s playing a round of golf, cycling on country roads or indulging in a luxury spa treatment, visitors can easily customize their own itinerary or have no itinerary at all. To plan a Newberg getaway, visit tastenewberg.com.
From elegant fine dining to food carts, dining in Newberg has something for everyone with a common thread: the finest locally sourced ingredients.
The Painted Lady delivers one of the finest dining experiences in the Northwest in a restored Victorian home. Dining on the many artfully created courses is an unforgettable food journey crafted from the ﬁne ingredients and wines sourced from the Willamette Valley and beyond.
JORY at Allison Inn & Spa features Oregon wine-country cuisine coupled with an extensive 500-label wine list. JORY maintains its Forbes Travel Guide Four Star ranking with the locavore menu, which reﬂects The Allison’s creative garden-to-table philosophy with many ingredients grown in their own gardens, accentuating native ﬂavors of the Willamette Valley and its bountiful local agriculture.
SubTerra is a subterranean restaurant known for highlighting the best ingredients sourced from local purveyors.
Honey Pie is an artisanal pizzeria that sources local ingredients and highlights local producers in food and beverage whenever possible. Their monthly “Pie with Purpose” is a seasonal special that gives back to a local non-proﬁt each month.
Dos Mundos 99W is a popular Mexican family-owned taco truck. This local favorite often sells out on the weekends. Tip: The Baja fish tacos are the best!
Cream Northwest scoops up handcrafted ice cream goodness in the back of Chapters Books & Coﬀee.
Coﬀee Cottage is Newberg’s original coﬀee house. Its coﬀees are roasted on-site, and its cafe serves breakfast and lunch items.
Visitors find an array of lodging options in and around Newberg, including a top-rated boutique spa resort, wine-country inns and fully appointed apartments.
The Allison Inn & Spa, a LEED Gold-certified boutique hotel, is situated on 35 hillside acres, surrounded by a sculpture garden and vineyards. The Allison Spa uses organic and local products and is uniquely known for its “pinotherapy” treatment, a pinot-inspired botanical and biological therapy produced by wine and grape seed extracts derived from the resort’s vineyard.
The Setting Inn is a 10-acre, 8-room tranquil wine-country B&B. Amenities include a ﬁtness center, a “Barn” entertainment lounge, extensive gardens, views of the Chehalem Mountains, bocce and other yard games and more.
Newberg Wine Country Suites are four stylish, spacious, well-appointed apartments downtown that include modern kitchens, king beds and sofa sleepers.
Dozens of tasting rooms in and around Newberg make this an oenophile’s paradise. Here are a few examples, each offering a different experience.
Rain Dance Vineyards is a ﬁfth-generation Newberg producer crafting premium wines from their sustainably farmed estate vineyards in the Chehalem Mountains. Their recently opened tasting room is in a restored 1916 home surrounded by meticulously tended gardens and is within walking distance of The Allison Inn & Spa (owned by the same family). Special experiences include an exclusive library wine tasting, an interactive vineyard tour and tasting, and vineyard tours in a vintage vehicle from the family’s personal classic car collection.
Arborbrook by Cooper Mountain tasting room oﬀers a collection of wines crafted from high quality organic and biodynamic pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot gris and more. The tasting room sits in a renovated 1910 barn.
Rex Hill offers a tasting experience in a stylish, modern tasting room with views of the estate vineyards. Guests can choose a wine flight, a pairing with food (think chardonnay with caviar), cellar tours, a wine lunch and more.
Wolves & People is a true farmhouse brewery dedicated to wild- and farmhouse-brewing styles, located on a hazelnut farm. Its outdoor beer garden looking out onto the hazelnut orchard and vineyard beyond is a favorite of locals and visitors alike.