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Walnut Creek Magazine

Road Tripping North? Plan a Pit Stop at These Two Worthy Wineries

Jul 20, 2020 02:44PM ● By Fran Miller

Archery Summit Winery, Willamette Valley, Oregon


With summer travel headed in new directions due to varied restrictions worldwide, vacationers are taking to the open road. Road tripping, once the preferred and desired mode of summer exploration, is ‘in’ again. If your road trip journey includes a jaunt north, plan a couple of detour dalliances to Dayton, Oregon and Walla Walla, Washington where these two hospitable wineries welcome visitors with open arms and a tasty reward.

Located in Oregon’s famed Willamette Valley, Archery Summit was founded by Gary Andrus in 1993. Infatuated by Pinot Noir and the capacity the Willamette Valley seemed to have for the varietal, Andrus was particularly drawn to The Dundee Hills for its similarities to Burgundy, France, location of some of the most acclaimed Pinot Noir vineyards on earth. 


The beautiful Willamette Valley stretches roughly 100 miles from Oregon’s largest city, Portland, south to Eugene. This fertile and photogenic expanse of land, named after the mighty river that runs along its spine, is one of the most prized winegrowing regions on earth, and a road trip pit stop at Archery Summit can illustrate why. Winemaker Ian Burch is an expert crafter of exceptional and distinctive Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. “At this point in my career, having worked in many wine growing regions around the world and in Oregon for 11 vintages, I went for a style of winemaking that brings out the nuances of the vineyard site while also incorporating a little bit of playfulness with the enticing aromatics of whole cluster spice in our ferments,” says Burch.  

Try the European inspired Willamette Valley Wine Tasting, an intimate seated tasting at Archery Summit’s hilltop Willamette Valley winery in the Dundee Hills just outside the city of Dundee. It is easy to reach and is surrounded by natural beauty and picturesque vineyards. 

The casual Signature Tasting takes place on their welcoming patio overlooking estate vines, with commanding views of the Dundee Hills and includes a classic tasting of Archery Summit Wines including four Pinot Noirs from the current vintage. Each tasting is by appointment, Friday through Monday from 10:00 am to 5 pm. 

Continuing your adventure? Head northeast to the charming town of Walla Walla, Washington for its picturesque landscapes, parks, quaint main street featuring old-fashioned storefronts, gourmet restaurants, art galleries, and the Seven Hills Winery tasting room, located within a historic 1904 woodworking mill in downtown Walla Walla. 

Walla Walla, Washington

Seven Hills was founded in 1988 by Casey and Vicky McClellan; the winery’s first harvest yielded the inaugural release of their iconic Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. “We wanted to do something original,” says Casey, a fourth-generation farmer in Eastern Washington. “And we believed in Walla Walla Valley and its potential for producing wines that could shine on a worldwide stage.” 


Now approaching thirty vintages as winemaker of Seven Hills Winery, Casey has decades of experience in the vineyard sites. His grower relationships in the Walla Walla Valley and Red Mountain are among the oldest in Washington State. With unfaltering focus and commitment, Casey has quietly built a family of wines that powerfully express the abundant opportunity and rich creativity of growing and winemaking in the Pacific Northwest. 

Seven Hills’ private seated tastings includes a selection of current release and limited production wines. By appointment, Friday – Sunday 10 am to 5pm. 

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