Local-Motion: Gettin’ around Wine Country
For those unfamiliar with the area, overwhelmed by the number of wineries available or simply wanting to soak in the experience of Yamhill Valley wine without needing to drive, there are a variety of guided tour options in the area offering both transportation and information about the region, including the best for your individual taste. Motorized wine tours are available in vehicles of all types, from luxury cars to stretch limousines and larger vans when you want to bring along all your friends and family along for the day. Worried about the environmental impact of all that fossil fuel? Tesla Custom Winery Tours will gladly usher parties up to six in the gull-wing-doored comfort of the Tesla Model X — along with a complimentary lunch. Interested in seeing wine country on four legs instead of four wheels? Carlton’s Equestrian Wine Tours offers mounted outings through the Dundee Hills with a stable of Tennessee Walking Horses. They also feature a pair of four-seat carriages reminiscent of those circling New York’s Central Park, as well as a 12-seat carriage for larger groups. Looking for self-propelled wine country transportation? Numerous companies in the area offer guided cycling tours of local wineries. Brace yourself. This won’t be like rides you may have taken through Napa or Italy, where the wineries are clustered along valley floors. When local vintners say their tasting rooms are “in the Dundee Hills,” they mean it, but the wine makes all that climbing worth it. The highest level of wine touring, measured by altitude, is via helicopter. Firms based in McMinnville, Newberg, Salem or Hillsboro will take you over and into the area’s vineyards, visiting in just a few hours a group of wineries it would take a whole day or longer to view by ground transportation. Helicopter tours are also the priciest way to move from winery to winery, but the views of the Valley from hundreds of feet up will be as memorable as the most delicious of vintages.