Feeling Loopy?

Sample craft beverages on the Hood River Fruit Loop

View of Mount Hood through vineyards at Mt. Hood Winery, Hood River, Oregon.##Photo by ANDRéA JOHNSON
Map of the entire Hood River Fruit Loop with all the stops marked.
Find flowers and mountain views at Grateful Vineyard. ##PHOTO BY PICKLES PHOTOGRAPHY
Guests relaxing at one of the picnic tables while enjoying the wines and views at Grateful Vineyard.##Photo by Pickles Photography
Cathedral Ridge Winery’s welcoming entrance and manicured grounds.##Photo provided BY CATHEDRAL RIDGE WINERY
A group enjoying wine on the patio at Cathedral Ridge Winery. ##Photo provided BY CATHEDRAL RIDGE WINERY

By Annelise Kelly

In the remarkable landscape between Mount Hood and the mighty Columbia River, a verdant Valley comprises 14,500 acres of fruit trees along with farmstands, u-picks, wineries, cideries and more. Grassy meadows, modest farms, flowers and vineyards punctuate orchards of pear, apple, peach and cherry trees, accessible from a network of country roads linked by Highways 35 and 281.

Choose the 35-mile Hood River Fruit Loop for an escape into the finest of rural Oregon. Twenty-seven participating agricultural and culinary destinations encourage visitors to pick fruit, shop farm stands, plus sample wine, beer and cider. Many offer soaring views of Mount Hood’s snowcapped peak and wooded foothills, along with vistas beyond the Columbia River to Mount Adams.

An hour east of Portland, the Hood River Valley stuns with towering mountain and rural views through each season. Spring brings orchard blossoms, summer offers bountiful produce and colorful displays at every turn during the fall harvest. With over 150 years as a productive agricultural zone, the area is dotted with Century Farms – agricultural properties operated by the same family for over 100 years.

Visitors can take a day or a weekend wandering Fruit Loop destinations, or combine a few stops with a hike in the Gorge or on Mount Hood. Stroll the compact, lively downtown of Hood River and watch windsurfers and kite surfers zip across the river. Hotels, campgrounds and bed and breakfasts welcome overnight visitors, and Sol Rides in Hood River books e-bike tours and rentals.

Columbia Gorge AVA

The north-facing Hood River Valley epitomizes the cooler, marine-influenced west end of the Columbia Gorge AVA— in contrast to the arid high-desert climate of the wine growing region’s east end. The characteristic wind that serve as cooling and drying influences, enable the appellation to grow a diverse range of grape varieties.

Rich volcanic soil flanks the slopes of Mount Hood, a dormant volcano with no significant eruption in about 200 years. The volcanic influence produces savory, mineral qualities and concentrated flavors. Most vineyards, between 800-1200 feet in elevation, thrive in sunny days and cool nights while nourishing grapes that deliver a pleasant balance of ripeness and acidity. Popular varieties in the Valley include Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel.

When You Go

Of the 27 stops on the Fruit Loop, a baker’s dozen focus on craft-quality adult beverages. lip See next page for a map, pick one up at your first stop or rely on to navigate locations. Bring a cooler for your bounty; follow individual location policies for pets– many working farms have animals of their own. Check with each business to confirm hours and whether reservations are required. Your first stop is just south of Interstate 84 and the Columbia River on Highway 35, east of Hood River.

The Gorge White House Fruit Stand & Winery

Stop 1 is Pearl’s Place Fruit Stand, showcasing fresh and dried fruit, local honey, Oregon hazelnuts, gifts and more.

About a mile farther, you’ll find the fourth-generation, family-owned and operated Gorge White House Fruit Stand & Winery, a stunning white Dutch Colonial Revival home built in 1910. Gather some fruit and flowers from the u-pick orchards and fields, and then savor artisanal, farm-fresh sandwiches, burgers and flatbreads from the food cart, award-winning hard cider and wine by the taste, flight or glass, and ice cream for the kids. Enjoy mountain views from picnic tables scattered on the lawn.

Mt. Hood Winery

Gaze at majestic views of Mount Hood and Mount Adams from the northwest-chic, lodge-style tasting room with fireplace and antique 30-foot bar. Linger on the spacious patio with a shade arbor. Indulge in award-winning wines, including estate-grown Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Riesling.

This Century Farm was bought in 1909 as a 20-acre property along with a grocery store that operated until the 1950s. Today’s family-run enterprise spans 160 acres, with about 75 percent of the land planted in pears and 25 acres of wine grapes.

Just off Highway 35, enjoy the Fruit Company, a fourth-generation business dedicated to creating fruit baskets, gourmet gift baskets, monthly subscription boxes, dried fruit trays and more. Back on 35 southbound is Smiley’s Red Barn, a fruit stand that also sells house-label jams and preserves, next door to Fox-Tail Cider & Distillery.

Fox-Tail Cider & Distillery

Fox-Tail Cider & Distillery stocks a unique selection of beverages emphasizing local apples and pears; it’s the only cidery and distillery under one roof in the Hood River Valley. Both vodka and wine are made from local apples, and cider is produced with 100 percent northwest apples and pears, including the company’s own fruit. The family-friendly tasting room welcomes kids and pets and includes both indoor and outdoor seating. Enjoy a flight of apple wine or cider, and get an apple cider slushy for the kids. Take home a growler of cider. Snacks, appetizers and sandwiches make this a great family lunch spot.

Head east from Fox-Tail to Hope Ranch Lavender (stop 8), where you can stroll through the fields and cut your own lavender as well as buy handmade lavender products. Continue to Packer Orchards & Farm Place (stop 7) for u-pick gardens; sunflower fields; cider, beer and wine on draft; and a pumpkin patch and corn maze during the harvest season. Backtrack or drive a scenic loop to find Wy’East Vineyards.

Wy’East Vineyards

Wy’East is the Native American name for Mount Hood. The south-facing vineyard nestles in the heart of the Hood River Valley. The tasting room is converted from an old fruit stand, and the winery once was an old barn and stable. Take your time at the family- and dog-friendly tasting room, where you can enjoy a drink and food on the scenic patios, throw some bocce balls, and wander through vineyards and gardens. Adorable alpacas and grazing horses complete the scene. Wy’East runs its own seasonal food truck serving delectable farm-to-table sandwiches and Instagrammable charcuterie boards.

Continue to Pear Bloom Farm, a family farm dedicated to regenerative agriculture. The farm market includes seasonal produce, a flower bar and fine goods crafted by local artisans. Next, head to Hood River Lavender Farms for lavender products and gifts, vibrant gardens and a seasonal u-pick.

Stave & Stone Winery at the Vineyard

Stave & Stone Winery produces award-winning wines on a Century Farm. Sample varieties from Pinot Noir to Chardonnay to Riesling and more by the fireplace in the tasting room, or outdoors with stunning views of Mount Adams. Families are welcome in the seasonal wine garden, with a covered patio and grassy terraced lawn surrounded by the estate vineyard. Book in advance for vineyard tours, and relax to live music on summer Sunday afternoons. Enjoy beer and cider on tap along with non-alcoholic beverage options.

Continue to the Packer Orchards & Bakery (stop 13), where the bakery and jam kitsch supplements fresh fruit. Watch bakers work their magic while sipping a smoothie or milkshake.

Draper Girls Country Farm & U-Pick Orchards / Draper Girls Cider Company

Draper Girls Cider Company, Country Farm and U-Pick Orchards makes for a great stop for families. Take a ride on the big swing, wander the pretty flower gardens, pick some fruit, feed the goats, and then sample the unique hand-crafted award-winning ciders. Farm-grown heritage cider apples are pressed, blended and fermented in small batches for clean, crisp cider. The farm also grows cherries, peaches, berries and pears, all of which make guest appearances in seasonal hard cider variations like huckleberry and quince. The third-generation farm is family-operated.

Leave Highway 35 for 281 and proceed to Kiyokawa Family Orchards, the southernmost destination on the Fruit Loop, for u-pick fruit and a kids’ play area.

Mt. View Brewing and Grateful Vineyard

Drive north on Highway 281 to Mountain View Brewing and Grateful Vineyard, where a farm-to-table tasting room invites visitors to sample craft beer and wine made on the farm, as well as artisanal pizzas, cheese boards and food pairings. Soft serve ice cream is available with seasonal fresh fruit treats. Check the website for wine dinners, brunches and more. Get cozy by the indoor and outdoor fireplaces and explore the surrounding fields of u-pick flowers, u-pick fruit and grapevines under the rugged façade of Mount Hood. Picnics are welcome, and you can bring your own blankets and chairs. Live music fills the air on Wednesdays and Sundays in summer. Grateful Vineyard partners with Elk Cove Vineyard, which is run by relatives.

Next up: Montavon’s Berries for u-pick and picked blueberries, cherries and raspberries. To gather still more blueberries, hit Browning Blueberries. Ready for retail therapy? Continue to The Old Trunk, treats &tiques, with antiques and funky vintage items along with an organic fruit stand and a soda fountain. A flower u-pick is by subscription-only.

Stop at the Apple Valley Country Store & Bakery for fresh and frozen fruit pies, small-batch jams, syrups, and more. And yes, more ice cream.

Hood Crest Winery & Distillers

Mountain views, live music and wood-fired pizza fill the menu at Hood Crest Winery & Distillers, along with boutique award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Barbera, specialty blends and more. The tasting room and covered patio allow seating indoors or outside. You’ll also find vodka and brandy crafted from cherries, apples and grapes. Check out the flights of wine and house-distilled spirits, and the cocktail menu incorporating them. Make an appointment for vineyard tours and barrel tastings.

Swing by Hood River U-Pick Organic (stop 24) to pick cherries and apples. Picnics are welcome so sit and watch the goats frolic and pigs happily roll around.

Marchesi Vineyards & Winery

Marchesi Vineyards & Winery specializes in Italian grape varietals such as Barbera, Dolcetto, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir. The Italian-born owner realized the Hood Valley landscape reminded him of his home in Piemonte, moving after a career in California as a wine buyer and importer. An expansive outdoor patio, mere steps from the vines, allows a variety of seating under cover, with blankets and heaters available in winter and water misters in summer. Nosh on an ample antipasto platter and await a greeting from one of the resident cats or dogs. Dogs on leash and kids are welcome.

Cathedral Ridge Winery

Visit this family-owned boutique winery with over two dozen award-winning wines made on site. Cathedral Ridge specializes in big, bold, sensuous reds, serving blends and single varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Petit Verdot and Malbec, along with white wines such as Riesling and Chardonnay from local vineyards. Stunning alpine views of Hood and Adams provide a backdrop to flowering gardens and rows of vines. In addition to standard tastings, visitors can arrange reserve, barrel and premier private tastings.

Phelps Creek Vineyards

This creekside tasting room features indoor air-conditioned space and outdoor tables for wine sampling. Snuggle up for a tasting around a private outdoor firepit, where outside food and leashed dogs are welcome. Phelps Creek Vineyards also hosts exclusive vineyard tastings, up the hill at the wine-making facility about 10 minutes by car. Guests can reserve a picnic spot under a shady oak or in the lavender patch while savoring a house-crafted picnic basket and a bottle of red or white. The winery focuses on cool weather varietals such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling grown on estate vines.



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