Take a Hike

New book highlights numerous wine country trails

Left Coast Estate maintains a trail that leads hikers through the property’s massive native white oak savanna. ##Photo by Greg Norton
The two hiking loops on Yamhill Valley Vineyards encircle much of the estate’s grapevines.##Photo by Greg Norton
Author Jack Costa’s new Wine Hiking Oregon book.##Image provided by Jack Costa
Wine Hiking Oregon contains simple, easy-to-read infographic-type details.

By Greg Norton

For many of us, hiking and wine are on our short list of what’s great about Oregon. Just in time for fall hiking season, one recent new book combines the two passions.

Wine Hiking Oregon pairs 30 hikes with adjacent wineries in concise, graphic-driven chapters. Each begins with an overview grid that details the facts about the hike: distance, duration, fees, skill level, dog-friendliness, etc. A map, elevation graph and recommended wine to sample at the destination winery complete the initial overview. In the pages that follow, author Jack Costa supplies more details about the hike, winery and specific wine. It is all packaged in a sturdy 5x9-inch volume that travels well from trail to tasting room.

The 30 adventures span all our state’s wine destinations: Southern Oregon, Willamette Valley and the Coast, Columbia Gorge and Eastern Oregon, and Central Oregon. “If you shot the map with a shotgun, that’s what it would look like,” said Costa, describing the overview map included in the book. “I wanted to try to diversify the options, to showcase the diversity of Oregon’s wine-growing regions,” he said. Contributing to the geographic variety is the inclusion of familiar hiking sites (Multnomah Falls and Silver Falls), alongside lesser-known destinations.

Costa hiked each trail, choosing wineries based on proximity to trailheads along with quality of wine, hospitality and overall experience. “Visiting each winery was totally unique and different. And that’s what made it exciting,” he said. He notes how not all wineries he visited made the cut.

The book is published by Helvetiq, a Swiss publisher that has produced a series of books about beer hiking in regions around the world. Expanding on the initial concept, the company approached Costa, proposing he adapt the format to Oregon wine. The firm’s Beer Hiking Pacific Northwest is the most popular; returning to the region made sense.

Costa, 25, was delighted by the opportunity to write a guide for “outdoorsy individuals who like going wine tasting.” The Roseburg resident is a communications staffer for an Oregon winery, podcasts about wine, and his writing appears on the acclaimed Wine Folly website. That site’s visual and colorful approach to wine education led to Helvetiq’s proposal for him to create “Wine Hiking Oregon.” He completed the project in five months and the new book hit shelves this summer

The book is packed with a wealth of practical information because of Costa’s extensive legwork. He documented hiking statistics and visited tasting rooms, often incognito. “Websites are great resources,” he said, “but when you can hear the winery story from an owner or founder, it really provides a whole new look at the place you’re writing about.”


With my copy of Wine Hiking Oregon; it was time for a road test. I chose two trails on vineyard property: Yamhill Valley Vineyards, south of McMinnville, and Left Coast Cellars, in nearby Rickreall. Their proximity allowed me to hike both— and visit each tasting room— in one day. It seemed, at first, the two experiences might feel similar. But that proved to be a faulty assumption.

Yamhill Valley Vineyards

This hike offers the opportunity to get up close to Yamhill’s 150 acres of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Riesling. Two loops encircle much of the vineyard. One is fairly flat and quite easy. The other requires some climbing but the apex rewards with expansive views of the lower vineyards, hazelnut groves and surrounding farmland. You can elect to hike one or both— it took about an hour to complete the two. The trail begins at their tasting room/winery, where we were asked to sign a liability waiver. They provide a helpful map displaying the two loops and the grape varietals within the blocks we passed. In the tasting room, general manager Jenny Burger and her team, led by Monica Macias, deliver gracious and informed hospitality indoors or out on the shaded deck.

Yamhill Valley Vineyards, 16250 S.W. Oldsville Rd., McMinnville, (503) 843-3100 (note: number listed is incorrect),

Left Coast Estate

Similar in size to Yamhill’s planting, there are 162 acres of vineyards at Left Coast. But the property comprises nearly 500 acres. What is in all that extra space? Native white oak savanna. According to their website, the winery has signed the Willamette Valley Oak Accord, a voluntary commitment to save the massive trees. I conjunction with Willamette Partnership – a Portland-based conservation nonprofit and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Left Coast is restoring the old-growth oak forest at the center of the property. This is where the hiking trail is located. The old trees supplied shade and a towering canopy under which we walked amid native grasses. As we approached a rise, the vineyard came into view. The combination is striking. The hike starts in the tasting room, where we were again asked to sign a liability waiver. From there the signage and markers on the trail guided us on a loop easily completed in less than an hour. Upon our return, we enjoyed a wood-fired pizza along with a tasting flight.

Left Coast Estate, 4225 North Pacific Highway West, Rickreall, (503) 831-4916,

Be sure to verify business hours and other details before heading out.

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