U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8a. Sunset climate zone 5

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Willamette Valley Autumn Drive

This was one of the best trips of my life. And, we didn't need to fly over the ocean and go through time changes. 
Mesmerizing landscapes, stunning sweeping views, excellent local food and wines (especially pinot noir) were waiting for us in our neighboring state, Oregon. 
Sloping fields, orchids, hundreds of vineyards, rolling hills, gorgeous foliage fall palettes  - every mile of the way had something to excite travelers.
The enchanted, beautiful, friendly Willamette Valley showed us its best, and I want to share some of it with you in this post.

The oaks of the Willamette Valley, including Oregon white oak, are magnificent.
There was a time when they were part of vast woodland savannas.
Serious conservation efforts are needed to preserve what's left.
HERE is a short and very interesting article about Oregon white oak.
I learned, for example, that over 100 lichen species grow on the oak's trunk, branches and twigs!
Thanks to them, the trees have a ghostly appearance, especially after all the leaves are gone in winter.

The Willamette Valley's pastoral, bucolic towns are unforgettable.  
I was born in the countryside and always see similarities in different countries' small towns. 
 I always think about their residents, their life styles and hard work.

What was surprising for me during this trip was that we didn't need to drive far to see something beautiful.
Beauty was everywhere, along the roads and behind almost every turn.

Elk Cove Vineyards
'Wine & Spirits' 2013 Winery of the Year

Oh, these panoramic views....

Check out the size of trees!

Geometry of the vineyards hypnotized me, honestly...

Live tapestry

Solar panels

'Willamette Valley Vineyards has invested in four solar energy projects with Advanced Energy Systems. These include two solar electric installations (458 panels in total) providing 139,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. In addition, a 12 collector solar water heating system supplies a major portion of the hot water needed for the winery kitchen and bottling operations. On an equivalent basis, these solar power facilities offset the emissions from the consumption of 11,917 gallons of gasoline, amounting to a reduction of 117 tons of CO2 emissions each year.' ( Willamette Valley Vineyards)

Isn't it a beautiful view?

There are thousands of acres of vineyards and hundreds of wineries in the Willamette Valley.
We heard such numbers as 500, 700... Statistics say - more than 500.
Rich volcanic soil, closeness to the ocean and mountains create unique conditions for
growing grapes. 
Soil here is considered to be among some of the most fertile soils on the Earth.
One fact shocked me: in some areas of the Willamette Valley, the soil is about 0.5 mile deep!
How deep is it in my garden? How many inches before a shovel hits a stone-like dense layer? LOL! 

Domain Drouhin Winery.  'French Soul - Oregon Soil'.
Here, you can buy their wine made from local grapes and wine from their winery in Burgundy.

Domaine Serene Winery

Stoller Family Estate 

Light is changing in the evening, and grape leaves become pure gold.

Thank you, Oregon for the wonderful experience!

***Copyright 2017 TatyanaS


  1. Wow, each of your photographs is gorgeous. Love those autumnal colors and the wineries; decades ago my husband and I founded a winery, which we sold later.

    1. Hi Terra! Thank you! I'm wondering if you ever go to look at that winery...

  2. My favorite shot was the one with the lone oak tree with a tire swing. But I loved them all. We are blessed to live in such a beautiful part of the country.

    1. Thank you, Grace! And we are lucky to live so close to it!

  3. You certainly caught the Valley in it's fall finery. I noticed the solar panels in one of your shots. It is good that they can use it there. I have never seen so many vineyards. We have two small ones near where I live here in SW Indiana. Nothing on this scale.

    1. Lisa, thank you! I also was impressed with the number of vineyards. There are other areas in Oregon and Washington with multiple vineyards and wineries.

  4. Oh, so pretty! It looks like you had better fall color than we did this year. We were so warm (hot, even) through mid-October. And then, the bottom dropped out with cold weather and freezes and deep freezes at night. I love all of these images. I feel like you took us on a pleasant road-trip to a beautiful autumn wonderland!

    1. Thank you, Beth! I am curious if we'll see the same vibrant beauty next year.

  5. WOW, thank you for all the beautiful pictures. I think we may have to put that on our to visit State.

    1. Thank you, Betty! Oregon is a wonderful destination!

  6. The Willamette Valley is my homeland. Those majestic oak trees are something I love most about my valley. However, when I lived there, until age 18, when I came to Seattle for college and stayed in Puget Sound Country, we did not have vineyards. They are a relatively new additions mostly on the west hills of the valley. I have never seen then on their autumn gold. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing. We will be in the valley this coming weekend, but the leaves will be gone by then.

    1. Linda, thank you! Your homeland is absolutely gorgeous! I hope we can go there again in close future.

  7. Your Oregon photos are stunning, Tatyanna. I'm not surprised you said it was your best trip ever. P. x

  8. Thank you for these gorgeous images of the Willamette Valley and wine country! I have been through that area in the summer, but not in fall. Lucky you; I had to fly about 3000 miles to see it. And it was worth it! You are also fortunate regarding your soil. Mine is about 6 inches to a foot deep. I rarely put my shovel into the ground without hitting either hard clay or rock, or both!

    1. Deb, I made a mistake; of course 20" would be a great soil depth! Our soil is sand and rocks! As you, I hit rock every time I dig. Pickaxe is my helper!

  9. Absolutely gorgeous! Rolling hills, barns, beautiful architecture, vivid fall trees, and all of those golden vines - the scenery is just amazing.

  10. You’re right, those are some truly stunning views! Wow.

    1. Probably, fall is the most amazing time of the year in the Valley!

  11. Absolutely mesmerizing photos. Simply mind blowing. Actually if you live in the West Coast, you don't need to leave the country to enjoy nature. Oregon, WA, CA, Alaska, Nevada, AZ, Utah, each and every state is with stunning natural beauty. Are you kidding that the soil is deep 0.5 mile? WOW!! Why grape, I think they can grow everything in that soil then.

    1. I couldn't believe myself! The data about the depth of the soil in SOME areas is taken from Wikipedia, and Wikipedia provides this source of the data: Allen, John Eliot; Burns, Marjorie; Sargent, Sam C. (1986). Cataclysms on the Columbia : a layman's guide to the features produced by the catastrophic Bretz floods in the Pacific Northwest. Portland, OR: Timber Press. ISBN 0-88192-067-3.

  12. Magnificent countryside, and as you say, no need to fly miles away and endure time changes to have a great trip. My very favourite photo is the one looking through the side window of the car.

  13. Every picture is a work of art. So much beauty so near. Your post makes me want to visit the area myself.


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