While grapes are in Newberg’s spotlight with 100 of some of the world’s best wineries all within a ten-mile radius, Newberg’s all-new Distillery Trail offers an alternative tasting experience with five distilleries connected along a 30-mile route through Newberg’s beautiful countryside. In addition to this spirits tour, Newberg offers sumptuous dining choices, boutiques, and comfy lodgings that make it the perfect weekend getaway (or weekday, for that matter). There are an abundance of overnight stay options from luxury hotel The Allison Inn and Spa to the more budget-friendly Holiday Inn Express Newberg Wine Country, to vacation rentals you can find on Airbnb and VRBO.com.
The first spirits tasting stop on the Newberg Distillery Trail is Killdeer Distilling. High up on Ribbon Ridge Road, surrounded by famous wineries like Eminent Domaine, Patricia Green Cellars, Beaux Frères, and Trisaetum Winery, Killdeer proprietors Colin Fisher and Kate Coulter are serving up their Rye, Whiskey, and soon-to-be-released Absinthe and Gin. The Distillery is brand new but already producing great liquors — perfect for your upcoming holiday parties. You’ll appreciate their relaxed vibe, stellar views, and delicious adult beverages. Between responsible tastings, be sure to capture the abundance of Instagram-ready spectacular views on Ribbon Ridge. Sunrise, sunset, or mid-day, you’ll find plenty of Newberg Wine Country vistas begging to be shared on social media. (Be sure to tag them #tastenewberg!)
Next, you’ll make your way over to Ewing Young Distillery. Named for the larger-than-life man who pioneered the valley, there are more than a couple of ghosts there, along with the grave of Ewing Young himself, waiting for your visit. When you pull into their long driveway, be sure to admire the horses — a Kentucky Derby winner is in the pasture. Giacomo won the 2005 race, then finished third in the Preakness Stakes and faded to seventh in the Belmont. He’s now living the good life in Newberg. Allow plenty of time here. Between your spirits tasting and “Newberg Mules,” try your hand at hatchet throwing, cornhole, darts, and Jenga. A full array of spirits are featured, including Bourbon Whiskey, Rye Mash, Malt Whiskey, Idaho Russet Vodka, and Dry Gin. Keep an eye out for upcoming events. You’ll definitely want to plan a return visit.
Before you head out of Newberg for additional spirits tasting room visits, a stop in downtown Newberg you won’t regret is to Good Company Cheese Bar and Bistro for a tasty cheese and charcuterie snack. Kristen and her team will be happy to provision you with lunch to go, or a yummy bite on-site.
Just out of town on the way to Dundee, you next easy-access spirits stop will be at The Great Oregon Wine Co. and Distillery. You’re here to taste the handcrafted spirits from Ransom. The distillation process is all hand-done, with no robots or automation. Small batches are made in a direct-fired French alembic pot still. It’s a throwback to the way spirits used to be made, using mostly organic local grains. While you’re here for the Whiskey, you may be tempted by the wide choice of wines that are served here.
For the intrepid explorers, continue on the Newberg Distillery Trail to Branch Point Distilling in Dayton. Sitting at the Dundee Hills’ foot, Branch Point is ready to greet you with their award-winning whiskies, traditionally made from local grains. Their beautiful vineyard view just enhances your tasting experience. To round out the tour, a visit to the ‘great little town’ of Carlton will bring you to a tasting room for Portland’s Bull Run Distillery. Their signature liquor, Carlton Rye Whiskey, awaits you, as well as a selection of other distilled beverages. Carlton is definitely worth some exploration, so be sure to give yourself enough time before you head back to Newberg.
Remember to drink responsibly and tasting reservations are a must. If you think the Newberg Distillery Trail will put you under its spell, be sure to have a designated driver. Better yet, arrange for a tour! Great tour companies such as Pinot Car, and Black Tie Tours, offer driver and guide service while practicing top-notch safety protocols. Whichever you choose, be sure not to end up as a ghost on the Spirits Trail!