With some many wonderful options in the Columbia Gorge AVA, it’s hard to choose a favorite! Instead, we’re highlighting five hidden gem wineries with unique stories and delicious offerings made from fruit harvested right here in the Columbia River Gorge.
Hiyu Wine Farm
3890 Acree Dr, Hood River, OR | best for: creative menu, organic offerings
Located on a working farm in the Hood River Valley, Hiyu’s tasting room is the perfect balance of rustic and posh, featuring an open kitchen that turns ingredients directly from their farm into creative and satisfying dishes. Want to pair your meal with wine? They have you covered, with award-winning wines that feel extra special because only 6,000 cases are produced per year.
Insider Information: Winemaker and co-founder Nate Ready, started his career as a sommelier at legendary restaurants like The French Laundry (yes – that French Laundry) before making the move to Hood River.
71 Little Buck Creek Rd, Underwood, WA | best for: female winemakers, friendly staff
This female-led winery creates unique and approachable wines, without all the fuss. Their tasting room is positioned with breathtaking views looking east down the Columbia River. “Uni” the vineyard dog is often found lounging outside to greet customers as they arrive.
Insider Information: Don’t know what to order? Pick the flight! Each flight comes with little nibbles of dried fruit, dark chocolate, cheese, or whatever matches perfectly with the wines they are pairing for that day.
10401 Cook-Underwood Rd, Underwood, WA (get directions) | best for: age worthy wines and amazing views
With a spectacular backdrop of Mt. Hood and the Hood River Valley, the tasting room and grounds are casual and quaint. 2017 Travel + Leisure recognized Hawkins Cellars as the Top-Rated Winery in the Pacific Northwest and one of the twenty best wineries in the country. ‘Nuff said! Bring your furry friend for some delicious doggy gelato, humans shouldn’t have all the fun!
Insider Information: Before his plunge into winemaking, Thane Hawkins had a notable career in the animation industry, working on top tier films like Monster’s Inc., Shrek, and ANTZ.
421 Lewis and Clark Hwy, Lyle, WA | best for: creativity & experimentation
At Tetrahedron, they do it all by hand – hand-crank-pressed, hand-bottled and hand-labelled. With natural fermentation and no chemicals, the wine features all the goodness with none of the filters and preservatives. Crafted in tiny lots, the wines are as genuine and distinctive as it’s tiny, unfussy tasting room where the wines are poured.
Insider Information: Winemaker Kelly Johnson used to work for the big guys (Trinchero Family Estates/Sutter Home) on the huge scale of 22 million cases of wine. She flipped the script in 2014 coming home to Lyle to create something more personal – we are happy she did.
Peter Cushman Wines
1109 Hull Street, Hood River OR | best for: Laid back atmosphere, world class Pinot
A third-generation winemaker, Peter is well known for his contributions to the Columbia Gorge Wine scene (Wy’East Vineyards, Viento, Jacob Williams Winery). With his namesake brand, harvest is done by hand, each bin of grapes hand inspected and sorted, with a mindful approach, allowing the fruit to shine. Their wine can be found exclusively in the West Wind Wines on the heights in Hood River. Hurry in, new releases go fast!
Insider Information: Looking for something outside the Columbia Gorge AVA? Check out the West Winds Wines import selections, which has been carefully curated by Peter and his wife and professional chef, Sarah. Ask for recommendations – they know their stuff!