One of Portland’s biggest perks is its proximity to world class wines and wineries. Before I had children, I took every opportunity to visit and go wine tasting in our region’s wine country. The rolling hills and miles of vineyards only a short drive outside the city offered a peaceful respite to city life and busy work weeks.
When I became a mother, I realized there was no reason having children had to curb one of my favorite pastimes. I could still enjoy Oregon wineries with my kids tagging along. As babies, they were easy travel companions, secured to me in a Baby Bjorn. But as they got older, I had to get creative. I’ll admit, wine tasting with a one or two-year-old can be challenging, but if done right, nothing beats a flight of pinot while picnicking with my kids and basking in the beauty of Oregon’s landscape.
Here are five tips for wine tasting with kids in tow, and four of our favorite kid-friendly wineries to visit!
1. Plan Ahead
Call the places you’d like to visit ahead of time because children are not allowed in some wine tasting rooms. It’s also best to check the weather and be prepared to sit outdoors. Summertime trips are most successful for this reason.
2. Visit During Week Days
Wineries are busiest on weekends, so visiting with kids on a week day can be more enjoyable. Also, the less crowded the tasting room, the more personal attention you’ll receive from winery staff.
3. Travel with Friends
Winery visits are just better with friends, and bringing along a designated driver is always a smart idea. Extra hands that can keep little ones busy while you taste a flight or browse the gift shop will also make for a less stressful experience.
4. Keep Them Busy
Pack play-doh, coloring books and crayons, bubbles, and toys that you know will keep your kids entertained, but leave the electronics at home. Allow the little ones to appreciate the beauty of their surroundings while they run, jump, and roll down grassy hillsides.
5. Be Courteous
Remember that other visitors want to enjoy a peaceful wine tasting experience. Out-of-control children who need a nap can ruin other patrons’ visit, so keep other guests in mind.
Knowing which wineries welcome children makes for the best trips. These are my four favorite wineries to visit with tag-along children thanks to their congenial staff, family-friendly environment, amazing views, and delicious wines.
1. Brooks Wine (Amity)
Visit Brooks Wine on a sunny day and enjoy outdoor games with the kids including corn hole, giant Jenga, and giant Connect 4. Inside you’ll find a selection of board games, as well as complimentary lemonade and root beer for the kids.
2. Apolloni Vineyards (Forest Grove)
The views and wine tasting experience will take your breath away at Apolloni Vineyards. And children are welcome inside the tasting room! Bins of toys, games, coloring books, and crayons keep kids busy while parents enjoy a flight. Beverages and snacks (including gluten-free) for kids are also available upon request. Outside, visitors can play bocci ball, and if you’re lucky, you might score a visit by the resident dog and goat on the property.
3. Cooper Mountain Vineyards (Beaverton)
Your kids will love visiting the chickens and goats on the grounds of Cooper Mountain Vineyards. Winery staff welcome children, which also hosts Neighbors Night every Friday night starting in mid-July. Families are encouraged to picnic on the property while enjoying live music, and there is no charge for visitors under 21.
4. Stoller Family Estate (Dayton)
Rows of Adirondack chairs overlooking rolling hills lined with grape vines will soothe a tired mother’s soul. Meanwhile, children have plenty of space to play, run, and take turns swinging on a tire swing hanging from a lone oak tree at the Stoller Family Estate.