Is there anything better than wine tasting in the Willamette Valley on a gorgeous afternoon? Well, yes there is if you enjoy horseback riding vacations. My husband and I were visiting friends in the Tualatin Valley and we had asked for a dog-friendly winery recommendation in the Greater Portland area. It was suggested that we visit Plum Hill Vineyards in the tiny town of Gaston, Oregon. This small, family-owned winery was my lucky find of our entire holiday for several reasons; they produce a lovely Pinot Noir; our dog loved hanging out with the winery dogs and the winery recently introduced an Equine Wine Tour!
I’ve been horseback riding in Sonoma County wine country and I was supposed to go riding in McMinnville, on my last visit to the Willamette Valley, but as luck would have it, I was rained out. The last time I went horseback riding in Portland was right after my second hip replacement so I was anxious to ride again in Oregon.
This new Equine Wine Tour is operated by Bella Rue’s Stables, in conjunction with Plum Hill Vineyards. As with any new horseback riding adventure, you’ll want to check directly with the winery for availability and pricing. When I met with Bella Rue’s Stables Owner Nikki Reynolds, her intention was to offer weekly trail rides through the grape vines of Plum Hill Vineyards. This was quite a fun trail ride because the horses actually walk through the carefully planted vineyard rows.
I mentioned that I have had a hip replacement, in fact, both of my hips have been replaced, so I appreciated that the horses we rode were American Saddlebred horses. These horses have a very smooth gate and are good for beginning or advanced riders. Nikki had two horses at the winery during my visit and had saddled the horses with western saddles on this trail ride. She also had a mounting block available.
After our trail ride, we had a chance to enjoy some wines in the tasting room. The Equine Wine Tour includes a tasting flight of 8 wines, a meat and cheese plate and a complimentary wine glass that is yours to keep. The winery specializes in Pinot Gris, Riesling and Pinot Noir varietals. While you must be 21 years old for the wine tasting, you do not need to be an adult to go horseback riding in Tualatin Valley.
The Oregon winery is built on a historical dairy farm and features a large old barn with a prominent quilt panel on the front of the barn. This quilt panel is one of 30 quilt panels featured on the Quilt Barn Trail throughout Washington County.
Need to know:
As with most riding stables, you’ll need to sign a liability waiver before your horseback ride. Bella Rue’s Stables owner will ask your riding experience level to pair horse with rider. Riders should wear long pants, closed toed shoes and a riding helmet. Riding helmets are available for loan on site. Trail ride length varies from 1.5 hours and up. As this is a new equestrian tour, call the winery directly for additional details and pricing. Horseback rides subject to weather and advance reservations.
If You Go:
Plum Hill Vineyards (503) 359-4706
6505 SW Old Hwy 47
Gaston, Oregon 97119
Bella Rue’s Stables (503) 747-9846
For more information on things to do in the Tualatin Valley, a stone’s throw from Portland, Oregon, click here. I was a guest of the Tualatin Valley Oregon while researching story ideas.