The Willamette Valley as seen from King Estate Winery looking northeast. PHOTO: Stifter

The Willamette Valley as seen from King Estate Winery looking northeast. Photo: Courtesy of Stifter

After two weeks of extensive traveling around the state, it was wonderful to finish off the trip by taking a moment to reflect on our amazing experience.

And what better way to do so than driving the serpentine roads of the Willamette Valley, while stopping off at a few of the 200-plus vineyards known for their award-winning Pinots?

Oregon's “Wine Country” acted as the perfect place to sip and meditate on the great times we had in this beautiful state.

Willamette Valley

The 150-mile-long valley stretches from Portland in the north to Eugene and beyond in the south. Bordered by the Coast Range to the west and the Cascades to the east, the Willamette River allows for a rich, alluvial soil, which creates fertile ground for farming and agriculture.

Once known for its milk and honey production, now the valley is home to Oregon's burgeoning wine industry and the farm-to-table experience.

Covered Bridges

The Currin Bridge outside Cottage Grove was built in 1925 and restored in 1995. PHOTO: Stifter

The Currin Bridge outside Cottage Grove was built in 1925 and resorted in 1995. Photo: Courtesy of Stifter

Outside of Eugene (two hours south of Portland via Interstate 5) lies Cottage Grove, which calls itself “The Covered Bridge Capital of Oregon.”

Known more for their presence on the East Coast of the U.S., covered bridges originated to protect the wooden structural elements, which in Cottage Grove served to safeguard the railroad on the Chambers Bridge.

More often seen on the East Coast of the U.S., most of Oregon's covered bridges were built between the 1920s through the '40s. Now, they act as a fun tourist attraction, especially ideal for cyclists.

Hop on the paved 36-mile Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway and pedal through and past six covered bridges set among the lush rolling hills of the Willamette Valley.

King Estate

It's no wonder why the King Estate Winery in the southern region of the Willamette Valley is Oregon's largest wine producer. PHOTO: Stifter

It’s no wonder why the King Estate Winery in the southern region of the Willamette Valley is Oregon’s largest wine producer. Photo: Courtesy of Stifter

Located southwest of Eugene, King Estate is the largest wine producer in Oregon and sits on a beautiful 1,033-acre property, offering vista views of the entire region.

The winery offers tours of its massive facility, in addition to a magnificent lunch and dinner offering. Try the salmon with a Pinot Noir or Grigio, and you'll never want to leave. Truly a must-visit when touring the South Willamette Valley wineries.

Eugene Farm To Table

Eugene's 5th Street Public Market symbolizes the town's growing food and wine scene while calling home to restaurants, shops, and a market. PHOTO: Irons

Eugene’s 5th Street Public Market symbolizes the town’s growing food and wine scene while calling home to restaurants, shops, and a market. Photo: Courtesy of Irons

WKnown as the home of the University of Oregon Ducks, Eugene is also home to a thriving farm-to-table scene. Several local farms raise their livestock and grow their produce on the nearby land and sell to fantastic restaurants like Marche in downtown Eugene.

The fine-dining establishment offers an impressive wine list with a knowledgeable staff that puts you at ease when selecting a local wine to pair with the locally grown food.

Oregon Wine LAB

Head to Eugene's Wine Lab for a varied taste of Oregon's booming wine industry. PHOTO: Irons

Head to Eugene’s Oregon Wine Lab for a varied taste of Oregon’s booming wine industry. Photo: Courtesy of Irons

Located in Eugene's Whiteaker neighborhood, or “The Whit” as the locals call it, this urban winery produces William Rose wines on site but serves several local smaller wineries sourced from grapes all across Oregon.

The Oregon Wine Lab focuses on a unique collective winery model, so get out of your tasting comfort zone and try something like the delicious Sangiovese Rose.

With that, our Oregon journey was over. Big thanks to Roadtrip Oregon for our awesome home on wheels, “Stormy” the Eurovan, that made our two-week roadtrip around Oregon super comfy and extra fun!

John Stifter & Janna Irons, @vanventures

To win an Oregon Winter Wonders getaway, click here.

For more information about the Willamette Valley, visit oregonwinecountry.org.