Visit Hispanic-owned wineries in the Willamette Valley to experience the best of Oregon wine—and gain an appreciation for that perfect Pinot.
Many travelers center their vacation around beautiful wine areas like Oregon’s Willamette Valley to enjoy bucolic scenery, fantastic food, and mesmerizing wine. Here are some of our favorite Hispanic-owned wineries for sipping, swirling, and savoring that glass of Pinot Noir. We also share a unique new program spearheaded by these owners and others in the Willamette Valley to create wine career opportunities for more people than ever.
Visiting Willamette Valley Hispanic-Owned Wineries
You can enjoy a variety of vineyards owned by Hispanics in the Willamette Valley. These wineries produce some of Oregon’s famous pinot noir, pinot gris, and chardonnay.
Located in McMinnville, about an hour southwest of Portland, the A’ Tuscan Estate Bed and Breakfast can be your central base for exploring the Willamette Valley’s Hispanic wineries.
The charming 1928 Colonial-style inn offers four suites and the hospitality you’d expect in a great bed and breakfast. The three-course breakfast, using local ingredients, is a highlight of the stay and the perfect fuel for a day of wine tasting.
Sofia Torres-McKay’s Cramoisi Vineyards, located in Dundee, is named for the red clover plants used as a cover crop in the vineyards. The farmhouse-style tasting room affords guests incredible views of the Dundee Hills while tasting the winery’s latest offerings.
The boutique winery offers you a unique opportunity to taste with Torres-McKay and her husband and co-owner, Ryan McKay. During my recent tasting, I started with the 2021 Rosé, a refreshing, acidic, 100 percent pinot noir rosé perfect for the hot summer day. Next, we compared the 2018 and 2019 Cuveé Estate Pinot Noir. The difference between the two was profound due to the difference between dry and wet harvest years. Our experience ended with my favorite wine, the 2019 Sofia Estate Pinot Noir, made from 100 percent Dijon 667 clone. After the tasting, you can walk through the vineyards and see where the magic begins.
Cória Estates in Salem is a Mexican-American family-owned winery. The label has been making wine for over 20 years on the rural 104-acre property in the Southern Willamette Valley. The parents, Luis and Janice, manage the vineyard and the business. Their eldest daughter Elizabeth is involved in tasting room sales, and their youngest daughter Aurora is the winemaker.
Aurora returned to school when the family decided they wanted to produce all aspects of their wine in-house. She got a four-year degree in winemaking, and it shows. Several of the label’s wines have received top accolades from American wine critic James Suckling. Don’t miss the refreshing Pinot Gris and the flagship Grey Label Pinot Noir. If the weather is good, plan a tasting flight on the winery’s expansive patio overlooking the Valley.
Blend the Cuban spirit with Oregon’s ability to produce stellar Pinot Noir, and you have the soul of Cubanisimo Vineyards. When Mauricio Collada’s parents left Havana to give him and his four siblings a better life in the US, they dreamed that Mauricio would grow up and live the American dream. Today, Mauricio owns a winery, along with his wife Debra, and maintains a thriving practice as a neurosurgeon. Cubanisimo Vineyards produces a strong portfolio of pinot noirs and a white and rosé.
“When I first got interested in wine, I found Pinot Noir to be the most interesting,” said Mauricio. “It has become my love affair.”
It was easy to taste his passion for the grape as I sat on the patio trying several different years of Pinot Noir while listening to one of Mauricio’s local musician friends on the guitar. Don’t miss the 2015 Estate Pinot Noir’s bright berry aromas and red and black fruit notes.
Hispanic-Owned Wineries Make Wine Education Accessible
Vineyard workers have always toiled in the background of the wine industry. These vineyard stewards often spend a lifetime working the land, but there wasn’t always a path forward to transition from worker to owner. The AHIVOY program (Asociación Hispana de la Industria del Vino en Oregon y Comunidad)—in conjunction with wineries throughout the Willamette Valley—are hoping to change that.
In 2017, three Willamette Valley wine industry pros—Jesus Guillén, Sofia Torres McKay, and Miguel Lopez—dreamed up a program to help other Hispanics move up in the wine industry.
“I was very involved with the people in my vineyard, talking to them and learning about their lives. I realized they had no idea how their work influenced the wine I made,” says Cramoisi’s co-owner Torres-McKay. “Wine wasn’t a career path for them, but I wanted them to have a goal and a purpose and to see that what they do is the foundation for everything.”
With Guillén spearheading the effort, the three friends created AHIVOY. This program is a 17-week, comprehensive wine industry education program taught at Chemeketa Community College in Salem. The program was designed to give vineyard stewards an education and a path forward in wine. Sadly, Guillén died of cancer in 2018 before he could see the first cohort of students graduate in 2019.
Torres-McKay, Lopez, and Guillén’s widow, Yuliana Cisneros-Guillén, have grown AHIVOY in the past three years. The program recently graduated its third class. Now it also gives vineyard stewards resources to improve their English skills. It allows them to take the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 1 certification. Graduates of the AHIVOY program have already moved on to other jobs in the industry, including Alejandro Avalos. He landed a job at a vineyard management company and joined the board of AHIVOY.
The AHIVOY program pays students a stipend knowing that vineyard stewards would be reluctant to take time away from their money-making jobs. They also structure the program to allow them to work before and after school. The wineries of the Willamette Valley are very supportive of AHIVOY. The leadership team has expanded with DeAnna Ornelas of Winderlea Vineyard and Winery, now board president, and Sam Parra of Parra Wines, the co-chair. Various fundraisers throughout the year, and scholarships funded by Argyle Winery, ensure that the AHIVOY program will continue to grow and develop future talent for the wineries of the Willamette Valley.
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When You Explore Hispanic-Owned Wineries in the Willamette Valley
A trip to the Hispanic-owned wineries in the Willamette Valley allows you to experience the best of Oregon wine. It will also help develop a deep appreciation for everything that goes into creating the perfect pinot you’ll find on a trip to Oregon wine country. When planning your next wine-country trip—whether it’s to the Willamette Valley, Oregon, Napa Valley, California, or Burgundy, France—let Wander with Wonder be your guide.