Hills and Valleys-Pt. 4-Vista Hills Vineyard

{This is part 4 in a series of our visit to the Willamette Valley last summer.}

It can be challenging to visit wineries with a big group. It can be challenging to visit with children. It can be challenging to visit with aging parents (mine, at least.) So, what to do when you check all of those boxes? Ask the experts.

I had been in contact with Emily Petterson through Pinot in the City and she graciously offered to provide contacts or tips for my upcoming visit to the Willamette Valley. I needed an accessible, family friendly winery that could host large groups and children. She offered a previously compiled list and threw out that her husband was a winemaker and GM at Vista Hills Vineyard in Dundee and that they would be happy to host our crew. I had no prior experience with their wines which intrigued and intimidated but one look at their website told me that it was exactly what I was looking for. Emily arranged for us to meet with Tyler in the tasting room and we would go from there.

We could not have made a better decision.

John and Nancy McClintock purchased 20 acres overlooking the Dundee hills in 1995. Using their experience in eco-friendly development, they have expanded to 42 acres of LIVE certified vineyards, farmed with innovative techniques to produce Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir which they both bottle and sell.



We were warmly greeted and shown to a table in the back on the deck below. Plenty of room for the children to run, no stairs to navigate. While the Treehouse Tasting room offers beautiful views of the valley, we had other considerations. Tyler started us off with a bottle each of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.

He gave us time to relax, settle in, making sure we knew he was available when we were ready. We spread out nibbles and enjoy the view while we sampled. While we were there, the Equestrian Wine Tour arrived. The guides allowed the children to approach and pet the horses. The children played soccer ball pool. After an hour or so, the oldest and youngest generations decided to return to our rental house.  At that time, Tyler brought a more detailed tasting to us.



We tasted a total of six Pinot Noir, from a variety of blocks, created by different winemakers. They ranged from classic Burgundian notes to funky, savory and surprising. the 2015 Piedmont Pinot was just my style. Orange peel, stewed cranberry, all spice. Delicious.

In addition, we sampled their Blanc de Noir. This pale pink wine is pressed right away, no skin contact to create a lovely, refreshing quaff. Unripened strawberry and watermelon makes this a versatile appertiv or easily paired. We took home two bottles, the Piedmont, and a Pinot Gris.


As I’ve always said, the atmosphere and customer service is just as important as the quality of the wines to create a memorable tasting experience. Tyler was warm, friendly, laid-back and knowledgeable. The views were incredible. The space allowed us to relax, room for the children to play. The visit was truly memorable.

Whether you are looking for a date spot, a girls getaway, or a family celebration, Vista Hills should be on your itinerary.

The McClintock commitment to growth does not begin and end with grapes. They mentor and financially support several college students through their Clint Foundation, a program that partially funds and fully supports students furthering their education. For more information on the program, to sample wines at home, or to plan your visit, visit their website.

Many thanks to Emily Petterson for the suggestion and to Tyler for being a gracious host. We all had a day we won’t forget in the Willamette Wine Country.


Posted by

Being a stay- at-home mom can leave one thirsting for a taste of the outside world, a world in which sentences are composed of more than three words. Being an educator means one is always seeking an opportunity to explore and learn. Being a woman with a need to connect can be a challenge when adult conversations are rare. In wine, I find the marriage of art and science, agriculture and storytelling provides limitless areas to explore. But it is the people that keep me engaged. The tenacity needed to keep the family dream alive, the risk to start anew, the trials and principles. I love the history of the vine, the impact of a season, the sentiment in the bottle. That is why I write. I write to tell their stories, to share a piece of mine. I write to learn as I teach others. I write to connect with new friends, to disconnect from the world. I write to celebrate what makes each of us unique, and that which ties us together.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.