wine history tours logo
Book Now

A Short History of Fine Dining in the Willamette Valley, Oregon

finedining setup in 1900s

The history of fine dining in Willamette Valley, Oregon, dates back to the early 1900’s when the region was predominantly rural and agricultural. Restaurants at the time served simple, straightforward dishes that showcased the region’s bountiful produce.

In the 1970s and 80s, the region’s wine industry began to flourish, and local chefs saw an opportunity to create cuisine that would complement the local wines. As a result, many of the first fine dining establishments in Willamette Valley were intimately connected to the local wine industry. Chefs started to use locally sourced ingredients and pair their dishes with local wines, making it a hub for wine and food pairing.

One of the earliest and most influential fine dining establishments in the region was The Painted Lady in Newberg. Opened in 2005 by husband and wife team, Allen Routt and Jessica Bagley, The Painted Lady quickly became a destination for foodies and wine lovers alike. The restaurant earned numerous accolades and was named one of the top 100 restaurants in the United States by OpenTable in 2013.

Another influential restaurant in the region is The Joel Palmer House in Dayton, which has been in operation since 1996. The restaurant is known for its inventive, mushroom-focused cuisine, using locally sourced mushrooms and other ingredients. The Joel Palmer House has won numerous awards over the years and has been featured in a variety of national publications.

Joel Palmer House front view for fine dining in the Willamette Valley article
Indulge in Oregon’s gastronomic heritage at The Joel Palmer House in Dayton.

In recent years, Willamette Valley’s fine dining scene has continued to evolve and expand. Farm-to-table dining has become increasingly popular, with restaurants like Thistle in McMinnville and Subterra in Newberg prioritizing the use of local, seasonal ingredients and sustainable farming practices.

Overall, the history of fine dining in Willamette Valley is a story of innovation and evolution. The region’s chefs have embraced the local agricultural bounty and created a culinary landscape that is celebrated by locals and visitors alike. From simple farmhouses serving hearty country fare to Michelin-starred restaurants serving avant-garde cuisine, the region’s culinary scene continues to evolve and delight.

Click here to plan your Willamette Valley Wine Tour.

Want to read more? Try these books!


“History.” n.d. The Joel Palmer House Restaurant. Accessed June 3, 2023.

“Our Story — the Painted Lady Restaurant | Oregon Wine Country | Newberg, Oregon.” n.d. The Painted Lady Restaurant | Oregon Wine Country | Newberg, Oregon. Accessed June 3, 2023.

Book Now



Hot Topics

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.
On Trend

Most Popular Stories

Australian Wine Industry

The Australian Wine Industry

The Australian Wine Industry Since the first vines were planted on Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens site in 1788, the Australian wine industry has received considerable

Domaine Divio

Wine in Different Languages

Wine has been a beloved beverage for thousands of years and has been called by many different names throughout history. In this blog post, we’ll

Wine History Tours - Logo

Subscribe To Our Newsletter