Black Walnut Inn: Sip Pinot Noir in a Tuscan Villa


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The Black Walnut Inn  & Vineyard is the ninth stop on the Worden Hill Wine Trail, but you’re sure to give this idyllic inn and vineyard first place in your heart.

The charming and elegant nine room inn is the embodiment of a lifelong dream of owner Karen Utz, who has always been in love with the idea of owning a small inn. The story of how her family found the majestic property where the inn is located is something straight out of a novel.

It was 2002, and Karen was walking with her family—Neal, her husband of 44 years, Kris, their son, and Bailey, the family dog. Bailey led the way, as dogs often do on this kind of a family outing, leading them up a deer trail made through the overgrown brush and straight into what they would have believed was Italy if they hadn’t been in the Red Hills of Dundee, Oregon. It was a 42-acre former plum orchard that opened up into spectacular views of Willamette Valley and the surrounding vineyards.

It also boasted the potential for creating an exceptional Pinot Noir. It was the perfect storm of fate for the Utz family, and so the adventure began.

In order to achieve this dream a, Neal kept working full-time as a pharmacist and Karen continued her job as a teacher. Nights and weekends were the family’s time constructing the inn. Kris cleared the land while working nights as a chef at a local Dundee restaurant. Their daughter Melissa brought her decorative touch to each suite making them elegant and comfortable. Karen’s cousin, a local artisan, became part of the project by building the breakfast tables. Hardwood floors were hand laid, hand built doors were hung, and antiques and modern art were positioned just so. The end result is a true labor of love with every family member leaving their mark on the final project. 

The staff at the Black Walnut Inn offers top-notch, hands on service and ensures that guests have a wonderful stay.  Concierge services and recommendations help guests tailor their visits, creating a one-of-a-kind experience.

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The estate house is reminiscent of Tuscan villas of old. Nine unique and inviting suites are designed with a touch of European elegance.  Sumptuous linens, soaking tubs, comfortable king and queen-sized beds and spectacular views are just a few of the comforts enjoyed by visitors during their stays.  You will find everything you need at the Black Walnut Inn to ensure an authentic Oregon wine country experience.

Each morning, the chef creates a gourmet menu of entrees made from fresh, local ingredients from the many neighboring farms in the valley.  The Black Walnut Inn works to ensure that the produce is organically and sustainably produced and fresh to the table.  They work to lessen the carbon footprint that the food brings to the table by even sourcing locally grown and milled flour and grains. In addition, the artesian cheeses, sea food, lamb, chicken, pork, and beef are Oregon produced and showcase the Pacific Northwest palate.

The winemaking is Neal’s baby, his first harvest was in the fall of 2009—a bright Chardonnay. The grapes for this wine came off the inn’s property.  When the vineyard was planted in 2003, two flats of plants were mismarked as Pinot noir and actually were Chardonnay which are scattered amid the 777clone block. Neal has had great success with his wine making efforts. In addition, Kris has  taken to helping with the production of the wine. Currently, the inn produces about 250 cases of Pinot noir and Chardonnay combined.  You can purchased from the tasting room, which is open weekends April 15th  – October 31st from 11am-4pm. Guests also have the opportunity to taste during their stay. The 2012 Utz Chardonnay, 2012 Private Reserve Utz Pinot Noir, and 2012 Black Walnut Pinot noir are currently available for tasting.

The Black Walnut Inn provides luxurious accommodations, unbeatable views of Oregon’s wine country, and is the perfect spot for adventure, romance, or even business. The inn has been featured in publications including Conde Nast Traveler, Wine Spectator, Country Travel, and Brides. The Black Walnut Inn is one of the top destinations in the Yamhill Valley.

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Book your next special event at the Black Walnut Inn. Small weddings of 50 guests or less (including the wedding party) can be accommodated. Other daytime and evening events are welcome as well. They also offer special elopement packages for when you want to avoid the hoopla but not the romance.

World class wineries, the Oregon Coast, the Columbia George, and many other ways to relax, rejuvenate, and get away from it all await you. The Black Walnut Inn provides an Old World Italian feel on the West Coast of the USA.

Video Credit  |  Dronescape Media Consulting
Photo Credits   |  Eye of The Lady  |   Holland Studios   |   Hebe


logo Located at 9600 NE Worden Hill Road, Dundee, Oregon.
For more information or to
make reservations, visit
or call
(866) 4294114 or (503) 5388663


  1. If it wasn’t for you featuring this article in your magazine, we wouldn’t have known about this gorgeous place. This is one bed and breakfast I want to visit !!! It’s now on the bucket list . Thank you!

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