What’s the Word?In Washington County, Oregon

Archive for the ‘Wineries’ Category

What is biodynamic wine?

Posted on: August 25th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Reap the rewards of Cooper Mountain Vineyards biodynamic practices: great Oregon wine!

Reap the rewards of Cooper Mountain Vineyards biodynamic practices: great Oregon wine!

When you take that first sip of an amazing Pinot, does it feel as though the wine is speaking to you? That voice may come from the wine’s terroir. And that terroir may have come into full fruition via biodynamic winemaking. A biodynamic practice is akin to homeopathy within agriculture, embracing a holistic understanding of the agricultural process. We met up with Barbara Gross of Cooper Mountain Vineyards  to learn why biodynamic farming—which Cooper Mountain Vineyards embraces—makes for great wine with great terroir.

Cooper Mountain Vineyards lives by the philosophy that “wine is memory of land.”  This idea is further explained in John Nossiter’s book “Liquid Memory,” which states that good terroir is representative of a wine’s history, connection to place of a place and very essence. Drinking biodynamic wine is therefore one of the best ways to taste the Tualatin Valley.

Barbara explains that biodynamic winemaking allows Cooper Mountain Vineyards to craft authentic wines with minimalistic intervention while respecting the soils from which the wines originated. Allowing for a self-sustaining farming mechanism to evolve brings a vineyard’s grapes closer to terroir. Barbara says “the less manipulation, the more your terroir speaks.” And each terroir speaks differently. For instance, an older vineyard may be more grounded in its soil and grape-growing process, which subsequently will create more grounded wine. Expect earthy notes of mushrooms and minerals. On the other hand, a younger vineyard with different soil may speak a completely different terroir, filled with punchy bright notes of fruits and herbs. What matters is that biodynamic farming and winemaking allow for a wine’s terroir to speak authentically and purely.

The biodynamic process is gaining momentum in the wine world and Oregon’s Washington County holds a large component of Oregon’s biodynamic wine puzzle. Along with Cooper Mountain Vineyards, Montinore Estate is among Oregon’s largest producers of sustainable and biodynamic wines. For a day of earth-minded wine-tasting, plan a trip with our sustainable wine trail itinerary!

Next month, we’ll uncover some of the distinct vineyard personalities found in Oregon’s Wine Country that par lay into truly standout Oregon wine.

Find places to stay. | Create a personalized itinerary. | Find places to eat. | View the digital visitor guide.

End of Summer Events

Posted on: August 20th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

We’re in the home stretch of summer, with just over a month until the Autumnal Equinox. We plan to soak up every last drop of summer sunshine and shenanigans. See below for the best of the best of the Tualatin Valley’s end-of-summer events.

Bask in the fading glow of summer, made easy with a Labor Day wine tasting at Plum Hill Vineyards.

Bask in the fading glow of summer, made easy with a Labor Day wine tasting at Plum Hill Vineyards.

Oregon Renaissance Festival
August 23-September 21, weekends | 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. | Washington County Fair Complex | $7.95-$15.95
Encounter a magical 16th century European village of knights, fairies and more. Bonus: learn medieval lingo!

WinCo Foods Portland Open
August 20-24 | varying times | Pumpkin Ridge Golf Course | $15
Don’t miss your chance to see the next Bubba Watson or Keegan Bradley battle for one of 25 PGA Tour Cards.

Wapato Showdown
August 23 | all day | Brown Park | free
Car enthusiasts show off their tricked-out cars and motorcycles with fun contests to boot.  

Labor Day Tasting at Quailhurst Vineyard Estate
August 30 | 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Quailhurst Vineyard Estate | $10-$20
Watch Quailhurst Vineyard Estate’s beautiful horses while sipping the winery’s fine Pinot.

Labor Day Wine & Art Show
August 30-September 1 | noon to 6 p.m. | Plum Hill Vineyard | No cover charge
Celebrate the long weekend with wine from Plum Hill Vineyards and great local artists.

Summer Festival at Garden Vineyards
September 11-14 | noon to 10 p.m. | Garden Vineyards | free
Live music, wine, and delicious food…Garden Vineyards does the end of summer right.

Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day
September 13 | all day | McMenamins Grand Lodge | free
The McMenamins Grand Lodge can’t wait for St. Patrick’s Day. Enter, an Irish-themed party now

Sidewalk Chalk Art Festival
September 20 | 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Valley Art Gallery | free
Release the artist within! Create a colorful sidewalk masterpiece in historic downtown Forest Grove.

Annual Corn Roast
September 20 | 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. | Pacific University | no cover charge
Feast on fresh roasted corn as a tribute to the last of summer’s harvest.

OMSI Star Party: Autumnal Equinox Celebration
September 20 | 7 p.m. | Stub Stewart State Park | free
Welcome the new season with a star party. Experts will help you catch a glimpse of Venus, Saturn and Mars.

Find places to stay. | Create a personalized itinerary. | Find places to eat. | View the digital visitor guide.

Focus on Autumn Nature Photo Contest

Posted on: August 8th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Previous photo contest entries. Credits clockwise from top left: Christopher Pokorny, Joel Zak, Christopher Pokorny, John Gaudette.

Previous photo contest entries. Credits clockwise from top left: Christopher Pokorny, Joel Zak, Christopher Pokorny, John Gaudette.

Visit. See. Click. Share. Win.

Yup, that’s what you’ll need to do to take part in the “Focus on Autumn Nature Photo Contest.”

Visit
As the contest runs from Labor Day through Thanksgiving weekend, you’ll have ample time to take a photographer’s getaway to the Tualatin Valley. Stay in style at one of our plush hotels. Take advantage of the McMenamins Grand Lodge Adventure Package for its picture-worthy aerial tour at Tree-To-Tree Adventure Park.

See
Of course, you can’t take great photos without great views and subjects. Not a problem here. There are countless “Focus on Autumn” options. If you love wine, capture the fog rolling over the vineyard while wine tasting. If you’re a sucker for fall foliage, take a ride on the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route to see burnt orange and rusty red leafage. And the migratory birds at our wetlands and nature parks are colorful models.

Click
With so much beautiful wildlife around, all that’s left to do is to play paparazzo and click away! The contest is open to all ages and to professional and amateur photographers alike. Take pictures that are meaningful and beautiful to your own eye.

Share
Between September 1, 2014 and November 30, 2014, any photos uploaded into the contest’s Flickr group will be considered an entry. Additionally, share photos on social media with the #tualatinvalley hashtag. We’ll be sharing these tagged pictures throughout the season.

Win
Your photo could win you some fabulous loot!

1st Place:
Canon EOS 70D DSLR Camera, UV filter, camera bag, and Canon Pixma Pro-100 printer from The Shutterbug, plus onOne Perfect Photo Suite 8 Premium Edition software (total value $2,500)
2nd Place:
Binoculars from Leupold Optics and onOne Perfect Photo Suite 8 Premium Edition software (total value $475)
3rd Place:
$100 Visa Gift Card and onOne Perfect Photo Suite 8 Premium Edition software (total value $200)
Honorable Mention: 
onOne Perfect Photo Suite 8 Premium Edition software (total value $100)

We can’t wait to see how you capture the beauty of the Tualatin Valley.

For all the nitty-gritty details and submission requirements, visit the contest page.

Ask a Local: Cooper Mountain Vineyards’ Barbara Gross

Posted on: July 28th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey 1 Comment
Barbara Gross of Cooper Mountain Vineyards gives visitors her inside scoop on the Tualatin Valley.

Barbara Gross of Cooper Mountain Vineyards gives visitors her inside scoop on the Tualatin Valley.

When it comes to vacation planning, nothing is more valuable than the local scoop. So, we turned to Barbara Gross of Cooper Mountain Vineyards. As a born-and-raised local of Oregon’s Washington County, she has the ultimate tips.
 
What makes Cooper Mountain Vineyards so special?
The soils. The place. We own and manage four vineyards throughout Oregon’s Washington County. And our philosophy is simple: craft authentic wines while respecting the soils and the land they originate from.
 
What do you love most about interacting with visitors?
The most satisfying interaction I have with visitors is being able to point to the specific acre of Pinot Noir, tell them the story of how Mother Nature provided us with that vintage and have them taste the Tualatin Valley.
 
What will visitors find happening in the vineyards now?
The North Willamette Valley is buzzing during the summer. She wears her colors well. Full canopy on the vines. Toward the end of the summer, the grapes begin to change color. Clear blue skies provide visuals of the mountains, reminding us of the volcanic nature of the soils where the vines reside.
 
Other than a visit to Cooper Mountain Vineyards, what’s one can’t-miss attraction for visitors to the area?
All the other wineries!
 
Describe a perfect day in Washington County.
Picnicking on one of our vineyards, with local Pinot Noir in your glass after you’ve spent the morning at a local berry u-pick farm.
 
What’s a favorite “hidden gem” of the area?
NAK WON! The Tualatin Valley boasts some of the best Korean and Vietnamese restaurants in the country. And Syun Izakaya has been a longtime and outstanding gem.
 
Where do you go when you want some seriously good grub?
See above! In addition, decarli restaurant and The South Store Café.
 
What should every visitor take home as a souvenir?
I would hope they would take away the impactful memory of the beauty of the place. And come back and visit.
 
Describe Oregon’s Washington County in 5 words or less.
Where the city meets the country.

Other tips from locals:
Curiosities Vintage Mall’s Travis Diskin
Maggie Buns’ Maggie Pike
Clean Water Service’s Sheri Wantland
SakéOne’s Steve Vuylsteke
Bag&Baggage’s Scott Palmer
Vine Gogh’s Jenny Schildan

Five Ideas for Dog-Friendly Fun

Posted on: July 23rd, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Just minutes from Portland is a dog (and dog-lover!) paradise full of hound-happy activities.

Just minutes from Portland is a dog (and dog-lover!) paradise full of hound-happy activities.

The Tualatin Valley is a pooch’s paradise. Unpretentious wineries, unhurried restaurants, and laid-back summer festivals make for a plethora of dog-friendly frolics. We’re ready for a howlin’ good time. Check out five favorite activities for humans and canines alike.

1. Tualatin Crawfish Festival’s “Atsa My Dawg”
August 2 | 1:30 pm. To 3:30 p.m. |Tualatin Commons | $4
What makes your dog special? While crawfish are the center of this three-day festival, dogs will steal the show at Saturday’s “Atsa My Dawg Show” costume and talent competition.

2. Canines Uncorked
August 9 | 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. |various wineries | $40
If you’re over-the-moon about dogs and wine, then you’ll love this dog-friendly wine event with 100% of the proceeds going to the Oregon Humane Society. Each of the 13 locations includes dog-themed activities. Pooch portraits, anyone?

3. Toast to the Tunes
August 7 & August 21 | 6 p.m. To 9 p.m.
Oak Knoll Winery | $5

Oak Knoll Winery spices up summer with its bi-weekly concert series. Bring a picnic, blanket and dog! This kid and dog-friendly event is the perfect way to jump start the weekend.

4. Advanced Fetch at L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park
Year-round | 6 p.m. To 9 p.m. | L.L. “Stub” Stewart Park | free
The off-leash dog park at L.L. Stub Stewart State is set atop a steep-sloped hill. One round of fetch will tucker out any dog. See the dog park in action with this Grant’s Getaway segment.

5. Hike to Happy Hour
Year-round | dawn to dusk | Fanno Creek Trail | free
With dog-friendly patios near lovely hiking trails, turn the wagging-tail hour into happy hour. After a jaunt through the Fanno Creek Trail, walk to the nearby Max’s Fanno Creek Brew Pub or Fireside Grill for some tasty nibbles and drinks.

With all of these dog-friendly activities, you’re going to need a few nights stay. Book the Bow Wow Package or a room at one of our other pet friendly hotels.

Past dog-happy blog posts:
Wine Dog “Ghost”
Wedding Crashing Wine Dogs

Rosé in Rose City

Posted on: July 21st, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
With the Rosé in Rose City wine tasting event, we're saying "Yes Way Rosé" in a big way.

With the Rosé in Rose City wine tasting event, we’re saying “Yes Way Rosé” in a big way.

Yes Way Rosé

We don’t know who coined that phrase, but we sure know that we agree with it. In fact, it has become a motto this summer, especially with so many North Willamette wineries turning star Pinot grapes into extraordinary rosés. Thankfully, the North Willamette Vintners event, Rosé in Rose City, brings all of these stellar rosé offerings into one blush-worthy wine tasting event (July 31; 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; $25 per person).

Rosé in Rose City will take place, a short drive from Portland, at Oak Knoll Winery.  Expect rosé and other summer varietals from 17 local wineries, as well as food pairings, lawn games and live music. Come with an appetite because rosé pairs well with barbeque and other smoky flavors. Fittingly, Hillsboro’s The Meating Place will provide local, sustainable and house-cured  barbeque. When it comes to rosé, remember that it’s think pink all around: pink meats go with pink wine!

Check out the event details for a full listing of participating wineries. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the delightful rosé to be had:

Abbey Creek Vineyard goes rogue with its rosé blend, abandoning Pinot in favor of a 70% Sangiovese and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon for its 2012 Mélange Rosé. The result is a softly sweet and happily zingy glass of wine.

Montinore Estate also brings its rosé A-game with its 2013 Pinot Rosé. The notes of strawberry, black cherry and dried fruit create a sip that is fruity yet tightly structured.

Unlike its Pinot Noir counterparts, rosé is meant to be enjoyed relatively close to its bottling. So, pick up the youngest bottles of your favorites at the Rosé in Rose City event and take them home—by the case-full—with Alaska Airlines’ “Oregon Wines Fly Free” promotion. That way, you can drink rosé for the rest of the summer in Tualatin Valley style.

P.S. Everything’s coming up roses! Check out these rose-named shops, spas and restaurants:

 

Five Great Places for Outdoor Dining

Posted on: July 14th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Fact: this sandwich tastes even better on the patio at Hayden's Lakefront Grill

Fact: this sandwich tastes even better on the patio at Hayden’s Lakefront Grill

In Italian, “al fresco” means in the cool air. Yes, the cool air after the high heat of the day has passed and a refreshing evening breeze begins.  Dining al fresco is one of the simple joys of summer, encouraging leisurely dinners among friends. Check out a sampling of our favorite outdoor dining options:

Fireside
The Fireside Grill adds spark back into dinner time with fire pits in the middle of their patio tables. Try “The Portlander” burger: a vegan patty on a gluten free bun with hummus, served with a salad dressed in lemon chia seed vinaigrette. All that’s left is to put a bird on it!

Lake Sunsets
Hayden’s Lakefront Grill is situated along Tualatin’s Lake of the Commons, where the lake mirrors the sky’s peachy pinks and periwinkle blues. The evening is heightened by calamari and risotto cakes, followed by a lux slumber at Century Hotel.

Beer Garden
McMenamins Raleigh Hills Pub brings Bavarian summer traditions to the Tualatin Valley with a lovely outdoor beer garden. The garden sits adjacent to the pub and its pyramid-style roof, which looks just as impressive from outside as from within.

Vineyard Views
Ponzi Vineyards Winery shows how al fresco dining only requires a nibble, so long as there is good wine. The tasting room’s patio sits atop a Chehalem Mountains slope, providing sweeping views lush farmland. The antipasti plate makes for a great patio snack.

Treehouse Experience
Tree’s Restaurant lives up to its namesake as every seat has views of gorgeous greenery.  While you can sit outside with the patio heater, the al fresco lifestyle is brought indoors with large windows and thoughtful tree artwork. So settle in and enjoy the Italian-Creole fusion cuisine, including shrimp with Parmesan grits.

Farm-to-Table Events
For a truly extraordinary al fresco dining experience, sign up for a farm-to-table dinner!

Farm to Table Dinner at Nana Cardoon Farms
July 19 | 6 p.m. |$75 per person

Our Table in the Field Dinner
August 9 | 4:30 p.m. |$85 per person

Farm to Table: Celebrating Hillsboro’s Agricultural Heritage
August 22 | 5:30 p.m. |$75 per person  

Find places to stay. | Create a personalized itinerary. | Find places to eat. | View the digital visitor guide.

The Best Summer Events

Posted on: June 16th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

summer events collage

What does summer mean to you? With this week’s summer solstice, we’re dreaming of the long summer days ahead. From beer gardens to outdoor concerts to cruising our scenic highways on the hunt for your favorite foodie finds, summer in Oregon’s Washington County is looking mighty fine. See below for a round-up of some of our favorite summer weekend events.

Festival of Balloons in Tigard
June 20-22 | 5:45 a.m. – 11 p.m. |Cook Park |$5 parking | admission: $5; carnival ride passes available online
It’s a bird…It’s a plane…It’s a hot air balloon! This annual event celebrates summer from sunrise to sunset with spectacular hot air balloon shows, a carnival, sports and (of course!) a beer garden.

Oregon Lavender Festival
July 12-13 | varying hours |various locations |free
Take a whiff of summer! Travel between our favorite lavender farms, enjoying all that the versatile herb can create: yummy treats, luxurious bath goods and folksy home decor. Participating locations in Oregon’s Washington County include:

Barb’s Dutchmill Herbfarm  
Helvetia Lavender Farm
Jackson School Lavender
Mountainside Lavender

13th Annual Northwest String Summit
July 17-20 | noon– 6 p.m. |Horning’s Hideout |$195
Get the summer blues so long as it’s from bluegrass. With 35 bluegrass acts gracing one outdoorsy-fun venue, there’s a reason this four-day concert sells out year after year.

Dressage at DevonWood
July 18-20 | 9 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. |DevonWood Equestrian Centre |$10 parking
Say “neigh” instead of “nay” to the equestrian event of the season. Over 225 riders from Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho and Canada with a combined schedule of more than 750 rides across three days. Riders from every riding class compete for seat medals, as well as in the graceful musical freestyle competition.

Canines Uncorked Wine Tour
August 9 | 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. |various locations |$40
For some, a summer adventure isn’t complete without a dog riding shotgun. If that’s you, bring your furry best friends on this dog-friendly wine trail. Dogs love wagging their tails along the edge of the vineyards while their owners drink the best of Oregon wine. Bonus: 100% of the proceeds benefit the animals at the Oregon Humane Society.  

Find places to stay. | Create a personalized itinerary. | Find places to eat. | View the digital visitor guide.

Vineyards After Hours

Posted on: May 30th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
At Ardiri Winery, friends can enjoy a summer evening toast, fire and movie.

At Ardiri Winery, friends can enjoy a summer evening toast, fire and movie.

It’s the end of Oregon Wine Month, but guess what?…The grapes are still growing ,vineyard dogs are still wagging their tails and the long summer days ahead will having our wineries open into the late evening. We’re listing the best dusk-hour sipping spots below:

Ardiri Movie Nights
June 14, July 12 and August 9 | 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. | $15 per person
Cozy up to one of the winery’s patio fire pits. Your entry cost covers food, a glass of wine and a classic movie. This is a popular event; so, RSVP early to info@ardiriwine.com.

Neighbor’s Night at Cooper Mountain Vineyards
Various Fridays June-September | 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. | $8 per person
When visiting Oregon’s Washington County, locals will treat you like one of their own. Example: “Neighbor’s Night” welcomes all who enjoy live music and stellar wine (pretty sure that’s you).

Oak Knoll Toast to the Tunes
Various Thursdays June-August | 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. | $5 per person
Enjoy a leisurely wine tasting while chowing down on James Gang Dinner’s lip-smacking BBQ. Your picnic isn’t complete without a sweet serenade from a local band. Kids and leashed pups welcome, too!

Plum Hill Date Nights
Every second Friday of the month | 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. | Free
Summer lovin’, had me a blast. Summer lovin’, had me some snacks. Okay, we made up that second line, but couples keep the romance alive here with wine tastings, music and—yes—snacks.

One-Time Evening Wine Events

Field & Vine Dinner at Tualatin Estate Vineyard
June 17 | 5:30 p.m. start | $80 per person
A vineyard tour leads into an enchanting outdoor dinner. With six courses and a rustic-chic community table, foodies come together for a summer evening you’ll never forget.

Patio Grill Night at Apolloni Wines
June 20 | 6 p.m. start | $45 per person
In the last official day of spring, usher in summer with a gourmet four-course menu and wine pairings.  

Field & Vine Dinner at Beckham Estate Vineyard
August 16 | 5:30 p.m. start | $80 per person
Good food, good wine and good friends. What more could you want? Get it all at this very special outdoor dinner.

Find places to stay. | Create a personalized itinerary. | Find places to eat. | View the digital visitor guide.

Ask a Local: Maggie Pike

Posted on: May 23rd, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Maggie Pike of Maggie's Buns shares her local favorites for visiting friends.

Maggie Pike of Maggie’s Buns shares her local favorites for visiting friends.

When it comes to vacation planning, nothing is more valuable than the local scoop. So, we turned to Maggie Pike, owner of Forest Grove favorite Maggie’s Buns. As a 20-year local of Oregon’s Washington County, she has the ultimate tips.

What makes Maggie’s Buns so special?
It is cozy, the food is great and we love our customers.

What do you love most about interacting with visitors?
I love to share all of the amazing treasures that Oregon’s Washington County has to offer. It’s not hard showing off our gorgeous county to visitors.

What’s one can’t-miss attraction for visitors to the area?
Don’t miss Fernhill Wetlands or pedaling the scenic bike paths.

Describe a perfect day in Washington County with them.
Start with breakfast at Maggie’s Buns before taking a stroll through wetlands. Then, I’d meander the downtown streets of Forest Grove and Hillsboro. For lunch, I’d get a pupusa from the Pupuseria La Guanaquito (113 N 11th Avenue, Cornelius). After lunch would be the perfect time to hop on bikes and hit the road through the diverse patches of agriculture we are so famous for. When my cheeks are sore, I’d take a break at Unger’s Farm Store for strawberry shortcake  before pedaling back to Forest Grove to take a nice walk around the old town. In the evening, I’d head to the McMenamins Grand Lodge for a dip in the soaking pool, followed by drinks and live music.

What’s a favorite “hidden gem” of the area?  
A true “hidden gem” of the area is the beautiful Lee Falls.

In addition to Maggie’s Buns, where do you go when you want some seriously good grub? What’s the standout dish?  
The Ace Tavern for a patty melt—it is amazing.

What should visitors take home as a souvenir?
A bottle wine from one of our local wineries.

Describe Oregon’s Washington County in 5 words or less.
Diverse agriculture, recreation, community and beauty…Sorry, I hope “and” doesn’t count as one of the words.

Previous Ask a Local Posts:
Clean Water Service’s Sheri Wantland

SakéOne’s Steve Vuylsteke
Bag&Baggage’s Scott Palmer
Vine Gogh’s Jenny Schildan