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Archive for the ‘Wineries’ Category

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:

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

Eighth Oregon Wonder

Posted on: May 19th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Are the Seven Wonders of the World on your bucket list? How about the Seven Wonders of Oregon? When it comes to Oregon’s Seven Wonders, why see just one? In fact, it’s quite easy to plan a getaway to see both Oregon Wonders of the Oregon Coast and Mt. Hood, using Oregon’s Washington County as the equally-as-beautiful hub between them.

Just 64 miles from the Mt. Hood, you can make it to Oregon’s Washington Country in under an hour-and-a-half. Go from skiing on the mountain to drinking spectacular Oregon Wine in the Tualatin Valley.  For a no-stress day or wine tasting, book the Beer & Wine Hotel Package with the McMenamins Grand Lodge. The package includes lodging for two at McMenamins’ charming and historical property, transportation to and wine tastings with Grape Escape Winery Tours, as well as two hearty meals at the lodge. Pick a bottle from each winery you visit to create a make-your-own case. If you fly through Alaska Airlines, then you can check the whole case for no extra charge. Yes—that’s right. With the Wines Fly Free promotion, you can bring home a whopping 12 bottles of our finest wine without the hefty shipping fee. If that’s not the eighth Oregon Wonder, then we don’t know what is!

If your legs are still sore from your day on the slopes, then give your arms a workout instead. During summer months, the Tualatin Riverkeepers rent canoes and kayaks at Tigard’s Cook Park boat launch on Saturdays and Sundays through September. There’s also an Alder Creek’s Tualatin rental location at Brown’s Ferry Park where river-lovers can rent canoes, as well as single and tandem recreational kayaks. All this time on the lazy and relaxing Tualatin River should whet your appetite for the next Oregon wonder on your list: the Oregon Coast. Only 75 miles from the Cannon Beach and Seaside alike, Oregon’s Washington County is a perfect connecting point between the glorious peak of Mt. Hood to the sea-level of the State’s shorelines. With the lush vineyards and rivers between the two, it’d be a traveling travesty to not spend time in Oregon’s Washington County, as well.

The wonders of Oregon included David Hill Vineyard & Winery and the Tualatin River

The wonders of Oregon included David Hill Vineyard & Winery and the Tualatin River.


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

Red, White & Blue Memorial Weekend

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

As the first in the line-up of summer holidays, Memorial Day can kind of sneak up on you. Just a week away, you still have time to plan a patriotic getaway. Below, we’ve correlated the colors of the American flag with the best-of-the-best in Memorial Weekend shenanigans.

Celebrate Memorial Day with red wine, white EasyGo Farm alpacas, and blue flowers from the Beaverton Farmers Market.

Celebrate Memorial Day with red wine, white alpacas from , and blue flowers from our the Beaverton Farmers Market.

Red Wine
Pinot is our favorite color. Oregon Wine Month goes out with a bang as the wineries of the Willamette Valley joyously open their doors for the annual Memorial Wine Weekend. Participating wineries are generally open May 24-26 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check individual wineries for extended hours at select spots.

White Alpacas
Of course, white wine is also welcome on the Memorial Wine Weekend trail, but don’t miss out on the luxurious fluffy, white fleece at the Open Alpaca Barn (May 24-25, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., free). Alpaca mothers and babies will be outside to welcome visitors, as will artists working on handspun yarn.

Blue flowers, berries and treats
While blueberry season won’t be in full swing until July, summer produce will be sprinkled among not one—but three!—fresh farmers markets. Choose from the Beaverton Saturday Market, Cedar Mill Farmers Market or the Hillsboro Saturday Farmers Market. Whether you want blue berries, blue blooms or a blue-frosted cookie, you’ll find it.

Remembering Our History
Of course, it’s important to remember the people who fought for the red, white and blue, too. In honor of Memorial Day, take a visit to the Washington County Museum (Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; $4-$6 admission). The exhibit “Americans All: The Bracero Program in Washington County” tells the history of how Washington County came to have the largest Latino population north of Sacramento. This story includes not only how Mexican and Latino immigrants came to Oregon’s Washington County during World War II, but also how Mexico joined the Allies in 1942 to help find the Axis.  Come learn about this largely untold, yet fascinating and important slice of Oregon and world history.

Have a happy, safe and wonderful Memorial Weekend with us!

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

Last Minute Mother’s Day Ideas

Posted on: May 9th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments


The art at the Oregon College of Art & Craft screams "I love you, Mom!"

The art at the Oregon College of Art & Craft screams “I love you, Mom!”

Did Mother’s Day sneak up on you? It has a way of doing that. Just because your Mother’s Day plans are last minute, doesn’t mean they aren’t heartfelt.

If you live driving distance away from Oregon’s Washington County, then jumping in the car for a Tualatin Valley joy ride is the easiest way to spend a gleeful day with the family. This is especially true with so many mom-themed happenings across the county. From vineyard-side brunches to biodynamic gardening workshops, your Mother’s Day plans can range from traditional to unique.

But sometimes, spending Mother’s Day with family is just not in the cards. When you explore our towns on your own, finding the perfect gift for Mom is almost too easy, especially because it’s all tax-free! Here are gift ideas for all five senses:

If your mother passed her artistic aesthetic onto you, then find a one-of-a-kind gift at the Oregon College of Art & Craft. The store includes work from alumni, including handmade cards, ceramics, paintings and more.

Not to get all “Cat’s Cradle” on you, but is anything really louder than the sands of time falling down the hourglass? Tell mom you’re always thinking of her with a charmingly ticking vintage clock from Rose City Modern. This store of retro delights is always getting new selections of George Nelson, mid-century starburst and Peter Pepper Productions clocks.

There’s nothing quite like sharing a bottle of wine with the family, taking a moment to truly savor each other’s company. Bring her a bottle of Abbey Creek Vineyard’s 2013 Rosé. Just like mom, this one is sweet, yet substantial!

Scent holds the strongest tie to memory. Whether you associate fresh-baked cookies or dried lavender with your mother, find bath goodies that fit her personality at Verbena Botanicals. Not only are these products earth-friendly, they are downright adorable with loofah “lollipops” and “cupcake” candles.

In addition to a big hug, splurge on a Spa Getaway Package ($244-$275 per couple) at the McMenamins Grand Lodge. You’ll each receive an hour-long massage and some much-deserved relaxation.