What’s the Word?In Washington County, Oregon

Archive for the ‘Wineries’ Category

Earth Mama Musings

Posted on: April 9th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Environmentally-conscious mothers love exploring the eco-chic findings of Oregon's Washington County, including a locavore Mother's Day brunch at Garden Vineyards.

Environmentally-conscious mothers love exploring the eco-chic findings of Oregon’s Washington County, including a locavore Mother’s Day brunch at Garden Vineyards.

Do you consider yourself an earthy mama or a flower child at heart? With Earth Day around the corner, and Mother’s Day just a few weeks after that, we’ve created a go-to list for eco-minded, travel-loving mamas.

Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing is on our wavelength, welcoming Alicia Silverstone to talk about her new book “The Kind Mama” (April 23 at 7 p.m. with free admission). After ogling at the impressive selection of eco-living and parenting books, get cozy for a not-so-clueless talk. Alicia will discuss how to pave a confident and empowered journey into motherhood, from fertility planning to the first few months with baby.

Whether you’re exploring after the reading or visiting during another time, Bridgeport Village has a surprising number of Kind Mama approved destinations. First, start at one of Alicia Silverstone’s favorite vegan restaurants, Native Foods Café. The entire menu is 100% plant-based, though meat-eaters may be fooled by the Italian meatball sub with house made tempeh and seitan.

With a belly fueled with nutritional foods, head to the locally-made Ellington Handbags store. Here, bags are environmentally-friendly, cute, and can fit all the supplies that a busy mom needs at her disposal. Vegans love the fashionable durability of the Washed Nylon Twill bags. Those that buy leather with a conscious will be thrilled to find ECO Leather handbags made from an award-winning and environmentally responsible tannery.

The last stop at Bridgeport Village is a relaxing one, indulging in a treatment at the Coldwater Creek Spa. Treat yourself to a massage or body treatment that uses all organic products.

For a full-out Kind Mama getaway, hit up the Sustainable Wine Trail because being green doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite reds. The trail includes wineries that use biodynamic farming, like Montinore Estate and Cooper Mountain Vineyard.

P.S. Whether your mama is eco-chic or urban-fab, treat her to a great Mother’s Day. Why wait until the last minute to make plans? We have a round-up of delicious Mother’s Day brunches—make a reservation for right now!

Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway: Wheel Turn #2

Posted on: March 26th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Old Farmington Schoolhouse on the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway

Old Farmington Schoolhouse on the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway

We’re back with our second installment in the “Wheel Turn Series” of the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway. As a review, you can cycle backwards and read last month’s Wheel Turn #1.

After pedaling by the first stretch of the bikeway, you’ll be arrested by the sight of the Old Farmington Schoolhouse at the intersection of SW Rood Bridge Road and SW Burkhalter Road. This rustic and haunting structure was a 1800s one-room schoolhouse for local farm children. Today, the eerie—yet beautiful—schoolhouse is a hotspot for photographers.

Pedaling onto SW Burkhalter Road, the history lesson continues with the Lewis Pioneer Cemetery. Established 12 years before Oregon even became a state, the cemetery has gravestones of individuals born in the 1790s, like Dolpha Howard, whose father served in the Revolutionary War.

Cycling forward, let the promise of amazing Oregon wine propel you to Oak Knoll Winery. Of course, now would be an excellent time for a pit stop at one of Oregon’s pioneer wineries. Pop into the tasting room for Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and even a refreshingly original blackberry wine. In addition to a wine tasting, visitors are welcome to enjoy a picnic on the manicured lawn and enjoy the surrounding views of the Chehalem mountain ridge.

So long as riders only had a few sips at the winery and are safe to cycle, continue on SW Burkhalter Road until it turns into SW Johnson School Road at the crossing of the SW Hillsboro Highway. Nearing the end of Johnson School Road, you’ll want to take a stop at Duyck’s Peachy-Pig Farm and Unger’s Farm Store. The Duyck’s Peachy-Pig Farm has donkeys, horses, goats, and chickens, who make a day of watching cyclists pass through their home turf. Fresh produce and seasonal u-pick are also available.Unger’s Farm Store offers u-pick strawberries seasonally, as well as an amazing assortment of homemade goods: jams, salsa, jerky, kettle corn and more.

Woo! That’s one jam-packed stretch of the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway! Tune in next month for even more wine, agriculture, golf and forested goodness.

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Wind Up to the Wine Trail Weekend

Posted on: March 19th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Experience the most of Oregon wine in one Pinot-centric weekend on the Northern Willamette Wine Trail.

Experience the most of Oregon wine in one Pinot-centric weekend on the Northern Willamette Wine Trail.

When we wake up to clear blue skies on a weekend morning, it’s hard to resist the urge to hop in the car and seize the day—and amicable weather. We love visiting wineries rain-or-shine, however, spring days give steam to our wine tasting game. With the North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend April 12-13, the wineries of Oregon’s Washington County are daring us to a marathon wine weekend.  

From the North Willamette Vintners, the Wine Trail invites wine lovers to experience wines from 22 wineries at 19 locations in two jam-packed days. What’s more, the Wine Trail weekend is actually about so much more than wine. It’s truly about our community in motion of those who make, from making wine to making art to making the food that fuels our bodies and minds. With this in mind, the Wine Trail pairs each winery with a thoughtful and unique activity.

One such pairing is the Abbey Creek Vineyard partnering with the Portland-based artist, Sean Kalley. While visiting the Abbey Creek tasting room, sip carefully cultivated wine while creating one-of-a-kind art. Kalley works with a variety of mediums—such as charcoal and pastels—using upcycled materials to frame his work. His art is arresting, yet approachable, dark, yet playful. This combination makes for a meaningful and fun dose of culture.

Tickets can be purchased here, where you’ll be asked to identify your starting winery. A wine kit—including a glass, map, and brochure of each winery and its accompanying activity—will be waiting for you at that winery pm April 12. Lunch options will also be available for purchase at many of the wineries.

Here’s the skinny on tickets:

  • $45 per person includes the two-day Wine Trail weekend with activities, wine tastings, food pairings, and wine glass.
  • $30 per person for Sunday-only ticket from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; ticket includes glass, activities, wine tastings, and light food pairings.
  • $10 for a designated driver ticket includes snacks and a reusable tote bag.

P.S. Use the promotion code “NWVPartner” for $5 off a full-weekend ticket!

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Ask a Local: Bag&Baggage Productions’ Scott Palmer

Posted on: February 24th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

When it comes to vacation planning, nothing is more valuable than the local scoop. So, we turned to, Scott Palmer, Artistic Director of Bag&Baggage Productions. Scott leads the top notch professional theater company through classics-with-a-twist like the upcoming adaptation of King Lear at the Venetian Theatre, Lear. As a 36-year local of Oregon’s Washington County, he has the ultimate tips.

Scott Palmer of Bag&Baggage knows what's up in Oregon's Washington County

Scott Palmer of Bag&Baggage knows what’s up in Oregon’s Washington County


What makes Bag&Baggage so special?
It’s not only a theatre company, but part of the fabric of the community. We play a crucial role in the creative and cultural life of this community, providing high quality, innovative and provocative live theatre. We attract visitors from all across the state—and nation—with our our unique takes on classic drama…This ain’t your momma’s suburban theatre company.

What do you love most about interacting with visitors?
Visitors often tell me how surprised and thrilled they are to find such quality, innovative theatre in “sleepy little Hillsboro!” It always cracks me up! I know (as does everyone else who makes Hillsboro home) that Hillsboro hasn’t been “sleepy” for a long, long time.

What’s one can’t-miss attraction for visitors?
Wine, wine, wine. Washington County boasts some of the most incredible, delectable, and inspiring wines in the universe. Did I mention the wine?

Describe a perfect day in Washington County.
Grab a cup of coffee at Insomnia Coffee Company to take on a morning walk through Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve with gorgeous wildlife. Hop in the car and drive to Forest Grove for lunch at 1910 Main before wine tasting along Highway 47 (making sure to hit up Montinore Estate). Return to Hillsboro for the best sushi on this side of Japan at Syun Izakaya. Finish with dessert and a cocktail at the stunning Venetian Theatre!

What’s a “hidden gem” of the area?
The Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals has one of the world’s largest collections of crystals and is in an amazing home listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Where do you go when you want some seriously good grub?
My all-time favorite is Amelia’s Mexican Restaurant. The best thing on the menu is the Cazuela De Bistecisa—the thinly cut steak, chorizo, grilled cactus, onions, and jalapenos are so. freaking. good.

What should visitors take home as a souvenir?
A Hillsboro Hops baseball cap.

Describe Oregon’s Washington County in 5 words or less.
Authentic. Inspiring. Ambitious. Surprising.

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Wine Dog “Ghost”

Posted on: February 21st, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Plum Hill Vineyards, Oregon Wine, wine dogs

Ghost at Plum Hill Vineyards considers himself a good pillow for napping toddlers

At Plum Hill Winery and Vineyard, there is a “Ghost” roaming the grounds. Though, he’s more intent on licking than haunting visitors to the tasting room. You see, Ghost is the seven-year-old Labrador who calls Plum Hill home.

Ghost came to Plum Hill with a family who rented a cottage on the property. When the family moved away, they knew Ghost was too connected to the 33 acres of wide open land that he loved to roam. Winery (and dog) owners, Juanita and RJ Lint, already loved Ghost as if he were their own and happily offered to make him an official part of the Plum Hill Family.

Ghost lives for the busy summer days, greeting everyone and leading them to the tasting room. Juanita says Ghost knows the sound of the driveway buzzer, which alerts the Plum Hill crew of incoming visitors. Juanita says “He runs to the door and jumps in circles,” anxious to usher folks into a day of wine tasting. A part from the tasting room, Ghost accompanies RJ in his truck, surveying the vineyard and running errands.

Ghost was raised not only around the vineyard, but also around babies. With an inclination toward little ones, Ghost—all 127 pounds of him—is a gentle giant. Toddlers often ride on his back in exchange for slobbery-sweet dog kisses.   

We’re giving away one free copy of “Wine Dogs USA, Volume 3.” To enter for a chance to win, post a picture of your favorite furry friend in this Facebook post (it can be of a dog, cat, etc.). On February 25, 2014, one randomly drawn entry will be chosen as the winner.

Giveaway terms & conditions

P.S. Mark your calendars for August 9! The Annual Canines Uncorked offers a day of wine tastings and dog-friendly activities at 13 local wineries.

Wedding Crashing Wine Dogs

Posted on: February 19th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
wine dogs, oregon wine, a blooming hill vineyard

Gemini & Trouble are two handsome dogs you can meet while wine tasting.
© Craig McGill, Wine Dogs 2012

Welcome to wine dogs week on our blog! In Oregon’s Washington County, winemakers love their dogs just as much as their rows of Pinot. Many a friendly Fido can be found sniffing the terroir, welcoming visitors into the tasting room, and generally showing that a day touring North Willamette Valley’s wineries is a tail-wagging good time.

The book “Wine Dogs USA” celebrates 190 wineries who count happy pooches as a part of their crews. The book’s glossy pages swoon over A Blooming Hill Vineyard’s dogs, Gemini and Trouble, and their infamous canine wedding crashing.

Gemini, a nine-year-old Labrador/Husky mix, loves a good wedding. He has been known to stretch out by the winery’s Tea House so as to get a good view of the procession (he’ll gladly join the procession if asked, too!). When the ceremony begins, he often creeps by the rest of the wedding guests so that he can watch the first the couples say “I do.”

Trouble, the three-year-old Pitbull/Boxer mix, is a bit more of ham at weddings. Winery (and dog) owners, Jim and Holly, savor the memory of Trouble dashing onto a party’s Portland Trolley, offering an adorable picture-op of which everyone in attendance took advantage.

Apart from wedding duties, Gemini and Trouble take their job as “professional greeters” very seriously. They lead visitors to the tasting room, always looking behind to make sure you’re following them. However, Holly has trained the dogs to treat the tasting room itself as a calm space. She says the phrase “let sleeping dogs lie” rings true as she often finds herself stepping over the snoozing pups during her tastings.

We’re giving away one free copy of “Wine Dogs USA, Volume 3.” To enter for a chance to win, post a picture of your favorite furry friend in this Facebook post (it can be of a dog, cat, etc.). On February 25, 2014, one randomly drawn entry will be chosen as the winner.

Giveaway terms & conditions

P.S. Mark your calendars for August 9! The Annual Canines Uncorked offers a day of wine tastings and dog-friendly activities at 13 local wineries.

Valentine’s Day with a Twist

Posted on: February 10th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Here in Oregon's Washington County, we find love and fun romance everywhere...especially the unexpected!

Here in Oregon’s Washington County, we find love and fun romance everywhere…especially the unexpected!

Last week, we talked how to wine-and-dine your Valentine. But that’s not every body’s thing. For couples or friends eschewing grandiose romance, celebrate Cupid’s favorite day without veering toward the cloyingly sweet. Instead come to Orgegon’s Washington County for endorphin-rush experiences.

Celestial Love
Love starts with the self, which RoseSprings Center for the Healing Arts knows well through its holistic care. For an other-worldly experience, the center’s mystic messages explores the idea of spirit guides (February 13, 7-8:30 p.m.). Using oracle cards, gain perspective on pressing questions. For a more down-to-earth experience, book a couples massage.

Artsy Love
Love heats up in the glass blowing studio! Don’t buy a gift for your Valentine. Instead, make a gorgeous hand-blown flower at Live Laugh Love Glass’ Valentine’s Date Night (February 14 from 7-10 p.m. or February 15 from 6-9 p.m).

Messy Love
Research shows that couples that exercise together are healthier in body and spirit. Celebrate health and love at the Inaugural My Muddy Valentine 5k (February 15, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., registration $45-$60). Looking-for-love runners can participate in a post-race speed dating event.

Green Love
The recent snowstorm will melt just in time for February’s Beaverton Winter Market (February 15, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.). Lovebirds looking for a low-key hangout can take home more than just veggies: home smoked pork rilletes from Feastworks Chacuterie and a rose and pistachio buttercream French Macaroon from Sterling Catering and Cookies.

Buzzed Love

Even non-romantics describe new love as a certain kind of buzz, which is exactly what you’ll get at the Zwickelmania Oregon Brewery Tour (February 15, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Learn about the hops, brewing process, and bottling of our favorite local brews: Ambacht Brewing, Max’s Fanno Creek Brew Pub, Two Kilts Brewing, and Vertigo Brewing.

Pork-tastic Love
Italy is full of romantic traditions and Montinore Estate has adapted a few as its own with Maialata: The Festival of the Pig (February 16, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. $150, reservations required). A Portland restaurant favorite, Nostrana, pairs Montinore’s wine with a day of pork-themed food-making and eating.

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A Wine-and-Dine Valentine’s Day

Posted on: February 5th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Visit all four wineries on the Valentine's Wine Loop and you'll have a shot at winning an awesome wine lovers basket.

Visit all four wineries on the Valentine’s Wine Loop for a shot at winning a wine lovers basket.

Cupid is going wild in Oregon’s Washington County, shooting his arrows at every winery he sees. Whether you’re single or happily attached, there are lots of ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with us, including events touting the traditional wines, chocolates, and romantic touches of St. Valentine.

Four-Course Tasting
The Valentine’s Wine Loop invites Pinot lovers to visit four wineries (February 14-15, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.). There’s one for each chamber of the heart:

Ardiri Winery and Vineyards blushes coyly with its limited production 2013 Rosé ($10)
Alloro Vineyard breaks out its limited edition wines to go with the local artisan cheese ($15)
Cooper Mountain Vineyards serves barrel-aged balsamic vinegar and ‘Vin Glace’ ($15)
Raptor Ridge Winery shows true-love to its vineyard with five single-vineyard Pinots ($15)

Everlasting Feast
With Italian roots and French oak barrels, Apolloni Vineyards is romantic to the core. So, it makes sense that it goes all out for Valentine’s weekend with three amorous events:

Valentine Tasting Room (February 8, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Start Valentine’s celebration right with good wine and handcrafted chocolates. We’re fans of the ghost pepper ganache paired with the 2012 Rosé.

Cave by Candlelight Valentine’s Dinner (February 14, 6 p.m., $60)
Stacks of oaky barrels, the intoxicating aroma of aging wine, good food, and soft candlelight casting dancing shadows. Now that’s a romantic Valentine’s night.

Sweet as a Cupcake Weekend (February 15-16, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
You love wine. You love cupcakes. Now, try wine infused cupcakes!

Love Potion #9 Digestif
Forget the roses and heart-shaped lockets. Craft the perfect Valentine’s Day memento at Montinore Estate’s popular event, Bottle Up Your Love (February 15, 12-4 p.m.). Make your own “love potion” from a custom-blended Pinot Noir.

Lovey-dovey not your thing? Hey, that’s cool. Next week, we’ll talk about an unfussy Valentine’s Day. From beer tours to mud runs, there are tons of ways to show your honey you care without feeling too Don Juan. Until then, see our comprehensive list of Valentine’s weekend happenings.

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Sparkling Wine Trail

Posted on: December 27th, 2013 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Uncork the holidays with some bubbly from our Sparkling Wine Route.

Uncork the holidays with some bubbly from our Sparkling Wine Route.

When it comes to New Year’s Eve, celebratory toasts call for the razzle-dazzle, the spumante effect, and the tickle-your-nose flair. That said, we endorse sparkling wine as an all year affair. We drink sparkling wine whenever we want to make a happy hoopla of things. But why not make a hoopla of finding that perfect sparkling wine? Have a radiant day tasting Oregon’s best bubbly along the Sparkling Wine Route of Oregon’s Washington County.

Just 25 miles west of Portland, start at Apolloni Vineyards. The winery’s Sparkling Rosé and Sparkling Pinot Blanc are light and dry bubbly floral aromas and a citrus finish. Apolloni’s owner and winemaker, Alfredo Apolloni, stays true to his roots producing both sparkling wines in the traditional Italian style. For those who can visit this weekend, Apolloni Vineyards is offering a Bubbles & Seafood Weekend, which will highlight seasonal seafood and complimenting sparkling wine for your New Year’s Eve dinner.

The next two stops along the Sparkling Wine Route of Oregon’s Washington County were choice picks for 1859 Magazine’s article, “Ring in 2014 with some of our favorite sparkling wines.” So many wineries in the North Willamette Valley are known for great Pinot, which J. Albin Winery’s  has parlayed into its Brut Rosé. With notes of strawberry and jasmine, you’ll be in a sparkling nirvana.

Kramer Vineyards knows sparkling wine is key to any swanky soirée, which is why they created their  Celebrate! Müller-Thurgau and Pinot Gris varieties. Get that punch of bright acidity and drinkable fruitiness from these bottles.

The next leg of the Sparkling Wine Route takes you to Shafer Vineyard Cellars for the Shafer Cuveé. The winery is committed to producing its sparkling wine in the traditional French champagne method, Methode Champenoise. This attention to bubbles will fill your flute with something extra classy.

For that last glimmering sip, taste the Semi-Sparkling Muscat Frizzanté at Tualatin Estate Vineyard. The hint of nutmeg adds festive holiday flair. For a Spanish twist during your New Year’s Day brunch, try this sparkler mixed into an Oregon Bellini.

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The Route Less Traveled: Sip 47

Posted on: December 20th, 2013 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Rudy Marchese of Montinore Estate is passionate about sharing the beauty, wine, and food along the Sip 47 Route.

Rudy Marchese of Montinore Estate is passionate about sharing the beauty, wine, and food along the Sip 47 Route.

While some say get your kicks on Route 66, here in Oregon’s Washington County we say get your sips on Route 47. What we lack in rhyme we make up for in wine…and sake, cider, and cuisine.

Over the years, Rudy Marchesi, owner of Montinore Estate, has loved meeting wine lovers from all over the world. It seemed that many travelers made their way into his tasting room after spending a few days in Portland. But Rudy was always a bit perplexed as to why people always journeyed from Portland to Oregon wine country via Highway 99, especially when Highway 47 was just as accessible and much more picturesque.

Rudy and a collaboration of proud winemakers, farmers, and business owners in the Northern Willamette Valley created the Sip 47 Wine Passport to show off 17 delicious delights along NW Highway 47. For urban dwellers and peace seekers, the Sip 47 route is one of the best ways to escape the city grind for a few days of pastoral relaxation.

Until February 28, this collective of culinary attractions along Highway 47 provides a fun passport for visitors to fill as they explore the route’s wineries, saké kura, cider brewery, creamery, and restaurants. To determine your first stop, download a PDF printable map of the route. Once you arrive, you’ll receive a hard copy passport and map, along with your first stamp. The Passport will be signed as you make your way along each stop, whether you do it in one day or over multiple weeks.  

Upon receiving the last stamp in your passport, your name will be entered into a drawing for great prizes. After hitting up so many tasty finds, you’ll be eager to win some of the Oregon Pinot, fancy cheeses, effervescent sake, or naturally cured meat samplers that are up for grabs!

Looking for a place to stay as your trek the Sip 47 route? Book a few nights at one of the route’s nearby hotels.

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