What’s the Word?In Washington County, Oregon

Posts Tagged ‘Oregon wine’

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!

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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

Gifts for the Beverage Bon Vivant

Posted on: December 16th, 2013 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

A sip of this, a slosh of that. Everybody has a beverage that really wets the whistle. For tea fiends, hot chocolate addicts, and lush libation lovers, gift new varieties of whatever leaves rings on your loved ones’ coasters:

 

Gift Guide: Beverage Bon Vivant
Gift Guide: Beverage Bon Vivant by jackie-xxiv featuring gift sets & kits

 

1 & 2 Stash Tea holiday blends include the peppermint-ginger “White Christmas” and the chocolate-peppermint-lavender “Christmas in Paris.” Sip it in a Stash mug while opening presents.

3 & 4 Moonstruck Chocolate Co. makes velvety hot chocolate. We pour it over treats for December 16’s National Chocolate Covered Anything Day…Which we’ve decided to celebrate through December (and 2014, too). Moonstruck’s Distillers Collection engulfs a bourbon truffle in rich milk chocolate.

5 Ponzi Vineyards offers delectable Pinot wine and the Ponzi Vineyards Cookbook. The cookbook seamlessly weaves recipes, harmonious wine pairings, and stories from the vineyard’s rich history.

6 Verbena Botanicals is not a drink, but these bath products smell so good that you’ll be tempted to taste it! Instead, soak in the herbal bath teas. The directions even call for “steeping” the ingredients.

7 SakéOne is a great gift for a sushi date in the New Year. Winning the Double Gold and Best of Show from the LA International Wine & Spirits Competition, Momokawa Ruby saké is a sure bet.

8 Bull Run Cider’s Bramble Berry Dry Cider is a welcomed departure from the season’s hot cider. Instead, take in the distinct flavors of Oregon’s apples and berries—gluten free foodies love this one!

9 McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse and Imbrie Hall brews some of McMenamins famous beers and spirits. As a reminder of the watering hole’s eclectic décor, gift a brass bottle opener embossed with McMenamins flair.

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

Winning Wines

Posted on: November 8th, 2013 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Montinore's special biodynamic vineyards earned them top marks with Portland Monthly.

Montinore’s special biodynamic vineyards earned them top marks with Portland Monthly.

Wine lovers unite! With December in sight, Oregon’s wine critics craft year-end best-of lists. It’s no surprise that the wineries of Oregon’s Washington County are gems in the crowds.

Portland Monthly’s October 2013 issue made a Pinot-colored splash with its “50 Best Oregon Wines.” Within the Breathtaking Bubbles category, the 2010 Brut Nethode Traditionelle from Kramer Vineyards was commended for sweet done right. The 2007 Brut Rosé from J. Albin Winery was noted as a perfect Thanksgiving treat. Pick up a bottle during the Thanksgiving Wine Weekend.

Portland Monthly celebrated environmentally conscious wineries with the The Biodynamic Brigade category. Montinore Estate’s Pinot Noir “Swan Song” lives up to its name as grapes from an ugly duckling vineyard are transformed into a cheery blend.

Wine & Spirits Magazine also got in on the Washington County love, naming Elk Cove as one of its 2013 Wineries of the Year.

In the digital age, snooth.com connects over a million wine users from around the world. The Snooth team announced Oregon as the 2013 Region of the Year, taking note of the Willamette Valley’s long-loved Pinot along with its innovative Riesling and Chardonnay.

Come visit soon! We cannot wait to show you our world-class, award-winning wines.

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

A Vintner’s Life for Me on the NW Harvest Trail

Posted on: August 23rd, 2013 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
During the NW Harvest Trail, you'll see wineries in the throes of crush season.

During the NW Harvest Trail, you’ll see wineries in the throes of crush season.

As wine lovers, autumn can’t help but jockey for the position of our favorite season. It is harvest time after all and the thought of freshly de-stemmed grapes being crushed into juice—quite frankly—makes us nearly giddy. Here in Oregon’s Washington County, our winemakers get that and they want to share the harvest season fun with you during the North Willamette Wine Harvest Trail event.

There’s a reason the Today Show ranked the North Willamette Wine Harvest Trail as one of “5 fall festivals worth a trip.” On October 5, 2013, this annual event will once again welcome oenophiles to peer into a vintner’s life from the ground level. Thirsty wine enthusiasts board a chartered bus at 10 a.m., but don’t get too comfortable. The bus will take guests to three wineries at different phases in the vineyard-to-barrel process. You will walk the vineyard, watch demonstrations, work the crush pad, and get insight into the inner workings of a winery.

Of course, it’s not all work and no play. Overlooking the vineyards you’re learning so much about, the day won’t be complete without a wine country lunch. Each vineyard along the way will also feature tastings and nibbles because one of the best ways to learn about wine is to taste it close to the source. Your bus tour guide will answer any lingering questions about how we make such good Pinot.

After a full day of wine making and tasting, a Grand Tasting event is in order at the Tualatin Estate Vineyard. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., guests can meet the full gamut of winemakers in the areas with over 25 North Willamette wineries ready to share tastings and appetizers.   

With limited space, register for the Northwest Willamette Harvest Trail soon. Your registration of $95 includes the full day tour. Can’t join us for the full day? No problem. A limited number of Grand Tasting-only tickets are available for $45.  All tickets include tastings from wineries, food pairings, commemorative wine glass and specials on wine.

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

August in Wine Country

Posted on: August 7th, 2013 by Sylke Neal-Finnegan No Comments

Discover Wine CountryIt’s never too late to plan a wine country getaway in Oregon’s Washington County! From neighbors’ nights out to fun and unique events, these events allow visitors to enjoy the last days of summer and are sure to please the palate.

Neighbors Night at Cooper Mountain Vineyards; Fridays through August, 5-8 p.m.: Every Friday night throughout the summer celebrate the community at Cooper Mountain Vineyards‘ Neighbors Night. Relax on the lawn and listen to live music while taking in the scenic Willamette Valley. Pack a picnic and enjoy a stunning sunset. No admission fee; glasses of wine available for purchase as well as bottle sales to go.

Toast to the Tunes Concert Series; Thursdays in August, 6-9 p.m.: Bring a picnic dinner (no outside beverages permitted) and enjoy classic rock tunes on the spacious lawn of Oak Knoll Winery. This is a fun event for the whole family and leashed dogs also are welcome. Admission is $5 for guests 21+; guests under the age of 21 free. Gates open at 5 p.m.

Summer Sundays at the Ponzi Historic Estate; Sundays in August, 5-9 p.m.: Savor summer sunsets at the Ponzi Historic Estate, while sipping Ponzi wines by the glass or bottle and listening to live music or playing a game of bocce ball. Bring a blanket and a picnic (no outside alcohol or pets, please). Cost is $15 online; $20 at the door.

Date Night at Plum Hill Vineyards, 2nd Friday of each month, 5-8 p.m.: Enjoy date night with snacks, live music and complimentary wine tastings the second Friday of each month. Admission is free; optional catered dinner is $12.95 and reservations are required. For dinner reservations, please call 503-359-4706.

Ardiri Movie Night, 2nd Saturday of each month (through November), 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.: Relax with a glass of wine at Ardiri Winery and Vineyards and enjoy a movie al fresco on the inviting patio, complete with fire pits for those cool summer evenings.

Sakétini Saturday; 3rd Saturday of the month (summer months), 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Celebrate the myriad creative ways saké can be used in cocktail at SakéOne, the region’s only saké brewery. Sample from three delicious sakétini cocktails at the Tasting Bar, ranging from tropical to sophisticated, sweet to savory. Cost: $3 for 3 saketini cocktails, or add the saketinis onto a Sake Shock, Toji, or Kura flight for $2.

Summer Lunch Series at Raptor Ridge Winery, 3rd and 5th Saturday in August, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Raptor Ridge Winery‘s summer lunch series features delicious menus designed and prepared by regional chefs, paired with some of the winery’s best vintages. Cost is $45 per person (reservations required), and seating is limited to no more than 20 guests in order to preserve an intimate setting.

Patio Grill Night; 2nd Friday of the month (August and September), 6-8:30 p.m.: Enjoy a casual evening at Apolloni Vineyards with a gourmet four-course menu prepared by Sundial Specialty Baking, perfectly paired with Apolloni wines. Cost is $45, inclusive. For reservations, please call 503-359-3606.

For more August wine events read “August in Wine Country: Late-Summer Wine Events.”

Make a week or weekend out of it! Find places to stay. | Create a personalized itinerary. | Find places to eat. | View the digital visitor guide.

Sips of Summer: Bellini with an Oregon Twist

Posted on: July 31st, 2013 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
The Beaverton Farmers Market is bursting with juicy peaches this time of year.

The Beaverton Farmers Market is bursting with juicy peaches this time of year.

You love peaches. You love a good cocktail. A peach-themed libation is a no-brainer. Let’s graduate from the fuzzy navel, though, and instead use local ingredients from Oregon’s Washington County to craft a simple, elegant, and amazingly tasty Bellini.

Oh yes, the Bellini. It has it all: champagne bubbles tickling your nose, velvety texture from summer stone fruit, and a touch of golden honey. When you combine three spectacular ingredients into one nearly effortless drink, amazing things can happen. Making each of those ingredients from the bountiful land to the west of Portland? Well, then you basically have magic in a glass.

It really is just three ingredients: sparkling wine, peaches, and honey. That’s it. Here’s where you can round up the elements for the perfect Bellini:

This signature brunch cocktail calls for a signature Oregon’s Washington County wine. In lieu of Prosecco, Tualatin Estate Vineyard’s Semi-Sparkling Muscat Frizzanté is the answer to what makes an Oregon Bellini stand apart.

In August, we are in the thick of peach season.  To ensure the best sun-ripened peaches, pick your own! The orchards of Jossy Farms are bursting with Blazing Star and Red Haven peaches. If the market is more your style, peruse the vendors at one of Oregon’s Washington County’s farmers markets.

While at the farmers market, pick up some local honey, as well. At the Tigard Area Farmers Market, the Honey Pit proudly sells raw unpasteurized honeys—flavored solely by the flowers that their bees pollinate. To add some extra flair to your Bellini, stock up on the wild blackberry variety. “Tbees” also is available at the Tualatin Farmers Market, where you can not only get honey, but pollen and rich royal jelly.  

Tualatin Estate's Semi-Sparkling Muscat Frizzanté is a smashing alternative to the traditional Prosecco. photo credit: Willamette Valley Vineyards

Tualatin Estate’s Semi-Sparkling Muscat Frizzanté is a smashing alternative to the traditional Prosecco.
photo credit: Willamette Valley Vineyards

 

Oregon Bellini 

Ingredients:
4 peaches
2 tablespoons of honey
Tualatin Estate Vineyard’s Semi-Sparkling Muscat Frizzanté

Peel skin off of the peaches and remove the pits.

Combine peaches and honey in a blender and blend until very smooth.

For a smoother Bellini, strain mixture, separating the pulp from the juice.

Put mixture or strained juice in the fridge until chilled (at least one hour)

Fill 4 glasses (champagne flutes if you want to be fancy) with 3 tablespoons of the peach puree or juice

Top the rest of the glass with chilled Semi-Sparkling Muscat Frizzanté.

While Bellinis are often enjoyed during a summer brunch, we can’t help but enjoy them as a refreshing aperitif, patio happy hour, or late night cocktail. For those who’d rather have a bona fide mixologist make their drink, try the Bellini Tini at Twigs Bistro.

For more information on how to celebrate summer, visit our Events & Festivals Calendar.