What’s the Word?In Washington County, Oregon

Posts Tagged ‘Oregon wine’

Founding Fathers Food Tour

Posted on: February 16th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
The Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route would remind President Washington of Mt. Vernon!

The Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route is as beautiful as Mt. Vernon!

Did you know that George Washington was a foodie? During his presidency, Washington hosted an official dinner at 4 p.m. sharp every other Thursday, often inviting legislators of all different regions and stances. In spite of his wooden dentures, the president and his wife would serve lavish courses, accompanied by good wine and beer. In honor of President’s Day, we’ve put together a Tualatin Valley food tour with America’s founding fathers in mind.

Soup Starter
Turns out, the first president was a peanut lover! A common course at his Thursday dinners was a savory peanut stew. So, we’re pretty sure good ol’ Washington would be delighted by the African peanut stew from the Native Foods Café at Bridgeport Village. This nutty stew includes one of Washington’s other favorite ingredients: sweet potatoes!

Fresh Fish Main Course
The showstopper dish on the presidential table was often roasted fish. If George Washington could magically travel in time to today’s Tualatin Valley, then he’d surely be a fan of the char-grilled pacific swordfish at Hall Street Grill. The accompanying butternut squash puree would remind Washington of the winter squashes grown at Mt. Vernon.

Cherry on Top
We all know the folktale of George Washington and the cherry tree. Well—no lying—there are amazing tastes of cherry all over the Tualatin Valley! Beaverton’s decarli restaurant often creatively works cherries into the menu with cherry compotes, house-candied cherries in its charcuterie or balsamic roasted cherries over a perfectly-cooked pork chop.

Washington’s diaries say that the president preferred port wine, which even stained his dentures. For a decadent treat, try A Blooming Hill Vineyard’s Pinot in a Port-style, VXX. The raised sugar with a Pinot Noir concentrate creates a smooth aperitif with yummy raisin flavor.

While George Washington himself can’t experience the delicious wonders of the Tualatin Valley, you certainly can! And while you’re at it, take a drive along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route!

Information about George Washington sourced from Smithsonian Magazine’s “Dining with George Washington.”

P.S. Play a President’s Day Two Truths & a Lie with us!

Valentine’s Day Itinerary

Posted on: February 4th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments


Just outside of Portland, plan a heart-shaped itinerary for Valentine's Day in the Tualatin Valley.

Just outside of Portland, plan a heart-shaped itinerary for Valentine’s Day in the Tualatin Valley.

Whoo—we have a big weekend coming up, don’t we? Over four short days, experience the first Friday the 13th of the year, Valentine’s Day, and a luxuriously long weekend with President’s Day. Seize this trifecta with the perfect Oregon getaway to Oregon’s Washington County: The Tualatin Valley!

Friday, February 13th
Welcome! Now, first thing’s first. Check into your hotel room, which you (of course) got a great deal on by booking one of these romance hotel packages. Next, head to happy hour at Bootleggers Whiskey Bar. Prohibition-era drinks and the signature meatballs will shun away any bad Friday the 13th vibes.  

Saturday, February 14th
Start your Valentine’s Day with a sweat at the My Muddy Valentine 5k. Single? Stick around for the speed dating with other runners.

Add some sudsy love to your romantic day with the Zwickelmania Oregon Brewery Tour. To make things super simple, the Orenco Taphouse (near the Orenco Max Station) is the starting location for a shuttle that will make a loop to five local brewery tours. Get the shuttle schedule here.

After your afternoon of beer, switch gears into a more theatrical state. Bag&Baggage theater production presents Cabaret Cupid’s review of romantic songs and dance at Venetian Theatre & Bistro, which conveniently also serves a chandelier lit dinner.

Sunday, February 15th
You’ll have time to cover all your boozy bases this weekend, especially with the Valentine’s Wine Loop. Make a day of vising five northern Willamette Valley wineries special wine tastings and pairings.

Next, the McMenamins Grand Lodge allows you to carry out a relaxing evening in one little hub. Get a couples massage at the Ruby Spa, take a dip in the soaking pool, grab a burger at the Ironwork Grill and watch a new movie in the old-world charm of the Compass Room Theater.

Monday, February 16th
Happy President’s Day! Celebrate the long weekend with a joy ride to the Cruise In Country Diner. The rockabilly décor is old school, but the chef’s take is new school with organic and sustainable produce. Have a slice of cherry pie in honor of George Washington!

Don’t forget to Instagram you whole weekend with us, entering the Winter Wonder Instagram Contest. Use the #mytualatinvalley hashtag to enter!

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

Sip, Savor, Sprint and Soar this Valentine’s Day

Posted on: January 30th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

The countdown to Valentine’s Day has begun. Whether you and your honey opt for low-key or lavish celebrations, there are plenty of ways to spoil your love in the Tualatin Valley. No special someone? Our winery and brewery tours, mud runs and zip tours make for the perfect friends’ trip, too.


Just a short drive from Portland, have a romantic wine cave dinner for Valentine's Day at Apolloni Vineyards.

Just a short drive from Portland, have a romantic wine cave dinner for Valentine’s Day at Apolloni Vineyards.

Oregon’s Washington County is the perfect place for a wine-lover’s ideal getaway. The fourth annual Valentine’s Wine Loop (February 13-15) will have you gallivanting between five unique wineries, each of which will be pairing their amazing pours with special tastings and pairings. If you prefer to sip suds, then there’s the Zwickelmania Oregon Brewery Tour, too (February 14-15).

Take some time out to appreciate your significant other, your time and—of course—delicious food. The triple-threat for savoring this Valentine’s Day can be found at the Cave by Candlelight Dinner at Apolloni Vineyards (February 14; 6:30 p.m.).

Both love and exercise can get your heart rate up, pumping those endorphins and adrenaline through your body. This Valentine’s Day in the Tualatin Valley, take your pick from three fun runs:

If love makes you feel like you can fly, then you’ll love soaring across the treetops with Pumpkin Ridge Zip Tour. From February 13 to February 16, if you bring a date then he or she will zip for free! That’s right—lovebirds receive 50% off of their tour.

Valentine’s Weekend 2015 is suddenly looking pretty good, isn’t it?

P.S. Take advantage of one of eight romance hotel packages during your stayavailable year-round!

Winter Wonder Instagram Photo Contest

Posted on: January 28th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Let’s make the most out of the last weeks of winter, shall we? We want you to show us the beauty that you find in the Tualatin Valley via our Winter Wonder Instagram Photo Contest. The contest is really quite simple. Here’s the deal with it in a nutshell: When you visit a hotel, outdoor attraction, vineyard or brewery in Oregon’s Washington County from February 2 to March 20, tag your Instagram photos with the location, @oregonswashingtoncounty and the #mytualatinvalley hashtag to enter for a chance to win major swag from the Tualatin Valley (think wine, hazelnuts and other tasty treats galore!).

Here’s how to enter:

  • Follow @oregonswashingtoncounty on Instagram
  • Upload an Instagram  picture of a hotel, outdoor attraction, vineyard or brewery in Oregon’s Washington County (location must be searchable on the www.tualatinvalley.org website)
  • Please note: if your Instagram profile is set to private, you can either
    • send your image to @oregonswashingtoncounty via Instagram Direct or
    • share the link to your Instagram image with Visit Oregon’s Washington County on Twitter (@WCVA) which will allow our organization to have access to only that image on your profile
    • if you do not do either of these, your photo will not be visible to the Washington County Visitors Association and you will not be officially entered in the contest
  • Tag @oregonswashingtoncounty in your photo on Instagram
  • Use the hashtag #mytualatinvalley in your photo on Instagram
  • Name the location in your photo on Instagram in the location field, additional hashtag or Instagram caption
  • You must be 21 or older to enter
  • Abide by the full Terms & Conditions

Alright—now it’s time to begin planning your next Instagram snaps. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Show us how you make a hotel your home away from home. Give us a peek at your delicious room service, a cozy rest by the fire or a morning yoga session in your hotel room. To start, book your room now!

Put your feet to the fire for a cozy snapshot of your time at The Grand Hotel.

Put your feet to the fire for a cozy snapshot of your time at The Grand Hotel.


Outdoor Attraction
Use the Nature Passport to uncover the best winter wildlife watching throughout the 727 square miles of wetlands, parks, refuges and forests in Oregon’s Washington County: The Tualatin Valley. 

An early wake-up call proves worth it for a sunrise picture at one of our wetlands.

An early wake-up call proves worth it for a sunrise picture at one of our wetlands.


The wineries of the northern Willamette Valley have a special wintertime charm. Make a romantic (and photo-worthy) sweep of them during the Valentine’s Wine Loop.

Capture the winter beauty of Willamette Valley vineyards in the winter.

Capture the winter beauty of Willamette Valley vineyards in the winter.


Beervana awaits in the Tualatin Valley. With a growing list of stellar breweries, create sudsy Instagram shots. The Zwickelmania Oregon Brewery Tour is the perfect way to get behind-the-scene brewing pictures. 

Make happy hour your Instagram hour, too.

Make happy hour your Instagram hour, too.

At its heart, the Winter Wonder Instagram Contest is about having fun. So get out there, have a great time and share what conveys #mytualatinvalley, whatever that means for you.

Read the full Terms and Conditions here.

Bottled Beauties of Oregon Wine for Valentine’s Day

Posted on: January 26th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
The bottling line at Apolloni Vineyards

The bottling line at Apolloni Vineyards.

Sometimes while perusing a wine collection, a specific bottle will jump out at you and it’s simply love at first sight—no taste even needed. While it’s what’s on the inside that counts (booze!), we have to admit that the bottling and labeling process of the wines in the northern Willamette Valley are indeed stylish, thoughtful and deserving of praise. Today, we’re focusing on the Valentine-inspired bottling beauties of the wines in Oregon’s Washington County.

Cupid is getting in on the bottling fun! Montinore Estate will host a Valentine’s Day Bottle Up Your Love event. Here lovebirds will not only craft their own unique Pinot Noir from three of Montinore’s vineyard blocks, but that special blend will then be bottled and given a personalized label. Drink the love potion that night—or save it for a special occasion in the years to come. Since Bottle Up Your Love is pretty much the perfect Valentine’s Day affair, spots fill up rather fast. Don’t miss your chance to put your mark on the northern Willamette Valley’s bottling game. Make a reservation today!

Valentine’s Day is an explosion of red, white and pink—the same color choices as wine! Just last week, both Elk Cove Vineyards and Ponzi Vineyards Winery were bottling their 2014 Rosé of Pinot Noir blends. It’s no surprise that these pretty in pink blends were poised to be released just in time for Valentine’s Day.

To get a glimpse and taste of the newly-bottled Rosé beauties, make Ponzi Vineyards Winery your first stop on the Valentine’s Wine Loop. With Valentine’s weekend overlapping with the President’s Day holiday, you’ll have ample time to explore the wines of the northern Willamette Valley, including Ardiri Winery and Vineyards, Alloro Vineyard, Cooper Mountain Vineyards and Raptor Ridge Winery. Each tasting room will host a romantically-inclined wine tasting and food pairing to help create the ultimate Valentine’s getaway.

With your own collection of bottles growing from your wine weekend, don’t forget to make use of Alaska Airlines’ “Oregon Wines Fly Free” promotion, running through April 30, 2015!
Find places to stay. | Create a personalized itinerary. | Find places to eat. | View the digital visitor guide.

What Others Are Saying about the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: January 2nd, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
See the diversity of things to eat, see and do in the Tualatin Valley.

Enjoy the diversity of things to eat, see and do in the Tualatin Valley.

As much as we love sharing our favorite tips and attractions to the Tualatin Valley, we get giddy when we come across others—visitors, travel writers and locals alike—feeling compelled to share their experiences in Oregon’s Washington County. Below, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite links from the past few months. Happy internet surfing!

Food & Booze

Outdoor Adventures

Explore Our Towns & Farms

  • The writers at Willamette Week are urban-dwellers to the core, but even they can’t resist Beaverton’s charm! They detail their favorite spots for Korean food, espresso ribs, and newt-tastic hikes in the “Happy Beaverton Day” article.
  • The blog Urban Fringe Living celebrates the corners of the world—like the Tualatin Valley—that are the crux between urban and country living. We love the photo essay of Smith Berry Barn!

If you come across some great writing about the Tualatin Valley (or if you’ve written your own!), then we want to hear about it! Share a link to the content in the comments section.

Holiday Wine Pairings

Posted on: December 12th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey 1 Comment
Pop open some bubbly from the Tualatin Valley when celebrating the holidays.

Pop open some bubbly from the Tualatin Valley when celebrating the holidays.

The holidays are all about excess. And hey—we’re not complaining. With all the decadent cheese plates, buffet spreads, and candy-cane treats, you’re going to need a plethora of drinking options to pair with the best holiday grub. Below, see our suggested beer, wine and cider pairings for each course of your most extravagant holiday meal.

During this time of year, the appetizer course can linger for hours as something delicious slowly roasts in the oven. So drink something smooth, easy and of which you can have a few. Enter, Two Kilts Brewing Company’s Belgian Brune. The Oregon craft brew taste good with just about anything (especially stinky cheeses) and it’s hard to tire of it.

Additionally, amp up your bread and olive oil game by adding Cooper Mountain Vineyards’ 12-year barrel-aged balsamic vinegar to the mix. The vinegar is made from the winery’s organic and biodynamic Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes and, point blank, it’s fantastic.

Cin! Cin! Cheers to family and the coming new year with Kramer Vineyards’ 2013 Celebrate Müller-Thurgau. The tropical notes of hibiscus, banana and kiwi will bring a little summer pep into your winter grumbles. Kramer Vineyard’s Celebrate Rosé of Pinot Noir is a cheery choice, too.

Main Course
Let’s switch it up this year. Why not try cider with your honey baked ham? A nice, crisp one like Bull Run Cider’s Powerhouse Dry Cider can also be used in the cooking liquid for a truly tasty dish.

We recently re-discovered the greatness of port after dinner. The rich digestif is the perfect send-off to a great meal. Try one of David Hill Vineyard & Winery’s two delicious ports. Sweet lovers sip on the 2008 Estate Muscat Port, while those who prefer a bit more spice will enjoy the 2008 Estate Pinot Noir Port.

Next Day Brunch
After a night of merriment via food and booze, you may need a little hair of the dog in the morning. For a great Bellini, mix a bit of bubbly Provincial Vineyards 2013 Estate Nova Sparkling Pinot Gris with peach purée.

Happy holidays! Drink well and responsibly during this festive season. Cheers!

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

Love Language Gift Guide

Posted on: December 5th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Find the perfect gift in the Tualatin Valley.

Find the perfect gift in the Tualatin Valley.

What’s your love language? By love language, we mean the way that you prefer to express and experience love. Do you connect with those you love via heartfelt words, actions, gifts, time spent together and physical touch? No matter how you express how you care this holiday season, you can best celebrate it in the Oregon’s Washington County: the Tualatin Valley.

Words of Affirmation
Words matter. Tell your honey how you feel over a romantic dinner at decarli (just say whatever you have to say before eating the polenta fries with gorgonzola butter).

Acts of Service
For some, actions speak louder than words. Don’t just give a gift—make one! The glass blowers at Live Laugh Love Glass offer classes where you can create one-of-a-kind pieces in their studio. Even if your piece comes out a bit wobbly, the recipient will love it even more for its imperfections.

Receiving Gifts
Big or small, a gift wrapped in a bow is a lovely thing to receive, especially when that present is one-of-a-kind. Support local artisans and boutiques with a shop small mentality while visiting the Tualatin Valley, ranging from sweet little shops to vibrant holiday markets.

Quality Time
In the whirlwind of our busy lives, there is a love language that is spoken through not minutes, but hours and even days. Get in the car for a day of wine tasting on Sip47 Wine Route, complete with 17 purveyors of Oregon wine, saké and cider. Beyond driving the scenic roads, you’ll savor the time spent leisurely sipping locally made libations.

Physical Touch
For many, we have an innate need for touch. With adrenaline pumping after an adventure at Pumpkin Ridge Zip Tour, feel your partner’s heartbeat as you hug each other in congratulations. For a more low key endeavor, there’s always a couples massage at the Ruby Spa at the McMenamins Grand Lodge.

No matter your love language, we hope you have a joyous season of gift giving and gift receiving!

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

Photograph Gratitude in the Tualatin Valley

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

What are you thankful for this year? Here in the Tualatin Valley, we’re oozing with gratitude for our rolling mountain ranges, bountiful farms and the way in which this fertile land creates some of the best food and wine in the country. That’s a lot of gratitude right there and we think it’s worth expressing in more than words. In fact, show us why you’re thankful for the Tualatin Valley by entering the Focus on Autumn Nature Photo Contest

Thanksgiving weekend is also the last weekend to enter the contest (submissions close November 30!). With so much festive hullabaloo happening throughout Oregon’s Washington County, there will be last-minute photo inspiration everywhere you look:

A good turkey gobble is best followed by vineyard views at the Thanksgiving Wine Weekend. Wineries open their doors for wine tastings overlooking post-harvest vineyards. With your camera in tow, try and capture the fog twirling around the vines or dew drops dangling off the fence posts.

Fall vineyard views by Joel Zak

Fall vineyard views by Joel Zak

For photographers with a sense of humor, head to Alpacas of Oregon for the annual Alpaca Open Barn & Holiday Sale (November 28-29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Here, you’ll find goofy subjects—alpacas!—who are always curious for cameras.  

Alpacas are the best photo subjects. Photo by Joel Zak.

Alpacas are the best photo subjects. Photo by Joel Zak.

The autumn-themed photo contest can still have some wintertime flair with entries from one of our holiday tree farms or at the Helvetia Christmas Festival (November 28-30 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Noble and Grand firs stand majestic, ready to be photographed in their green glory.  

Holiday Tree Farm by John Gaudette.

Holiday Tree Farm by John Gaudette.

As if these attractions aren’t reason enough to hit the town with your camera, then maybe the photo contest prizes will nudge you of the door:

Drool-worthy photography gear are the prizes for the photo contest.

Drool-worthy photography gear are the prizes for the photo contest.


1st Place:  Canon EOS 70D DSLR Camera, plus UV filter, camera bag, Canon Pixma Pro-100 printer and more (provided by 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 $555)
3rd Place:  $100 Visa Gift Card and onOne Perfect Photo Suite 8 Premium Edition software (total value $280)
Honorable Mention:  onOne Perfect Photo Suite 8 Premium Edition software (total value $180)

Enter the Focus on Autumn Nature Photo Contest now!

Candy & Wine Pairings

Posted on: October 31st, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Now, be honest—how much Halloween candy do you steal from your kids’ stash? When stocking up for trick-or-treaters, we somewhat shamefully know that the mixed bag of goodies will inevitably turn into a one-for-you-and-one-for-me sort of situation. Making peace with you Halloween candy addiction, you might as well take it up a notch by pairing it with good Oregon wine. See our favorite pairings below!

david hill vineyard Candy: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Wine: David Hill Vineyard and Winery’s Farmhouse Red
Reese’s peanut butter cups are a prized trick-or-treater score. But keep a few for yourself to pair with this $12 per bottle stunner. The candy’s sweet peanut butter mixes delightfully with the soft and jammy red blend, making for a grown up PB&J experience.


Abbey Creek VineyardCandy: Snickers
Wine: Abbey Creek Vineyard’s 2012 Baco Noir
A Snickers has a lot going on with it chocolate, nuts and caramel deliciousness. Its decadence needs to be matched by the similar heavy hitter of the Baco Noir. The wine’s earthy medium body and caramel nose complements as many bite-size Snickers as you can get your hands on.   


beckham estate vineyardCandy: Three Musketeers
Wine: Beckham Estate Vineyard’s Pinot Noir 2012
Balance the fluffy nougat filling with something a bit more grounding. Enter, Beckham Estate Vineyard’s Pinot Noir. The straight forward Three Musketeers doesn’t interfere with the nuances of Pinot’s subtly rustic flavors.


blakeslee vineyardCandy: Twix
Wine: Blakeslee Vineyard Estate’s 2012 Chardonnay
From aging in French oak, this wine carries toasty caramel and vanilla bean notes, which creates a harmony with the silky caramel of Twix.  


montinore estateCandy: Starburst
Wine: Montinore Estate’s 2012 Reserve Gewürztraminer
Sometimes, sweets go with more sweets. Such is the case here. The Gewürztraminer delivers bouncy notes of honey, Mandarin orange and rose petal…if only Starburst came in these flavors, too!


sakeCandy: Kit-Kats
Wine: SakéOne’s G Joy Genshu saké
Kit Kat’s are wildly popular in Japan, which inspired us to pair the candy with saké instead of wine. The wafer-like texture of the candy is balanced by the rich punches of this premium saké.


Now, tell us your favorite candy and we’ll find a wine to pair with it!