What’s the Word?In Washington County, Oregon

Posts Tagged ‘Oregon wine’

Amphorae Project at Beckham Estate

Posted on: September 29th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Andrew Beckham explaining his handmade amphorae and the wine he ferments inside of it.

Andrew Beckham explaining amphorae and the wine he ferments inside of it.

For many of the best winemakers, their winemaking began as a passion project. For Andrew Beckham of Beckham Estate Vineyard, his process is actually a combination of two passions: wine and ceramics via handmade terracotta amphorae (i.e. vessels) that are used to ferment the estate grown wine.

The ceramics came first. As a potter and full-time high school ceramics teacher, Andrew is a bona fide clay expert. His intricate and artful vases (sold in the winery’s tasting room) are stunning and he relishes the experience of creating a level-playing field between students of all different walks of life in his ceramics classroom.

The wine…that actually came later. When Andrew and his wife Annedria moved to their hillside home in Sherwood, they quickly became friends with their neighbors of La Bonne Terre Vineyard, whom eventually supplied the first clones for their own vineyard. As the Beckham’s family grew, so did the vineyard. One fateful day, Annedria showed Andrew an article about winemaking in amphorae, which is defined as a tall Greek or Roman jar with two handles and a narrow neck that dates back to as early as 10,000 B.C.

Annedria and Andrew both knew that an evolution toward their own amphorae project was inevitable—excitingly so! Just a short walk from the charming Beckham Estate tasting room stands the Beckham Estate studio. Here, Andrew creates the impressive amphorae, which are tall and weigh a few hundred pounds more than most fully-grown adults. While Andrew instructs his high school students on how to create hollows in their ceramic pieces with their thumbs, Andrew uses his full arm to create the deep belly of each amphorae, using a coiling method to build each vessel’s height.  

Here’s an important note: the amphorae isn’t just neat. It also creates great wine. Under the A.D. Beckham label, Beckham Estate Vineyard’s 2013 vintage included about 280 liters of amphorae-fermented Pinot Noir and an orange-style Pinot Gris.

We know, we’ve only scratched the surface of this fascinating project. Luckily, you can learn more about Beckham Estate Vineyard’s amphorae process here:

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First Fall Events

Posted on: September 22nd, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
The Oregon Heritage Applefest is known for its tasty caramel apples.

The Oregon Heritage Applefest is known for its tasty caramel apples.

Don’t lie. Are you one of those people who wills autumn to happen? Perhaps you’ve been ordering pumpkin spice lattes since the kids headed back to school. Or maybe you’re guilty of wrapping an wool infinity scarf around your neck and slipping on some new, killer leather boots…despite a gleefully sunny day. Well friends, the wait is over. Fall is officially here with the autumnal equinox. So order that pumpkin spice latte, put on that snuggly scarf and head to one these early autumn events in the Tualatin Valley.

Wine

Crush Party at Montinore Estate
September 27 | noon to 4 p.m. | Montinore Estate | free entry
Oregon winemakers can’t help but celebrate harvest season! Come try your hand—er foot—at the grape-stomping competition.

North Willamette Harvest Trail
October 4 & 11| 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. | varying wineries | $95
A guided bus tours three wineries and a saké brewery for tastings, nibbles, and harvest activities. Use code “HarvestFriend” for $5 off each ticket.

Pacific Northwest Geological Wine Tour
October 12| 9:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. | The Grand Hotel at Bridgeport | $225-250
Oregon wine rocks…literally. Learn about the geology of the Tualatin Valley and why our soil creates such stellar wine.

Sports
12th Annual Harvest Century Bike Ride
September 28 | 7:30  a.m. to 2:30 p.m. | starts at Hillsboro Civic Center | $50-$65
Celebrate a glorious fall with a 3-mile, 45-mile, 75-mile or 100-mile bike ride along the scenic roads of the Tualatin Valley.

5k Zombie Mud Run
October 5 | 7:30  a.m. to 2:30 p.m. | Lee Farms | $20-$60
With this early Halloween run, you can choose to be a zombie or a human. Either way, you’re going to need to run through 3.1 miles of tough ‘n muddy terrain!

Color Vibe 5k
October 18 | 9 a.m. start| Washington County Fair Complex | $40-$55
In this case, fall colors are neon. Run through a Technicolor haze on this happy-go-lucky course.  

Fall Festivals

Fall Colors Paddle
October 4 | 7:30  a.m. to 2:30 p.m. | Browns Ferry Park | $10-$50
Discover the beauty and serenity of fall from a different perspective as you paddle the slow and meandering Tualatin River.

28th Annual Great Onion Festival
October 11 | 9  a.m. to 4 p.m. | Archer Glen Elementary | free
This fall festival is the best excuse for bad breath. If you think you’ve got a great recipe, enter it into the “Best Dang Onion Dish” contest.

Birds & Brew Festival
October 11 | 8  a.m. to 2 p.m. | Fernhill Wetlands | free
Birdwatchers flock to this annual event of bird tours, documentaries and talks, especially with the hands-on nature exhibits.

Oregon Heritage Farm Applefest
October 11 | 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Oregon Heritage Farms | free
It’s everything apples, plus a little bit more. This down-home day is complete with country music and hay rides.

Don’t forget to check our events calendar for even more fall happenings!

North WIllamette Harvest Trail

Posted on: September 12th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Summer has been good to the Tualatin Valley, which means that fall—and the wine harvest that comes with it—is going to be even better. Yes, wine lovers, the vines are looking supremely good right now. Watch the video below with R. J. Lint of Plum Hill Vineyards to learn more:

Don’t just reap the rewards of the upcoming harvest. Be a part of it, too, at the North Willamette Harvest Trail Weekend (October 4 and October 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; $95 per person). The day-long and hands-on wine tour from the North Willamette Vintners Association connects wine lovers and wine makers for a day of winemaking during the vineyard’s prime.

Let’s detail your vine-and-wine day. First, hop on a bus and meet your tour guide, who will be a winemaker, winery president, tasting room manager or wine glass supplier. It’s sufficed to say that a total wine pro will be on hand to answer your toughest questions. Next, travel to three different wineries, where you’ll experience the following:

  • Walk the vineyard to learn about farming methods
  • Work the freshly-picked fruit on a crush pad
  • Follow the science of wine with a close-up look at the testing equipment
  • Be lead through each step of the winemaking process
  • Watch rebarreling and bottling demonstrations
  • Enjoy wine and food pairings at each stop

As a bonus, the tour also includes a visit to SakéOne, the leading brewer of craft saké in America. The Tualatin Valley makes great wine because of our soil and climate. Similarly, the Tualatin Valley makes great saké because the east slope of our coast range creates amazing water quality that’s needed for premium sake.

After a day of wine tasting, make sure you have some place to unwind that night. Choose for our array of hotels. The Century Hotel even offers an Adventure in Wine Country Package, complete with two meals, wine and an artisan cheese plate.

Reserve your spot on the North Willamette Harvest Trail now! Get your tickets here. And be sure to use the discount code “HarvestFriend” for $5 off of each ticket.

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Ask a Local: Abbey Creek Vineyard & Winery’s Bertony Faustin

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

When it comes to vacation planning, nothing is more valuable than the local scoop. So, we turned to Bertony Faustin of Abbey Creek Vineyard. You can even catch Bertony riding the winding backcountry wine roads of the Tualatin Valley on Sunday evenings in his 2000 Ninja ZX12r.  Bertony Faustin brings confidence, style and fun to the wine tasting experience at Abbey Creek Vineyard. Get his local tips!

Bertony Faustin brings confidence, style and fun to the wine tasting experience at Abbey Creek Vineyard. Get his local tips!

At Abbey Creek, what do you love most about interacting with visitors?
With both the novice and more seasoned wine drinker, my goal is to make you feel that you’ve taken a new bit of knowledge with you. Whether it’s educating with a level of humility as to not seem pretentious, or just enough swag and confidence to enhance your current wine knowledge, especially since no one knows Abbey Creek wine better than me.

What will visitors find happening in Northern Willamette vineyards and wineries during the fall?
Every fall the North Willamette Vintners Association hosts a Harvest Trail that allows guests to have a hands-on experience of the vineyard, winery and crush pad. 

What’s your favorite part of harvest season?
Being done with harvest season. It gives you a great sense of accomplishment when you get to barrel down and breathe from all the wonderful controlled chaos that just occurred.

What’s one can’t-miss attraction for visitors to the area?
I’d have to say Horning’s Hideout!

Describe a perfect day in the Tualatin Valley.
When I have guests in town, I love using them as a perfect excuse to visit neighboring vineyards and wineries.

What’s a favorite “hidden gem” of the area?
The Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway.
 
Where do you go when you want some seriously good grub?
Go to the ABV Public House for the green chile burger

What should every visitor take home as a souvenir?
One or many bottles of Abbey Creek wine, of course.

Describe Oregon’s Washington County in 5 words or less.
Hmmm…There’s No place like home. Guess that was six :)

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
Cooper Mountain Vineyards’ Barbara Gross

What is biodynamic wine?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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End of Summer Events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is the Tualatin Valley?

Posted on: August 6th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Oregon's Washington County is the Tualatin Valley (and we're proud of it!).

Oregon’s Washington County is the Tualatin Valley (and we’re proud of it!).

What is the Tualatin Valley?

Geographically speaking, the Tualatin River runs through the Tualatin Valley with the Tualatin Mountains creating a north and east border for the region. In fact, the Tualatin Mountains are part of the  Northern Oregon Coast Range, which create that tickle of cool Coastal Range air that visitors love while enjoying the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway  and Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route. The Tualatin Valley is lucky enough to be a part of the Northern Willamette Valley and the northern part of the Chehalem Mountains, which makes for rich soil and diverse winemaking opportunities (which our winemakers fully embrace and celebrate). The Tualatin Valley encompasses the towns and cities of Aloha, Banks, Beaverton, Cornelius, Hillsboro, Sherwood, Tigard and Tualatin. Plainly put, the Tualatin Valley is Oregon’s Washington County.

Historically speaking, the Tualatin Valley is grounded by the Native Americans and Oregon Pioneers who first called this fertile land home. The regions namesake comes from the hunting-and-gathering Atfalati tribe of the Kalapuya Native Americans who lived in villages peppered throughout the valley.  The community is also known as Tualatin Native Americans. In the mid-19th Century, Oregon Pioneers came to the land and began calling it the “Twality Plains,” which had a similar mouth feel to the name of the Atfalati tribe. Over the years, Twality Plains has evolved into the name of the Tualatin Valley. Today, whether you hear the Twality Plains, Northern Willamette Valley or Oregon’s Washington County, know that all of these monikers are synonyms for the Tualatin Valley.

Poetically speaking, the Tualatin Valley is breathtaking greenery intersected by large stretches of vibrant farmland. It is the cool Coastal Range air creating soft, whispering breezes between the tombstones of Oregon Pioneers. It is the taste of juicy summer berries and the best Oregon Pinot wine. The Tualatin Valley is zip-lines through beautiful treetops and vineyard vines reaching their roots deep down into volcanic soil.

So, what is the Tualatin Valley? Quite simply, the Tualatin Valley is us. And we can’t wait to share the magic of all that is here with you.

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

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

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:

 

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.