What’s the Word?In Washington County, Oregon

Posts Tagged ‘Sherwood’

Plan Your Wedding in Oregon’s Wine Country

Posted on: February 13th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Valentine’s Day is a big deal, beyond just the roses and chocolate. Nearly a quarter of a million couples get engaged on Valentine’s Day. Couples from near and far choose Oregon’s Washington County: The Tualatin Valley as their place to say “I do.” And for good reason with gorgeous views, special venues, and all the accoutrement for the best day of your life.

Kick-off wedding planning with the Grand Lodge Wedding Open House (March 7, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., free). Here, couples can envision their upcoming nuptials, from primping at the Ruby Spa, toasting at the Doctor’s Office Bar, and concocting signature cocktails options. For a glimpse into the magic: watch the video below:

McMenamins Grand Lodge Weddings from Candy Glass Productions on Vimeo.

Rustic Charm
We love the creative spirit of our brides, which shines through in their choice of venues: rustic beauty whimsically intertwines with modern style. Such is the case with historic downtown Sherwood’s Bella Via, as well as Hillsboro’s McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse & Imbrie Hall. The 1850s roadhouse includes an octagonal barn that is darn right magical when laced with twinkle lights.

Au Natural
For a joyous, boho wedding day, look no further than Horning’s Hideout. Exchange vows by the lake, along a tree-lined creek, or on a large outdoor stage with room for 700 of your closest friends. With 24 hour rentals, guests can celebrate into the night and to camp under the stars.

Vineyard Views
With great Pinot, Oregon’s Washington County ensures some of the best wedding bars. Wineries like A Blooming Hill Vineyard & Winery host intimate wedding parties and rehearsal dinners.

Hole-In-One
The Reserve Vineyards & Golf Club promises a picturesque black-tie affair. Lovebirds tie-the-knot on the wildflower-bordered patio. For the party, the clubhouse is like celebrating in an Oregon-style castle.

All in the Details
Nowadays, it seems like no wedding is complete without a photobooth, such as local vendor Cheesy Mugs, or an after-party food truck. Guests can chow down on the ever-popular bulgogi tacos of Koi Fusion PDX food truck. For a fun twist on Oregon wine, rent the Union Wine Company’s wine truck!

It was rustic all around at this celebration

A romantic, whimsical and outdoorsy wedding awaits, just minutes from Portland

Start planning your wedding! Get more resources on our Wedding Wonderland page–and figuring out room blocks for your guests with one of our stunning hotels!

And find more venues for your wedding, no matter your style: rustic charm, nature settings, golf courses, and vineyards and wineries.

World Wetlands Day

Posted on: February 2nd, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Happy World Wetlands Day! That’s right, the wetlands of the earth deserve a day dedicated to their greatness—and all the good they do for our environment. These nature preserves provide vast and meaningful benefits for not only the environment, but many cultures’ societal and economic concerns, as well. If managed sustainably, our wetlands will provide a bevy of betterment to future generations, including the following:

  • Purified water
  • Replenished water supplies
  • Fish (and rice in other parts of the world) that feed billions of animals and humans alike
  • Protection from both flooding and drought by coastlines

One of the best ways to support wetlands is simply to make a point of visiting them! Lucky for us, the Tualatin Valley is rich in beautiful wetlands. Fernhill Wetlands in Forest Grove, the Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve in Hillsboro and the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge in Sherwood all offer up the chance to get up-close-and-personal with year-round wildlife of waterfowl and migratory birds.

In tune with World Wetlands Day, Fernhill Wetlands re-opens its full breadth of trails, including 90 new acres of natural treatment wetlands. The new acreage includes 180 snags and root wads creating habitat for the hundreds of species of birds that flock to the area. The new berms and flow control structures soon will be overgrown by 750,000 native plants and 3.5 billion seeds that will grow into more diverse habitat for birds and wildlife. Visitors will be able to watch these wetlands grow and flourish year after year as these new additions enrich the habitat.

Photo of Fernhill Wetlands by Mary Lane Anderson

Photo of Fernhill Wetlands by Mary Lane Anderson


You’ll be delighted by the picturesque view of the Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve from its Wetlands Education Center, which includes a perfect viewing deck. Catch a glimpse of the bald eagle nest, which weighs in at a whopping 1,500 pounds!

 

Spot an Egret taking a morning dip!

At Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve, spot an Egret taking a morning dip!

The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge—just 10 miles from Portland—welcomes over 200 species of birds and 50 species of mammals into its habitat, creating a symphony of nature sounds!

 

Keep Oregon green: Volunteer efforts help keep parks, nature and open spaces green and clean.

A stunning sunset at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.


Read more:

Fernhill Wetlands
Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve
Winter Bird Watching in Oregon

Instagram for the Wetlands
If you visit Fernhill Wetlands or Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve before March 20, then be sure to take some pictures and enter them into our Winter Wonder Instagram Contest. When posting your Instagram, tag @oregonswashingtoncounty, along with the location and the #mytualatinvalley hashtag. You could win some serious local swag!

Taprooms and Growler-Fill Stations in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: January 14th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
A super sleek set-up of taps at Portland's new Wine & Growl in

A super sleek set-up of taps at Portland’s new Wine & Growl in

Beer connoisseurs are privy to the thought that draft beer is better than bottled beer. While we’re not knocking bottled beer, there is some science to explain the often superiority of beer from the tap versus the bottle:

  • Kegged beer requires less pasteurization because it’s kept cool throughout its storage. With fewer pasteurization ingredients meddling with a beer’s flavor, draft beer is more aromatic than its bottled counterparts. 
  • Much like wine and other spirits, beer is often negatively affected by light and oxidization. A keg keeps beer in a darker environment with less air, resulting in suds that tastes exactly as the brewmaster intended.
  • The spout of a tap or keg has better aerodynamics for pouring that delicious, carefully rationed foam.

Now that we’ve sold you on the merits of beer from the tap, it’s time to plan a beer getaway! Explore the ever-growing list of taprooms and growler-fill stations in the Tualatin Valley. Oregon’s beer crowd is enthusiastically trying locally crafted beers—straight from the tap! Here’s a sampling of some of our favorite places for a pint or growler-fill:

Garden Home Growlers- The beer and cider options rotate on a weekly basis. So, there’s always something new to try.

Growler House- This cozy spot is dedicated to bringing a welcoming watering hole that fits in with the surrounding, adorable small-town vibe.

McNally’s Taproom- It’s Oktoberfest year-round at this German-inspired beer hall, complete with pretzels and frankfurters.

NW Growlers- This taproom stays true to its name with 30 taps of beer from, you guessed it, the great Northwest.

Orenco Taphouse- With easy access via the Orenco MAX station, you can try beer, cider and even wine from one of the 20 rotating taps.

Tapphoria- Experience beer bliss with a tap lineup that will make any beer-lover proud.

The Growlerie- With communal tables and a friendly vibe, grab a tasting flight after a movie at the nearby Cinetopia Theater.

Wine & Growl- A sleek mid-century modern lounge serves up today’s best brews.

Make this bar crawl even better by booking a Brewery Hotel Package!

Five Places to Buy Beautiful Ornaments

Posted on: December 8th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Choose from thousands of ornaments at Sleighbells Gift Shop in Sherwood.

Choose from thousands of ornaments at Sleighbells Gift Shop in Sherwood.

What are your most cherished holiday ornaments? Whether they’re pristine crystal or made with dried macaroni and glue, many ornaments hold a special story. Add to your ornament collection—or to the collection of someone you love—at one of our holiday stores or festivals. The ornament will not only add to your home’s festive cheer, but also be a lovely reminder of your trip to the Tualatin Valley for years to come. 

1. Art on Broadway Holiday Boutique
Nestled in historic downtown Beaverton, pop into this holiday sale for handmade ornaments with a sophisticated twist. To create a luxurious gift, wrap the delicate ornament in a velvet throw or silk scarf—also available at Art on Broadway! The holiday sale is open through December 27; closed Christmas Day and the day following.

2. Live Laugh Love Glass
This glass blowing studio has multiple ornament workshops where you can create your own classic holiday or snowman ornament. As a little present to you, the studio is even offering a half-off Groupon deal on ornament classes. For those who prefer to only be around solid glass, you can simply purchase artist-made ornaments from Live Laugh Love Glass’ location at Washington Square—pick up a few for the tree while you’re shopping for all your other (tax-free!) presents.

3. Miki’s Christmas Shop
Find European-styled ornaments at this Old-World holiday shop located in the tasting room at Shafer Vineyard Cellars. In addition to ornaments, you can revel in the shops nutcracker and pyramid collections. Of course, a little wine tasting will add some extra Christmas cheer, as well.

4. Sequoia Gallery All Member Show & Sale
For a truly spectacular sight, check out this show’s annual Holiday Ornament Tree, which sparkles with handmade ornaments of all kinds: glass, wood, miniature painted canvases and more. Pick your favorite from the tree and then add it to your own at home. The holiday sale runs through the end of January; gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm.

5. Sleighbells

Drive through the breathtaking holiday tree farm until a large-scale nutcracker welcomes you to the farm’s year-round holiday shop. With thousands of ornaments to choose from, you can find an ornament to best fit your passions.

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

Holiday Events in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: December 3rd, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Happy ho-ho-holidays! December is a prime time for travel, ranging from family getaways to visiting friends and family. Whatever brings you to the greater Portland region this winter, you’ll find that holidays are especially warm-and-fuzzy when celebrating with Oregonians! Beyond the holiday tree lightings and tax-free shopping events in the Tualatin Valley, we’ve rounded up a gaggle of other festive outings.

beaverton holiday decorations

All I Want for Christmas: Toy and Dolls We Remember
Runs through January 3| Washington County Museum | 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.| $4-$6
Remember when all you wanted for Christmas was a dolly? This museum exhibit showcases iconic dolls through the years, from Scarlett O’Hara to Barbie.

Helvetia Christmas Festival
December 5-December 14| Helvetia Christmas Tree Farm | 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. | free
Celebrate the holidays like they did in the good ol’ days with a warm drink to hold while you wait for your marshmallow to roast over the fire. The holiday tree farm’s gift shop smells of more than evergreens, but homemade lavender gifts, too!

Annual Holiday Market at Cornelius Pass Roadhouse
December 7 | McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse | noon to 5 p.m. | free
Wander the perimeter of the charming octagonal barn while sipping mulled wine and you’ll feel as festive as all get-out. Then up the ante even with holiday treats, décor and presents. Look out for the Dickens Carolers in Victorian garb!

Breakfast with Santa at Cornelius Pass Roadhouse
December 13-14 | McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse | 8 a.m. & 10 a.m. | $13-$18
Who wants to have breakfast with Santa? That’s just what the kids can do at this relaxing event, sharing a hot and toasty meal with the big guy in the red hat.

Storytime with Mrs. Claus
December 13 | Al’s Garden Center in Sherwood | 10:30 a.m. | free
Mrs. Claus loves to read to the elves—so she’s taking storytime to kids in the Tualatin Valley next!

The Nutcracker Ballet
December 13-14 | Forest Grove High School | 1 p.m. & 6 p.m. | $8-$12
Ballet Forest Grove presents its annual production of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. Delight in the a classic story, magical sets and whimsical costumes.

Holidays on the Hill
December 13-14 | Plum Hill Vineyards | 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. | free
What’s the holiday season without a little wine? This tasting room transforms itself into a quaint holiday shop for the weekend.

Live Theater

A Christmas Survival Guide
December4-21 | Broadway Rose New Stage | 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. | $20-$35
A light-hearted revue takes playful jabs at holiday traditions and holiday stresses.

Miracle on 43rd Street: A 1940s Holiday Radio Massacre
December4-23 | Venetian Theatre & Bistro | 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. | $22-$32
The Christmas classic gets a seedy makeover, complete with a mob boss!

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas
December5-21 | HART Theatre | 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. | $11-$17
Be transported to the world of a bygone era, filled with the music and heart of the 1940s.

The Wines of Christmas
December 21 | Renaissance Wines | 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. | $20
Enjoy a tasting of local wine and food pairings while enjoying the merriment of a holiday-themed reading.

Choral & Orchestra Events

Live Nativity Scene and Musical Open House
December 4-6 | Tualatin Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints | 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. | free

ISing Noel: Christmas in France
December 5-7 | Bethel Congregational United Church | varying times | donations welcome

Hillsboro Community Youth Choir Winter Concert
December 10| Liberty High School | 4 p.m. | $2-$8

Spirit of Christmas: A Time for Joy
December 13 | Sherwood High School Performing Arts Center | 2:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. | $6

Oregon Mandolin Orchestra Annual Holiday Concert
December 19 | Walters Cultural Arts Center | 7:30 p.m. | $15-$20

Selections from Handel’s Messiah and Judas Maccabaeus
December 19 | St. Matthew Catholic Church | 7:30 p.m. | $25

That’s a whole lot of holiday cheer for you—and we didn’t even include everything! For a full listing of holiday events, check out our events and festivals page.

Five Best Peanut Butter Treats

Posted on: November 12th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey 2 Comments
Find the best peanut butter treats in the greater Portland region.

Find the best peanut butter treats in the greater Portland region.

Important question: crunchy or creamy peanut butter? It’s a polarizing question, we know. Whatever side of the peanut butter debate you fall under, you can satisfy your peanut butter cravings—and celebrate National Peanut Butter Month!—right here in the Tualatin Valley. We’ve rounded up five spots that are just as nutty about peanut butter as we are.

1. Peanut Butter Cream Cone from Moonstruck Chocolate Co.
Portland’s premier chocolatier is not messing around when it comes to its peanut butter cream cone, which weighs in at an impressive 8.64 ounces, filled to the brim with peanut French butter cream.
Moonstruck Chocolate Co.: 11705 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, Beaverton; Monday-Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

2. Peanut Butter Cupcake from Sweet Story Bakery
We’re partial to the peanut butter cupcake in all its decadent glory, but you can’t go wrong with any of the peanut butter desserts at this cute shop. Adorable peanut butter cake pops show great restraint, while the heavy-duty peanut butter bars could almost qualify as a meal.  
Sweet Story Bakery: 16227 SW 1st Street, Sherwood; Tuesday-Friday from 9 am. To 7 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

3. African Peanut Stew from the Native Foods Café at Bridgeport Village
Peanut butter can be used as a key ingredient of a main course. Enter the healthy, nourishing and oh so savory African peanut stew. Though if you have room for dessert, go ahead and order the peanut butter parfait—its layers of whipped peanut butter and banana bread crumbs are irresistible.
Native Foods: 7237 SW Bridgeport Road, Tigard; Daily 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

4. Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake at the Hillsboro Pharmacy
This old-school soda fountain has been making milkshakes for over a century! So, they really, really know what they’re doing and it shows in the thick and perfectly sweet chocolate peanut butter shakes.
Hillsboro Pharmacy: 243 E. Main Street, Hillsboro; Monday-Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

5. Red Wine Truffles from…us!
Instead of a PB&J, we go for a PB&P. That is peanut butter and Pinot, of course! Try our easy recipe for red wine truffles, made with peanut butter chips and David Hill Vineyard’s Pinot.

Now try all five options and report back with your favorite!

Thanksgiving Weekend Events

Posted on: November 3rd, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Over Thanksgiving weekend, pick up knitting supplies and meet new friends at the Alpaca Open Barn & Holiday Sale.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, pick up knitting supplies and meet new friends at the Alpaca Open Barn & Holiday Sale.

The Tualatin Valley is happily flooded with new faces, visiting family and friends over the holiday weekend. Every year, we are so grateful to share the start of the holiday season with locals and guests from all over the country. With so much hubbub on actual Thanksgiving, plan ahead for the relaxing days after the big feast. To start, check out our seven things to do in the Tualatin Valley this Thanksgiving. And see below for even more Thanksgiving weekend events:

Races

Give & Gobble Thanksgiving Run/Walk
November 27 | 9 a.m. start | Sherwood High School | $15-$70
After you gobble, it’s time to wobble across the finish line. Choose from run and walk options, completing a 5k or 10k options.

Jump Start Christmas Celebrations

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas
November 28-November 30 | 7:30 p.m. | HART Theatre | $11-$17
This musical is full of Americana charm as a duo of beautiful singing sisters travels to a Vermont lodge—owned by their former army commander—on Christmas.

A Christmas Survival Guide
November 28-November 30 | 7:30 p.m. | Broadway Rose New Stage | $20-$35
Shed the bahumbugs for a few laughs with this light-hearted review of that teases holiday traditions.

Miracle on 43rd Street: a 1940s Holiday Radio Massacre
November 28-November 30 | 7:30 p.m. | Venetian Theatre & Bistro | $22-$32
This classic radio broadcast gets a gritty do-over as a Mafia mobster gets in a tangle with a New York detective.  

Forest Grove Holiday Tree Lighting
November 28 | 6 p.m. | Forest Grove Chamber of Commerce | free
Fa-la-la-la-fall is almost over, but a visit from Santa makes the incoming winter less dreary. Your face will  light up just as the holiday tree does at this annual tradition

Hillsboro Holly Days & Marketplace
November 29 | 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. | Hillsboro Civic Center Plaza | free
Feel holly and jolly with a tree lighting, live music, a visit from Santa and even an indoor playground!

Art and Gift Shows

Student & Alumni Holiday Art Sale
November 28-November 30 | 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. | OCAC | $10 suggested donation
The Oregon College of Art and Craft welcomes 70 of its current students and alumni to share and sell work inspired by the Pacific Northwest.

Helvetia Christmas Festival
November 28-November 30 | 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Helvetia Christmas Tree Farm | free
Beyond the delicious smell of holiday trees, the scent of homemade lavender gifts delights the scenses…as does the marshmallow roasting station.

Alpaca Open Barn & Holiday Sale
November 28-November 29 | 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Alpacas of Oregon | free
Meet some fuzzy friends before heading into the gift shop for all your winter knitting needs.

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

Nature Passport: Magness Memorial Tree Farm

Posted on: October 27th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

 

Enter an enchanted world at Magness Memorial Tree Farm, which is just minutes away from Portland.

Enter an enchanted world at Magness Memorial Tree Farm, which is just minutes away from Portland.

The Nature Passport is a treasure trove of Tualatin Valley’s nature hot spots, leading outdoor enthusiasts to the locations that look like they came straight out of a fairytale. For example, Magness Memorial Tree Farm is nestled in the woods via a tranquil nature walk that will lead you to the rustic log cabins that—if you have the right imagination—seem like they might belong to Hansel and Gretel (don’t worry, no witches here!).

Just 23 miles south of Portland, it’s easy to escape city life in favor of something a bit more earthy. Try and spot the more than 30 different species of trees. At the very least, it won’t be hard to identify the Giant Sequoia and Douglas Firs linking the 2.5 miles of hiking paths, as well as the flying squirrels jetting between them. For a little more help, take the free guided tour that is offered every Sunday at 2 p.m. Ask your guide to point out some stinging nettle, which is edible and taste like spinach!

On a dry day, Magness Memorial Tree Farm offers choice options for a picnic. Whether you’re going for a blown-out meal or simply an along-the-way snack, stop in downtown Sherwood on your way to your woodsy adventure. Symposium Coffee will give early-risers a jolt with a Stumptown coffee buzz and Sweet Story Bakery will provide a sugar rush to match.

Watch this segment from Grant’s Getaways explore the Magness Memorial Tree Farm:

Magness Memorial Tree Farm
Location: 31195 SW Ladd Hill Road, Sherwood, OR 97140
Phone: (503) 625-7471
Hours: Daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. September-May; Daily 9 .a. – 7 p.m. Memorial Day to Labor Day

With so much eye candy around you, don’t forget to pack that camera. Whether it’s capturing a deer having breakfast in the morning light, the breathtaking view of the Coast Range or an artful stargazing time-lapse, share the best pictures from your visit with us via the Focus on Autumn Nature Photo Contest. Who knows? Your picture could win you a prize package of pro-photography loot worth $2,500!

Past Nature Passport Blog Posts:
Banks-Vernonia State Trail
Cook Park
Cooper Mountain Nature Park
Fernhill Wetlands
Jackson Bottom Wetlands Loop
L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park

Order your Nature Passport and share your pictures with us on Twitter and Instagram. Tag your photos with #WaCoNature and the #tualatinvalley.

Focus on Autumn with Fall Harvest

Posted on: October 15th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

To focus on autumn means to focus on Oregon’s bounty. Focus on the gentle breeze whistling between the Tualatin Valley’s apple trees. Focus on the bright flavor of a just-picked pear. Focus on the gleeful expression of a child finding that perfect pumpkin in the patch. Focus on the sun setting in the hazelnut orchard. And don’t just focus on these precious moments—take a picture of it for the Focus on Autumn Nature Photo Contest!

 

A filbert farm sunset along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route. Photo by Karl Samson.

A filbert farm sunset along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route. Photo by Karl Samson.

The Focus on Autumn Nature Photo Contest is our way of celebrating all the ways people experience autumn in the Tualatin Valley. In addition to capturing beautiful moments, photographers are also encouraged to enter their photos for a chance at the prize package that is worth $2,500! With a first, second and third place prize (as well as an honorable mention), you could win premium and professional photography gear like a Canon EOS 70D DSLR camera and amazing editing software.

So, hang your camera strap around your neck and be ready to snap the magical moments you catch at our farms and markets, as well as on the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route. In case you want a creative sparkplug, we’ve included a few photography ideas below:

From Halloween jack-o-lanterns to Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, pumpkins are a big deal in the Tualatin Valley. Our pumpkin patches are a photographer’s dream with punchy-orange gourds resting below the mountain-scape views and barrels of hay.

The ever-photogenic poinsettias will be waiting to be photographed at the Evening of Lights (November 6 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Al’s Garden Center in Sherwood; free). Here, stroll through designer-decorated holiday trees and freshly grown poinsettias as one way to usher in the upcoming holidays.

Photo contest procrastinators can rally at the Thanksgiving Wine Weekend (November 28-November 30; varying times, locations and tasting fees). Tour some of Oregon’s best wineries for stellar wines, as well as beautiful photo-ops. Just don’t forget to submit your photos by November 30.

 

A winery along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route in fall. Photo by Wayne Flynn.

A winery along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route in fall. Photo by Wayne Flynn.

Find even more Tualatin Valley photography examples and inspiration!

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

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:

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