What’s the Word?In Washington County, Oregon

Posts Tagged ‘Wineries’

Sparkling Wine Trail

Posted on: December 27th, 2013 by Jackie Luskey 1 Comment
Uncork the holidays with some bubbly from our Sparkling Wine Route.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Route Less Traveled: Sip 47

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Just in Time for the Holidays: Red Wine Truffles

Posted on: November 27th, 2013 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Pinot Noir

Oregon Pinot Noir is what makes this recipe extra special.

Now that the holiday season is in full-throttle, you may find yourself elbows deep in tree trimmings, gift wrap, and baking. Holiday baking is one of the many great joys of wintertime, which is even more reason to keep it stress free. Our red wine and dark chocolate truffles with peanut butter drizzle are not only a cinch, but combine three fan-favorite foods.

Red Wine and Dark Chocolate Truffles with Peanut Butter

8 ounces semisweet chocolate
½ cup red wine (we did one batch with David Hill Vineyard & Winery’s Pinot Noir and another with Oak Knoll Winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon)
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup peanut butter chips

1. Chop chocolate into fine pieces and place in a heat-safe bowl
2. Heat red wine in a sauce pot until it begins to lightly boil
3. Pour wine over chocolate and let sit for one minute
4. Stir chocolate and wine until smooth
5. Add butter and stir until melted and fully incorporated
6. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 24 hours
7. Remove bowl from fridge and, using a melon baller, scoop chocolate out and form into a ball with hands
8. Roll truffle in small bowl of cocoa powder
9. Place onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper
10. Repeat until all chocolate has been used.

For peanut butter drizzle:
Melt peanut butter chips and drizzle over truffles with a small spoon

Place baking sheet of truffles in freezer for 24 hours before serving.

Find the perfect red wine for your truffles while on the Sip47 wine route!

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.

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Gold Leaves, Red Wine & Green Courses

Posted on: October 4th, 2013 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Try your swing on Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club's Ghost Creek Course.

Take a swing on Pumpkin Ridge Club’s Ghost Creek Course.

People always talk about how Oregon is so green. From vines lacing around Pinot grapes to emerald-hued golf courses, Oregon’s Washington County honors our true colors with a fall getaway itinerary for those that love tee time and wine hour.

The biggest distraction of the Quail Valley Golf Course is its striking coast range views. Don’t worry about your handicap because the 18-hole course embraces all levels, as you can see in the course guide.

The Tualatin Estate Vineyard’s tasting room is open for complimentary tastings noon to 5 p.m. For a leisurely visit, schedule the comprehensive tour for $20 per person (it’s worth it).

A gourd-ous day! Fuel up with cider and baked goods at Roloff Farms. Only open to the public during pumpkin season, the farm’s fall treats and pumpkin patch feel extra special. Picking pumpkins counts as stretching, right?

After picking pumpkins, play a course named after one. Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club welcomes visitors on its Ghost Creek course. The course is pristine green with a canopy of orange-leaved trees. Plan your swings with a course guide of the par-71 course.

Committed to a pumpkin-themed day? Drive to Sherwood’s Two Kilts Brewing Co. for a seasonal brew made from 500 pounds of fresh pumpkin. Before 5 p.m., find a closer wine hour at Helvetia Vineyards & Winery’s $5 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay tasting.

Stretch your definition of golf at the McMenamins Grand Lodge’s free disc golf course. It’s actually quite similar in design to traditional golf and savvy players prove the game requires great grace.

With the weekend almost over, let masseuses at Ruby Spa work the knots out of your shoulders with a Hammerhead Deep Tissue Massage. For good measure, drink a beer of the same name at Ironwork Grill.

We’ve barely scratched the surface of golf courses in Oregon’s Washington County. Pick-and-choose the right course for you with a comprehensive list of golf courses.

Everything mentioned above has easy access to the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route. Make this itinerary your own!

Harvest Splendor in Oregon’s Washington County

Posted on: September 4th, 2013 by Jackie Luskey 2 Comments
The Annual Corn Roast serves up over 4 tons of freshly picked, local corn!

The Annual Corn Roast serves up over 4 tons of freshly picked, local corn!

Harvest. It’s the time when we—quite literally—reap the rewards of a ripe season. Here in Oregon’s Washington County, the prime harvest months are among the best to visit because here harvest means so much. With an abundance of harvest events, see what harvest time means to us and to you.

49th Annual Corn Roast
Sunday, September 22, 2013 | 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. | Pacific University’s West Lawn of Marshall Hall

To see the immensity of one crop’s yield, the 49th Annual Corn Roast showcases heaps of fresh roasted corn picked that morning. Don’t worry, there will be more than enough. In years past, over four tons of locally grown corn has been consumed at this old-timey barbeque.

11th Annual Harvest Century Bike Ride
Sunday September 29, 2013 | 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. | Hillsboro Civic Center

We’ve been gorging on harvest like Dionysus haven’t we? Sweat it out while still enjoying the views of this bountiful season at the 11th Annual Harvest Century Bike Ride. Cyclists pedal a 3 mile, 45 mile, 75 mile, or 100 mile ride through autumn foliage. To keep the Dionysus in us all happy, there is a pit stop at Montinore Estate.

Ponzi Harvest Tour
Saturday October 5-6, 2013 | 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. tours | Ponzi Vineyards

No talk of harvest would we complete without talk of wine. To tour a state-of-the-art winery while it’s in the midst of its full production, sign up for the Ponzi Harvest Tour ($50 per person). Their international harvest crew can’t wait to show off their amazing four-level gravity-flow winemaking facility.

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Season Shift Sangria

Posted on: August 28th, 2013 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
With the twilight of summer and fall in the distance, our season shift sangria feels just right.

With the twilight of summer and fall in the distance, our season shift sangria feels just right.

Sangria is derived from the Latin word for “blood,” “sanguis” because of its deep garnet color. Breaking from its vampy namesake, Sangria has come to be synonymous with summer forays, twinkle-lit parties, and al fresco happy hours. While sangria was named after its brooding crimson color, its popping flavors are a suitable life-blood for any party. It is that very intersection between the rich, deep flavors of red wine and the crisp crunch of fresh fruit that makes sangria so irresistible.

In this way, sangria mimics the crossroads between summer and fall that we love so much in Oregon’s Washington County. A surefire way to linger on the last days of summer, while still honoring the emerging autumnal flavors is to pair our wines with the changing season’s best local produce. Apples and Pears from our farmers markets make the second part easy.

Sticking to sangria’s Spanish roots, we suggest picking up a bottle of Raptor Ridge Winery’s 2011 Spanish-style Tempranillo. This very drinkable red has fruity notes that will bounce off of—not clash against—the fruit in sangria pitcher. White wine more your style? Lighten up with Blooming Hill Vineyard & Winery’s 2011 Pinot Gris, which is has strong bursts of pear complimented by a licorice finish.

Season Shift Sangria


1 bottle Tempranillo (for red) or Pinot Gris (for white)
½ cup brandy
¼ cup superfine sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
1 apple, cored and cubed into 1 inch pieces
1 pear, cored and cubed into 1 inch pieces
2 cups sparkling water (for a little effervescence)
2 cinnamon sticks

Chill wine in fridge for at least 24 hours

Place fruit at bottom of pitcher

With a wooden spoon, lightly muddle fruit

Pour chilled wine into pitcher

Stir in brandy, lemon juice, and sparkling water

Stir in sugar

Place cinnamon sticks in pitcher

Chill in refrigerator for at least one hour before serving.


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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.

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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.”

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And This Little Piggy Went to Oregon’s Washington County

Posted on: August 2nd, 2013 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Go "Hog Wild" at Elk Cove's Memphis BBQ & rosé smackdown

Go “Hog Wild” at Elk Cove’s Memphis BBQ & rosé smackdown

Oregon’s Washington County is known for many things. Among them: complex wine, succulent produce and…pork? While we’re certainly not in hog country, our locals take great pride and great care in our food, which includes some stellar pig-themed dining events. For those that stay away from bacon and the like, there are still plenty of ways to eat your way through the region.

Coming up this weekend, Garden Vineyards presents its inaugural Wine, Swine, and Cherry Pie picnic (August 2-4, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.). Vineyard owner and winemaker, Stuart Wilson, will be slow-roasting a whole pig from his own Heritage Breed pigs.  In addition to picnic side dishes, the Garden Vineyard family will be serving wines and apple cider grown and produced on premise. End your feast with cherry pie made from Wilson’s own cherry orchard.

Truly, this meal is the embodiment of the slow foods movement. Come support it. Come enjoy it.

For something a little more messy, come around to Memphis goes Hog Wild in Oregon (August 17, 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; $75 per person). The barbeque extravaganza at Elk Cove Vineyards is where northwest cool meets southern charm. The result? Memphis barbeque finds a surprisingly perfect match in Oregon oysters and wines. Now when we say Memphis barbeque, we really mean it. Elk Cove’s winemaker Adam Campbell has recruited some of Memphis’ best barbeque masters for the event, including Felicia Willett of Memphis staple, Felicia Suzanne’s, as well as as Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman of Tennessee’s own Hog & Hominy.

We know a plate full of pork is not for everyone. A vegetarian-friendly visit to Duyck’s Peachy-Pig Farm (Hours: Monday, closed; Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sun. 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.) is a way to get in on the fun. No pigs other than in the name—just fresh summer u-pick blackberries, bell peppers, figs, and eggplant. As part of the Duyck’s Peachy-Pig Farm mission, the farm also includes a petting zoo of chickens, ducks, and goats. A venture to the farm lets kids and adults alike can learn more about where food comes from.

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