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Archive for the ‘Wine Country Attractions’ Category

Recently I accompanied some friends on their search for the perfect wine country wedding location. Since my friends now live on the east coast and I never pass up an oportunity to explore the Dundee hills, I played tour guide for the day and visited several wineries and bed & breakfasts with them. We saw many spectacular locations that day, but none compared to the Black Walnut Inn.

As we drove up the winding driveway, suddenly the trees opened up, the view unfolded before us, and an Italian style sprawling villa at the top of the hill appeared. Our jaws dropped, gasps sucked the air out of the car, and we stopped a moment to let the mirage sink in. It was as if we had just been transported to Europe! We parked our car and walked through the massive arched gate (so massive there are guest rooms built into it) and entered a cobblestone courtyard crowned with a bubbling fountain in the center. To our right, literally endless views of the Dundee countryside, valley below, and Cascade mountains in the distance. In front of us, the stuccoed main building topped with a tower and red tile roof.

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The interior of the inn was just as stunning yet comfortable and inviting. Traditional furnishings in the living room center around a roaring fire, framed by French doors looking out at the view. Each of the nine guest suites are well-appointed with luxurious linens, soaking tubs, and king or queen size beds, and most offer private patios or sitting areas.

The Black Walnut Inn’s central location is convenient to all that Oregon wine country has to offer. However, if you just want to relax on the property instead, the inn also has its own wine label to enjoy! For more information, visit their website at http://www.blackwalnut-inn.com/

P.S. In the end my friends went with a different venue for their wedding because their guest list was too large, but I’m hoping to stay at the inn during their wedding anyway 🙂

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Get your calendar ready because August is packed with Oregon wine events all over the Willamette Valley. In the wake of the epic International Pinot Noir Celebration that took place last weekend in McMinnville, those who attended have had a week-long break and should be ready to dust off their Sunday-best for another month full of wine & food. The rest of us who didn’t attend are admittedly jealous, and will finally quench our thirst at these upcoming gatherings. Plus, let’s face it, summertime in Oregon doesn’t last much longer so we better get outside and enjoy it! Here’s just a few of the celebrations and festivals happening this August to get your wine fix:

  • The Bite of Oregon
    When: August 6th – 8th
    Where: Waterfront Park – Downtown Portland
    Ticket Price: $10 weekend pass, $8 one-day pass, $3 early bird special (no food or beverage included)
    Participating Wineries: Acrobat by King Estate, Airlie Winery, Arcane Cellars, Bridgeview Vineyards & Winery, Capitello Wines, Chateau Bianca, Cliff Creek, David Hill Winery, Duck Pond Cellars, Erath Winery, Foris Vineyards, Girardet Wine Cellars and Vineyard, Helvetia Winery, Henry Estate Winery, Hillcrest Vineyard, Hinman Vinyeards, Hip Chicks Do Wine, Kings Ridge Wines, Maysara Winery, Namaste Vineyards, Palotai Wines, Rizzo Winery, Sake One, Seufert Winery, Spangler Vineyards, Viridian Wines, Willamette Valley Vineyards, Wines By Joe, Zebra Cellars
    Food & Other Vendors: There are over 120 menu items to choose from provided by several (too many to list) restaurants, food carts, and chefs, as well as beer from 14 different local breweries. Live entertainment will also be provided on 5 different stages throughout the festival.
  • Discover McMinnville AVA
    When: Saturday, August 14th, 10am – 2pm
    Where:
    Maysara Winery – McMinnville, OR
    Ticket Price:
    $25 pre-purchase online or $35 at the door (includes AVA Tasting, Appetizers & Etched Tasting Glass) 
    Participating Wineries:
    Amity Vineyards, Brittan Vineyards, Coeur de Terre Vineyard, Coleman Vineyard, Dobbes Family Estate, EIEIO, Kelley Fox Wines, Maysara Winery, Noble Pig, Seufert Winery, Yamhill Valley Vineyards and Youngberg Hill Vineyards 
    Food & Other Vendors:
    SubTerra Restaurant, Willamette Valley Cheese Company, Honest Chocolates, Red Fox Bakery, Red Ridge Farms and Joel Palmer House Oregon Truffle Oil
  • Best of Oregon Food & Wine Festival
    When: Saturday, August 14th, 5pm – 9pm
    Where: The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club – Aloha, OR
    Ticket Price: $30 pre-sale or $35 at the door (includes wine and food tasting). A portion of the proceeds will benefit Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Foundation
    Participating Wineries: Adea, Anam Cara Cellars, Angel Vine Winery, ArborBrook Vineyards, Archery Summit, Ardiri Winery, Artisanal Wine Cellars, Bergstrom Winery, Brooks Winery, Dobbes Family Estate/Wine By Joe, Duck Pond Cellars, Dukes Family Vineyards, EdenVale Winery, Grochau Cellars, Hawkins Cellars, Johan Vineyards, K&M Wines, Matello, Rizzo Winery, Seufert Winery, Solena & Grand Cru Estates, Trisaetum Winery Twelve Winery, VX Vineyards, WillaKenzie Estate, Willamette Valley Vineyards, Woodridge Creek Vineyards, Youngberg Hill, Z’IVO Wines

    Food & Other Vendors: 50 Plates Restaurant, Aquariva Restaurant, Bamboo Sushi, Bethany’s Table, Chonga’s Salsa, Elements Tapas Bar & Lounge, Fanucchi Oils, Koi Fusion, Maialino Bacon, Phresh Organic Catering, Portland Truffle, Red Star Tavern, Silk Restaurant, Sweet Masterpiece Chocolates, Thirst Wine Bar & Bistro, Trébol, Vintage Room at the Reserve, Volcanic Minerals
  • Cubanisimo Vineyards Salsa Lessons
    When: Saturday, August 21st, 5pm
    Where:
    Cubanisimo Vineyards Tasting Room – Salem, OR
    Ticket Price: $15 per person (includes lesson and tasting or glass of wine)
    Notes: I went to this last year and it was a lot of fun! The wine tasting before the lesson helps to loosen up your dancing legs. This is a monthly event with dates throughout the year.
  • Shakespeare at Stoller Vineyards
    When: August 20th – 22nd, 7pm Fri, 7pm Sat, 6pm Sun.
    Where: Stoller Vineyards – Dayton, OR
    Ticket Price: Free, food & wine available for sale, feel free to bring your own food but no outside alcohol
    Notes: Pre-show activities one hour prior, other August performance dates at Reed College in Portland and The Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg, OR
  • Yamhill-Carlton AVA Brings the Valley to Portland
    When:
    Monday, August 30th, 5pm – 8pm
    Where: Gerding Theater – Pearl District, Downtown Portland
    Price: $25 pre-sale or $35 at the door
    Participating Wineries:
    Adea, Alexana Estate Vineyard & Winery, Anne Amie, Atticus Wine, Belle Pente, Biggio Hamina Cellars, Carlton Cellars, Carlton Hill Vineyard, EIEIO & Company, Elk Cove Vineyards, Ghost Hill Cellars, Ken Wright Cellars, Kramer Vineyards, Lemelson Vineyards, Lenne’ Estate, Lunimous Hills/Seven of Hearts, Merriman Wines, Panther Creek Cellars, Penner-Ash Wine Cellars, Roots, Solena & Gran Cru Estates, Soter Vineyards, Stag Hollow, Twelve, Wahle Vineyards & Cellars, WillaKenzie Estate Winery
    Food: La Rambla, Joel Palmer House, Nick’s, more TBA

I’m sure there are many more wine & food events throughout Oregon this August so please feel free to add a comment below to include any I have missed!

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Stoller Vineyard in Dayton, OR just outside of Dundee has been one of my favorite places to visit for a while now. Not only are their wines delicious and the views spectacular, the people who work at Stoller are friendly, inviting, and always remember my name. Maybe that’s because I go there too much 🙂

Their steel barrel JV Chardonnay is bright and fruity without being too sweet or dry, the oak barrel SV Chardonnay is just the right amount of buttery smoothness without being overwhelming, the Rose of Pinot Noir is perfect for summer with sweet strawberry undertones and a hint of dryness to balance it out, and of course their JV and SV Pinot Noirs are spectacular.

These are some pictures from my last visit to Stoller on a beautiful Sunday. We hit the farmers market beforehand and had a picnic! Couldn’t think of a better way to spend a sunny day than with good friends, good food, good wine, and amazing scenery. I can’t wait to go back!

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Took some pictures last night at my partner Chris‘ class reunion at Willamette Valley Vineyard. The clouds burned off and it was perfect weather for a fun evening! WVV’s Rose and Reisling are a little too sweet for my taste (Chris liked these) but I enjoyed their Chardonnay and of course their Pinot Noir.

Of course I couldn’t leave without taking at least one Hipstamatic picture. Best iPhone app ever!

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