I just returned from one of my favorite places in the world…Willamette Valley, Oregon, stopping into gorgeous wineries set in the lush, vineyard filled hills of Dundee, Newberg, Carlton and the Chehalem Mountains. For the past 10 years I have been traveling to the area, as it just outside Gary’s hometown of Portland. The beauty of Willamette, and one of the main reasons I love it so much, is that though they are producing what some (especially Oregonians) would call the best Pinot Noir in the country, they have a casual, comfortable and certainly relaxed attitude creating an easy atmosphere with tasting rooms opening up to the vineyards, highlighting the beauty of the area. I am in love with Willamette, the wineries, the gracious people and, of course, the stunning wine.
I took a few girls who hadn’t visited the area this time, having a chance to stay on the gorgeous property of Stoller Family Estate and visiting both a few favorites and some new wineries including Stoller, Soter, Alexana (the beautiful sister winery to Napa favorite Revana owned by Texas cardiologist, Dr. Revana), Colene Clemens and a red carpet lunch at Adelsheim with my friends Katherine Stalmann and Catherine Douglas of Adelsheim.
Verasion is starting in the vineyards. Walking through Pinot and Chardonnay vines, seeing green grapes change to deep purple within just a few days is an amazing wonder of nature, and one that magically happens every year about this time.
The weather was perfect, enjoying 75-80 degree days filled with sunshine, always a plus for Oregon which is better known for their rain. Harvest looks to be plentiful and on track…unlike last year, one of the latest harvest in history, making this year somewhat tedious as aging wine is still in barrels that will need to be used by newly harvested grapes shortly. But, as every winemaker across the country and across the world knows, nothing is ever easy when it comes to making wine…but the pay off is well worth it. Lucky for us, we get to appreciate the fruits of their labor (literally.)
Cheers to the beauty of Willamette and all of those that made this past weekend so special. Thank you!