Memorial Day weekend is one of the biggest wine-tasting weekends of the year in the Willamette Valley–every winery in the valley throws open its doors to celebrate the summer season ahead. Here are a few trip ideas to guide you on your tasting journey this Memorial Day:
1. Go somewhere new. Twenty-five years from now, do you want to be able to sip a glass of amazing Oregon Pinot noir, and say, “Did you know I was there at this winery’s first Memorial Day weekend celebration?” Sure you do! Make your future friends jealous and visit a brand-new winery:
2. See art in action. Get inspired this weekend when you visit a winery where the creative spirit of art intersects with the creative power of winemaking.
- Chapter 24 Vineyards, Dundee. Watch live art unfold before your eyes as renowned street artist Ashley Montague paints a mural over the course of the weekend.
- Beckham Estate Vineyard, Sherwood. Winemaker Andrew Beckham is also a potter; visit his ceramic studio onsite and taste wine stored in his old-world clay wine amphorae.
- Saffron Fields Vineyard, Yamhill. This winery is known for its collection of contemporary art and its gardens designed by noted Japanese garden designer, Hoichi Kurisu.
3. Celebrate old-world style. Visit a family-owned winery where the winemakers’ heritage flavors the culture and traditions. (Cubanismo, Johan, St. Josefs, Coelho)
- Cubanismo Vineyards, Salem. Owner Mauricio Collada is from Havana, Cuba; enjoy wine tasting, salsa dancing, live music, and Cuban food in honor of that heritage on Memorial Day weekend.
- Coelho Winery, Amity. The Coelho family honors its Portuguese heritage with Portuguese varietals and blends, alongside its Portugeuse-named Paciencia and Atracao Pinot noirs.
4. Enjoy a moveable tasting trip. Rent a bike, pack a picnic, and take a cycle trip in the Willamette Valley
- Take a foodie bike trip along the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway.
- Explore bicycle routes that begin and end in McMinnville, where you’ll find wineries and tasting rooms in town as wellas beautiful vineyards in the surrounding countryside.
- Take the Pedaling for Pinot cycle trip and explore the wineries of the South Willamette Valley.
5. Visit a pioneer. Did you know 2015 marks the 50th year since the first Pinot noir vines were planted in the Willamette Valley? Raise a glass to the early dreamers and pay a visit to early Oregon Pinot noir producers, still making great wine today.
- The Eyrie Vineyards, McMinnville
- Erath Winery, Dundee
- Maresh Red Barn Tasting Room, Dundee
- Sokol Blosser, Dayton
- Adelsheim Vineyard, Newberg
- Knudsen Vineyards, Dundee
6. Take an urban wine trail. Have a city-based wine experience when you tour the urban wine circuits of Eugene or McMinnville.
7. Go to the place no one’s heard of. Be that in-the-know friend who can recommend a fabulous bottle from a boutique winery. Some of Oregon’s smallest wineries are open only by appointment, or on special occasions, so Memorial Day Weekend is a great chance to have a personal tasting experience at a small-production winery.
- Lumos Tasting Room in Wren. Lumos Wines original tasting room in a barn on the family farm is only open to the public Memorial Day weekend or by appointment.
- Marks Ridge Winery. Marks Ridge is nestled in the Cascade foothills, with amazing views from their high-elevation site.
- Pfeiffer Vineyards. The exquisite small-lot wines made at Pfeiffer are available only through their wine club and tasting room and are not distributed to stores or restaurants. Visit their beautiful winery and gardens to taste them for yourself.
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