AN UPDATE FROM WINE COUNTRY ON COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS
We hope you’re staying safe and well during this time of uncertainty and quickly changing information regarding the COVID-19 virus. As of June 19th all Oregon counties have been able to reopen for in-person tastings on a limited basis.
See the Phase One and Phase Two information below for details and a list of reopened wineries by county.
Please be aware that our community has the health of our guests at heart, and our wineries and hospitality partners are taking a variety of measures in accordance with the Governor’s guidelines and our own agreed-upon best practices. Not every winery in a given county will reopen at the same time and in the same way. Check before planning a visit to confirm your specific destination’s policies.
For our friends farther away: if you find yourself getting stir-crazy in the house, remember that your favorite winery likely ships to your state and may even have a case shipping deal right now to brighten this dark time for wine lovers like you. Our #WVCommunity hub has offers and deals as well as recipes, playlists and more from Willamette Valley wine country. Check with the wineries you love, consider an online order, and know that your business is deeply appreciated as we weather this storm together.
From all of us in wine country, thank you for being a supporter of Willamette Valley wine. Each and every one of us looks forward to welcoming you back as soon as we can.
Welcome Back to Wine Country
Phases One and two
Beginning May 15th, depending on their county location, wineries and tasting rooms have begun to resume on-site tastings. Read more.
Beginning June 5th, many of the first counties to enter Phase One have been approved to enter Phase Two. Click here to review and read the latest Oregon Health Authority Update with more details here.
As of June 19th all Oregon counties have reopened for Phase One at minimum (Phase Two counties noted below).
The State of Oregon has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 related health data since March 18th and has rolled out a multi-phase plan to reopen various business sectors in Oregon. Read more about the State of Oregon COVID-19 response and reopening.
Members of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association are committed to slow and safe reopenings of their tasting rooms and appreciate your understanding and support.
This industry-led effort supports and encourages businesses to make specific commitments that showcase a true Valley-wide message of unity, care and excellence.
How do I know what wineries and tasting rooms are open?
Wineries and tasting rooms are slowly reopening by county. We are posting reopenings below as soon as winery announcements come in.
Should I make appointments?
During Phase One and Phase Two, many tasting rooms will be appointment-only. Because of the fluidity with this reopening phase, you will need to call or visit the websites of the tasting rooms you want to visit in advance to obtain current visitor information.
Do I need to wear a mask?
As of Wednesday, July 1, face coverings are required for employees and visitors/customers in all public indoor spaces in Oregon per the Governor’s order. Learn more here. Many tasting rooms can provide disposables. Always call to confirm.
How will social distancing be implemented?
Social distancing protocols at tastings rooms will be in place both inside and outside. You won’t see tasting bar seating, but do expect to see more tables separated by a minimum of six feet throughout tasting rooms, and more use of outdoor space.
Can I bring a group?
Associated groups for social distancing will be limited to 10 people. An associated group doesn’t have to be from the same household. You can create an associated group with friends or other people you are traveling with. Please note that many wineries will be limiting group size to fewer than 10 people so you need to confirm group limits with each winery.
How will service be different?
You can expect more pre-poured wine flights, limited wine bar service, and more seated tastings. What will not be different is the genuine hospitality that wine lovers have come to associate with the Willamette Valley.
What about restaurants?
Restaurants, by county, have been allowed to offer in-person dining since May 15th. Not all restaurants are opening at the same time, so again, call to confirm.
Can tasting rooms still serve food?
Please check with each tasting room ahead of visiting.
Will wineries accept cash?
Many wineries will be moving toward touch-less payment options. If you want to pay with cash we suggest you confirm ahead of time with the tasting rooms you plan to visit.
TO OUR VISITORS, on Behalf of our Tasting Rooms
We sincerely thank you for your support of our wines and our wine region.
We ask that you extend this support to our wineries who have chosen to delay their reopening, and trust that they can’t wait to welcome you—as soon as they can do so in a way that keeps their customers, employees and families safe.
We ask for understanding that in this time of ever-changing information and uncertainty, managing a hospitality business requires difficult decisions that might seem to err on the side of overcaution—because we have so much at stake.
To our valued customers who are based in counties that have not yet entered Phase One, we ask that you respect the OHA’s conclusion that your community is still at high risk—and that you stay home for now, to avoid bringing this elevated risk to our less affected counties.
To our valued guests who hope to travel to the Willamette Valley from other states, we ask that you wait until non-essential travel is declared safe throughout all Oregon counties—trusting that we look forward to welcoming you when responsible tourism is once again possible.
We ask for patience for our tasting room employees as they navigate an unprecedented learning curve. We ask for cooperation from you, and your understanding that every business is different and rules may vary depending on layout and environment. We promise to set expectations as clearly as possible—and we hope you will do the same by reaching out to us in advance of your visit to go over your plans.
We know there’s no wine country without our visitors, and we want to keep you safe. Empathy is the greatest support we can ask for right now. We are so grateful for yours.
Wherever you are, cheers from all of us.
Wineries Reopening By County
The listed wineries have told us they are open for on-site consumption according to their county’s reopening phase. Each winery links to its individual details.
Recipe Pairings Featuring Biodynamic Wines of the Willamette Valley (#WinePW)
Willamette Valley Biodynamic Wines Featured by Wine Bloggers
Thank you to Twitter’s active wine blogger community for featuring the Willamette Valley’s Biodynamic wineries this past weekend. Those who followed along with the hashtag #winepw were treated to some fabulous recipes paired with wines from our Biodynamic wineries. The recipes are listed below, along with the wine pairings.
Chef Henry Kibit's Lamb Meatballs with Harissa Sauce
Ingredients - Lamb Meatballs
½yellow onionsmall dice
1tablespoonvinegarsherry or red wine
3tablespoonsExtra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & pepper to taste
1cupGuajillos chiletoasted and seeded
½cupcarrotsmedium dice, cooked
½cupbeetsmedium dice, cooked
2tablespoonsExtra Virgin Olive Oil
Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Adjust seasonings as necessary.
Preheat oven to 300°. In a small pot saute the onion, carrot and garlic over medium-low heat about 6 minutes until tender. Cool completely.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix the lamb and remaining ingredients with your hands until the mixture starts to become a little sticky.
Take a small amount of the meatball mixture and saute on medium heat until cooked. About 2-3 minutes. This is just to taste for seasoning. Adjust salt/pepper/vinegar as necessary.
Portion into 16 equal sized balls. Over medium heat in a large saute pan, brown the balls evenly in two batches. Be gentle, the balls will be fragile, but will firm up after cooking.
Place the balls and all of the sauce in an oven proof pan (approximately 8"x10") and cover with foil.
Cook for about 40 minutes or until cooked through.
Serve with black rice or in a pita as a sandwich. Makes four servings.
December Events Preview
FEATURED DECEMBER EVENTS IN THE WILLAMETTE VALLEY
Willamette Valley wine country serves up an idyllic remedy for winter’s persistent chill. Wineries welcome guests with the warmest brand of hospitality, in the form of thawing fireplaces, convivial service and an exceptionally intimate atmosphere only the winter months can provide. Read full article
December Events Preview
December Events Preview
Willamette Valley wine country serves up an idyllic remedy for winter’s persistent chill. Wineries welcome guests with the warmest brand of hospitality, in the form of thawing fireplaces, convivial service and an exceptionally intimate atmosphere only the winter months can provide.
Far away from the tour buses and highway gridlock of the busy summer season, December in wine country spells cozy winemaker’s dinners, uncluttered tasting rooms and a certain peacefulness—one brought on not only by having the most recent vintage put to barrel, but by the company of snow-dusted foothills that bookend the Valley.
With the holiday stretch in full swing, it’s is also the perfect time to stock the cellar in preparation for memorable meals and end-of-the-year soirees. If you’ve yet to make it out to Wine Enthusiast’s reigning Wine Region of the Year, December offers an unparalleled accessibility to both the Valley’s world renowned wines and the colorful characters who produce them.
The transition to winter means hearty fare in restaurants throughout the Valley. Enjoy an earthy, lasting meal at Joel Palmer House or head to the Back Room at Nick’s for outstanding from-scratch pasta and a game of pool. Regional options like La Rambla in McMinnville counter chilly days with spicy, herbaceous offerings and pure comfort food from the likes of Gem Creole Saloon and Valley Commissary are all the more delectable during December.
Those hungry for genuine northwest cuisine will find no shortage of options during this spell, especially fans of seasonal seafood like shellfish and world-class pacific northwest salmon. The ever-growing Willamette Valley culinary scene continues to raise the epicurean bar and define what it means to experience every sense of wine country.
Extend the cozy nature of your Willamette Valley adventure with a night or two at any number of the region’s charming B&Bs or inviting hotels. Hole up in a historic property like Hotel Oregon, exploring its bars and restaurants in between strolls along McMinnville’s fetching Third Street.
Call a vintage Airstream trailer home for a long weekend, set within striking distance of countless wineries and tasting rooms. Or, head for the hills and live like a grapegrower among the vines in bucolic working estates like Youngberg Hill and the Black Walnut Inn. Unwind in the ultra-unhurried environment that is December in wine country. With winter rates in full swing, do yourself a favor and add another day to your fulfilling stay.
Central Valley winery Eola Hills embraces the holiday spirit with a Monday night movie series. Hibernate the wine country way with a relaxing film and a glass of estate wine in hand. Tonight’s screening is The Grinch. Details…
Rollin Soles is synonymous with Willamette Valley sparkling wine. The longtime Argyle winemaker has a relatively new label to boot in Roco and nothing toasts the holiday season quite like well made bubbly. Discover how appetizers can enhance Soles’ award-winning RMS Sparkling Wine and depart with a recipe. Details…
Esteemed Amity label Brooks Winery hosts a gathering devoted to the sometimes intimidating concept of wine pairing. Winery chef Abbey McManigle leads an approachable introductory course on the subject, one you get to eat and drink. It’s time to take your holiday food menus to the next level. Details…
Pinot Noir is one of the most expressive wines on the planet and a great way to experience that is via vertical tastings. Micro-producer Fullerton Wines walks guests through four vintages spanning 2012-2015, showcasing the uniqueness of each and how each distinctive growing season shaped the resulting wines. Details…
Throughout the last two months of the year, participating WVWA wineries and tasting rooms will partner with the Oregon Food Bank network to combat hunger. Select labels and venues will accept donations with the aim of granting 75,000 meals to those in need. Make your day in wine country all the more rewarding by helping the very community that helps make it possible. Details…
About the Artist: John Fisher
THANKSGIVING 2017 – NOVEMBER 5, 2017
Local artist, John Fisher, has created iconic posters and imagery for many Wine Country Thanksgivings. Get to know the artist, his story, and his inspirations.. Read full article
About The Artist: John Fisher
About The Artist: John Fisher
The Art that Captures the Essence of the Seasons in Wine Country
From the vivid energy of harvest and the collective pause for breath at Thanksgiving to spring’s picnic baskets and flowers in bloom, each season in wine country brings festive Willamette Valley traditions for winemakers and wine enthusiasts alike. John Fisher, who has partnered with the Willamette Valley Wineries Association over many projects and vintages, is the man behind the artwork that has become an iconic reflection of our Valley’s natural beauty.
Fisher operates in both fine art and graphic design. His latter work for the association is clean and seemingly timeless, offering the crispness of a photograph yet animated by way of playful, often primary colors. There’s slick layering to much of his work, as though it was a handful of separate cutouts to begin with, stacked nearly atop one another.
Many have witnessed his art, even if they couldn’t tie a name to it. Fisher’s visual accompaniments to the wildly successful Pinot In The City campaign neatly encapsulate every journey of that ongoing roadshow. There’s the Seattle poster, with a dripping Orca’s tail in the foreground the the Emerald City skyline in the distance. The Los Angeles poster depicts a black-and-white maze of buildings and off-ramps cloaked in the golden hue of southern California sun. This is to say nothing of his local subject matter, which overwhelmed him upfront.
“The Oregon landscape was challenging at first,” Fisher admits. “I felt a little claustrophobic with all the hills, as opposed to the midwest landscape where you can see the horizon for miles.”
Fisher visited his Portland-based sister while in high school frequently. The terrain blew him away and soon he packed up and headed west. Soon, he found himself getting lost on winding Willamette Valley roads, meandering in and out of the many vineyards, farmhouses and forested hills that would inform his work.
“Most of the artwork is seasonal, so it needs to capture a sense of place and time,” Fisher says. The greatest example of such seasonality also happens to be his favorite piece, a simple but evocative illustration for Wine Country Thanksgiving 2003. In it, a golden leaf droops over ripe ready-to-pick Pinot Noir clusters. A hushed and stoic background of brushy foothills and Mt. Hood’s silhouette completes an eye-catching and economical piece.
Fisher continues to pen illustrations for the association, in between painting stirring Oregon country landscapes and offering graphic design services for a host of clients including wine labels like Alloro Vineyards and Evesham wood via he and his wife’s firm Fisher Carlson Co.
Like any good artist, Fisher is willing to offer up inspirational colleagues. For his Pinot In The City pieces, he mentions David Lance Goines, whose symbolism, layering and tight presentation is not at all unlike Fisher’s. Both artists have taken on expansive content and both have excelled in capturing it with a certain precision.
The Willamette Valley may be home to hundreds of wineries and many more vineyards, but Fisher can somehow distill that into a single iconic image.
by Mark A. Stock | markastock.com Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon who spent a healthy stretch in the Dundee Hills making, selling and drinking wine. He’s written for Willamette Week, Oregon Wine Press, Travel Oregon, Sip Northwest, SevenFifty and more. Fly-fishing, Icelandic soccer and The Simpsons are among his favorite distractions.
Tools of the Cellar Trade
#WVHARVEST2017 – NOVEMBER 13, 2017
It takes more than great grapes to make great wine. From must plungers to tri-clamps, we break down the tools of the trade.. Read full article