Destination Dundee

Destination Dundee

The first grapes in the Willamette Valley were planted in the Dundee Hills, and it remains the most densely planted locale in the valley and state. This loop, with stops at Erath Winery, Torii Mor, Bella Vida Vineyard, and Argyle, introduces visitors to this historical home of Willamette Valley Pinot noir while supporting the community’s health and future through Yamhill Community Action Partnership, founded in 1980. YCAP’s mission is to advocate for and assist people toward self sufficiency, whether that means helping with a utility bill, distributing food to pantries throughout the county, or connecting struggling young people with support and resources. (Pictured at left, Youth Outreach teens stand in Newberg to show support for those facing emotional and mental health issues.)

YCAP has four focus categories: 

  • client services and housing, which assists hundreds of individuals and families annually with transitional shelter and emergency financial support, among other services; 
  • energy services, which provided 1,500 clients with emergency utility bill support last year and weatherized over 30 homes; 
  • youth services, which include providing young people ages 11-21 with a safe place to hang out or stay overnight, longer term housing and life skills training; 
  • a food bank that collects and distributes 1.5 million pounds of food to over 35 partner pantries and sites.

The partners in Destination Dundee will be making donations to YCAP through a portion of tasting fees. Learn more about YCAP in this video. 


Lawn Games for Wine Lovers: Memorial Weekend Recreation

May 14, 2018

During the holiday weekend, many wineries are offering activities beyond the tasting room, all of which are more fun with a glass of wine in hand. Read full article


Lawn Games For Wine Lovers: Memorial Weekend Recreation

Lawn games for wine lovers: memorial weekend recreation

Everyone wants to get outside on Memorial Day Weekend. With the Valley in full bloom, warm weather becoming more and more common and incredible views in every direction, wine country is the perfect place to soak up the long-awaited sun. During the holiday weekend, many wineries are offering activities beyond the tasting room, several of which are family friendly and all of which are more fun with a glass of wine in hand.

One of the most timeless lawn games in the U.S. is Bocce ball, which visitors can play at Hamacher and and Apolloni. Bocce tests aim and distance perception, making it both challenging and relaxing—and, conveniently, it can easily be played with one hand holding a beverage. Meanwhile, Domaine Divio and Utopia will offer the French answer: Pétanque. Domaine Divio’s brand-new Pétanque court will be inaugurated May 19th and open for guests during the holiday weekend. With essentially the same court and rules as Bocce, Pétanque, which originated in Provence, uses stainless steel balls that are a bit smaller and heavier than Bocce balls.

“Pétanque is the French version of Bocce ball,” explains Domaine Divio co-owner and winemaker Bruno Corneaux, a Burgundy native, adding, “actually, I think the Italians stole it from us.” 

Alfredo Apolloni (pictured at left), who grew up in a winemaking family in Italy before founding Apolloni Vineyards, has a slightly different take on Bocce’s history. “The early Romans were among the first to play a game resembling what we know as Bocce today,” he explains. “Beginning with Emperor Augustus, Bocce became the sport of statesman and rulers. The Romans introduced the game to far-away countries in Europe such as France, along with viticulture.”

Like debates about their provenance, lawn games can work up an appetite; in addition to the many wineries serving appetizers or snacks during Memorial Weekend, several have picnic space available for those bringing their own meal. Visitors to Arborbrook, Monksgate and ROCO may bring a picnic lunch to enjoy with a bottle of wine on the grounds.

For those who enjoy exploring on foot, Tyee has several miles of neighboring hiking trails, and at Hyland Estates, a stroll by the filbert orchards, experimental vineyard and pond is a wonderful way to experience the winery. Patton Valley will host a vineyard market featuring local food and craft vendors. And Archery Summit invites guests to take a self-guided tour of their barrel caves—a particularly good option for escaping from early-summer heat.

 

The following wineries have listed games, picnic spaces and other recreation as part of their Memorial Weekend offerings. View the full list of Memorial Weekend events and their descriptions here.

Apolloni Vineyards

Arborbrook Vineyards

Archery Summit

Brooks Winery

Cana’s Feast

Domaine Divio

Hamacher Wines

Hyland Estates

Iris Vineyards

Lemelson Vineyards

ROCO Winery

Maysara

MonksGate Winery & Vineyards

Patton Valley Vineyard

Utopia Vineyard

Torii Mor

Tyee Wine Cellars

Yamhill Valley Vineyards


A Backstage Pass for Memorial Weekend

may 11, 2018

Among the many reasons to visit Willamette Valley wine country over Memorial  Weekend, one of the most exciting is the opportunity to experience wines and wineries not normally open to the public. Read full article


A Backstage Pass for Memorial Weekend

A Backstage Pass for Memorial Weekend

Among the many reasons to visit Willamette Valley wine country over Memorial  Weekend—fabulous events, new releases, the beauty of bud break, and more—one of the most exciting is the opportunity to experience wines and wineries not normally open to the public.

Many of our region’s smallest producers and independent projects are appointment-only or do not have a tasting room. For these, the holiday weekend is a chance to host an “open house,” often in collaboration with other small producers, that offers a glimpse of their hard-to-find wines and a chance to meet the folks behind them.

“Memorial Day Weekend is such a great time to come to Willamette Valley wine country,” says Meg Murray, co-owner of PROJECT M, which is hosting a “small producer speakeasy” in the back courtyard of Pike Road Wines on Saturday, May 26 with fellow small producers Antiquum Farm, Helioterra Wines, Matzinger Davies and Rocky Point Cellars.

“There are wineries opening their cellars to the public that aren’t regularly open. This is a great chance for wine lovers to taste wines poured by the winemakers, hear their stories and support some of these smaller, often family-run, businesses,” she says. “It’s a great time to connect with the people behind the wine, learn what drives them to create and see firsthand the passion for their craft.”

Murray adds that each winery will be pouring limited and new releases not typically available for tasting, adding, “This is a great opportunity to see what some of the small producers are doing in the Willamette Valley in one place.”

There’s no shortage of interesting things to taste among the small producers opening their doors for the holiday weekend. Wineries such as Anderson Family, iOta Cellars, and Westrey will be serving up library gems; delicious snacks and pairings are on the menu at Domaine Roy et fils, Dukes Family, Lingua Franca, and Soter; and August Cellars, Grochau Cellars and Beaux Frères will host special guest wineries.

With exciting verticals and library tastings, great hors d’oeuvres, and winemakers on hand to answer questions and share their knowledge, Memorial Weekend is chock full of rare chances to glimpse the Willamette Valley behind the scenes.

 

The following wineries have a rare open house this Memorial Weekend or are hosting neighboring producers not normally open to the public. View the full list of Memorial Day events here.

Anderson Family Vineyard

August Cellars

Beaux Frères

Belle Pente

Bells Up Winery

Carlton Winemakers Studio

Domaine Roy et fils

Dukes Family Vineyards

Failla

Grochau Cellars

Hazelfern

iOta Cellars

Lingua Franca

Natalie’s Estate Winery

North Valley

PROJECT M

SchöneTal Cellars

Soter Vineyards

Tendril Wine Cellars

Westrey Wine Company


Welcoming Bud Break in the Willamette Valley

may 3, 2018

While there’s lots to do in the winery and tasting room, the most important action of the year to date is happening very quietly out in the vineyard. Read full article


Welcoming Bud Break in the Willamette Valley

Welcoming Bud Break in the Willamette Valley

Tasting rooms are slowly gearing up for the bustle of travel season, red wines are mellowing in barrel, and bottling lines are humming along getting whites wines and rosé ready for picnics in the sun. It’s spring in the Valley, and while there’s lots to do in the winery and tasting room, the most important action of the year to date is happening very quietly out in the vineyard.

Bud break is the moment of awakening for a vine from its winter dormancy period. The new growth, which sets into motion a vine’s growing season, begins when plants sense warming earth, rain and ever-so-slowly lengthening days. Roots begin cycling stored nutrients and water through the vine, encouraging it to essentially yawn and stretch its fingers into the air—bursting soft, fragile buds from yesterday’s hard, dark bumps on the cane. These begin to photosynthesize, and the growing begins.

Late April is typical for bud break in much of the Valley, but sites vary widely due to sun exposure and aspect, altitude and several other factors. “I would characterize this as a ‘classic’ Oregon start to the growing season from a historical perspective,” says Tom Fitzpatrick, winemaker at Alloro Vineyard, who saw 90% bud break by April 21. However, he adds, “I don’t think there really is a ‘normal’ anymore. Climate change seems to be delivering dramatic variability in weather conditions and wide swings in the start of the vines’ time clock from year to year.”

Just as with bud break itself, what constitutes perfect spring conditions may vary from site to site based on a host of factors. “What is fantastically beneficial to us this year is the unusually dry weather we’ve been having,” says Chris Lindemann of Evesham Wood and Haden Fig (bud break at Evesham is pictured at left). “Given that we are farming organically and prefer to source our grapes from dry-farmed, organic-practice plots, this luck of dry weather has allowed us to get ahead of the usual inter-vine weeding.” Wetter weather after weeding, he says, “can develop a situation where the remnants of the weeds out-compete the cover crops.”

Vines are vulnerable during bud break. Frost is always a potential concern in cool-climate winegrowing regions, especially when buds break early. Since cold air moves downward and settles, air flow, elevation and slope position are crucial to frost protection—just one of the reasons winemakers put such an emphasis on site selection. “Thankfully, [frost] is not an extreme threat for a properly chosen, elevated site like Alloro,” says Fitzpatrick.

Pests such as rust and bud mites love to munch on the vulnerable buds, so growers must be vigilant about them, too, he adds. Fortunately, a simple sulfur spray keeps them at bay. Finally, winegrowers must keep adequate soil moisture in mind—since lack of moisture during bud break can stunt vine growth—and try not to use tractors excessively this time of year, since the weight can compact the soil and reduce drainage.

While challenges can turn up during bud break, ultimately, it’s only the first step in a long growing season. “What we’ve found is that the date of bud break is less important in the grape growing process—and defining the quality of the vintage—than are those last ten steps ending with the conditions surrounding the harvest and pick date,” Lindemann explains.

On your next trip to wine country, take a moment to appreciate the hard work represented in bud break and the weeks that follow. This time of year sets off a period of incredibly rapid growth for a vine, and today’s emerging buds are the first chapter in the story of the 2018 vintage.

 

By Julia Burke

Julia Burke is a wine lover originally from Buffalo, New York, who moved to Oregon in August 2017 to work a harvest and decided to stay. She is the Willamette Valley Wineries Association’s marketing and communications coordinator and a fan of Riesling, peanut butter, and the Chicago Cubs.