Wine tasting is always a fun adventure but rare are the opportunities that allow you to experience the wine making process. There is something magical about the transformation of grapes into wine. Harvest has begun in wine country and you don’t have to be an oenophile or wine enthusiast to appreciate the chance to go behind the scenes in the vineyards or see the grapes being processed. For those who want to experience more during grape harvest, here are a few upcoming experiences that are not to be missed.
Red Ridge Farms & Durant Vineyards – Vineyard Tour, Tasting & Lunch, September 13, 2015
What could be more fun than strolling through vineyards, tasting wine along the way and pausing for lunch in the vineyards? Durant Family Vineyards offers a special tasting experience for those who want to explore, get outdoors and experience vineyards with their wine tasting.
Pausing at different vineyard blocks to learn about the characteristics of the soil, sun, and grapes is fascinating. Tasting wine made from that vineyard block while standing in the vineyard adds to the appreciation of the expression of the grapes. Wine tastes best in the vineyard.
After traipsing through the vineyards and sampling wine, guests get to indulge in a culinary feast, dining alfresco near the vineyards. The gourmet meal is perfectly paired with Durant Family wines. After the exercise from walking over hill and dale through the vineyards the meal feels like an ample reward. After being hosted royally you may choose to visit the tasting room to learn more about their family of wines and sample their estate olive oil.
Details: The next Vineyard Tour is Sunday, September 13 at 11 am. Tickets are $65 and include an al fresco lunch that will feature Oregon Olive Mill Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Durant Vineyards wine. Click here for more information.
Solena Estate Vineyards – Twilight Tasting Saturdays in September 5-8 pm
Enjoy a Twilight Tasting in Solena’s beautiful new tasting room. Imagine watching the sunset from their balcony overlooking vineyards, while sipping wine.
To make it even more special you can reserve a charcuterie and cheese plate which pairs well with their wine flight. Solena makes not only Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir but they also offer Big Reds including Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Zinfandel, and Merlot.
The new tasting room has soaring ceilings, vineyard views, and lots of outdoor seating. The use of expired grape vines as accents throughout the tasting room lends an authentic feel.
Details: Twilight Tastings are available on Saturdays in September between 5-8 pm, make an advance reservation to ensure that you will have a charcuterie plate waiting for you. Tastings are $15 per flight and $20 for a charcuterie plate.
Brooks Vineyards – Harvest Winery Tour, October 4, 2015
During Harvest, Brooks Winery is offering a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes during the wine making process Enjoy a custom tour with the winemaker and sample the newly pressed juice along with their recently released wine.
You can also visit the airy tasting room where you will have a choice of indoor and outdoor seating to better enjoy their wine. Linger over a flight, glass or bottle of Pinot Noir or Rieslings while enjoying a charcuterie selection..
Details: Join winemaker Chris Williams and Jess Pierce on October 4, from 1-3 pm to taste the just-pressed grape juice and compare with Brooks current release finished wines. This is a unique opportunity to peek behind the curtains at our new winery. Contact: Jess Pierce, Jess@Brookswine.com for more details.
Willamette Valley Vineyards – Grape Stomp and Harvest Celebration, September 19-20, 2015
You might have thought that stomping grapes was a myth. To see it in action, join Willamette Valley Vineyards on September 19 – 20, 2015 for their annual Grape Stomp Competition. Now in the 25th year, guests can experience for themselves the joy of wine making. Cheer on the two-person teams of “Stompers” and “Swabies,” the bucket holders, as they compete for the champion title. The winning team earns a trip to Santa Rosa, California to participate in the World Championship Grape Stomp.
In addition to wine tasting, this family-friendly celebration includes food pairings from the Winery Chef, live music, a costume contest and a Kids Stomp competition. Willamette Valley Vineyards is one of the valley’s oldest wineries.
Details: The Grape Stomp will be held at the Estate Vineyard on Saturday and Sunday, September 19 and 20, from 11am to 6 pm. Admission is $10 with the option to add a Cellar Pass to taste exclusive unreleased wines for $5. Those looking to compete are welcome to join in the fun for $10.
More Details: While you are exploring wine country if you find a wine or winery that you love, consider joining the wine club to always have your favorite wine available. You will have access to member only events and be given the opportunity to enjoy limited release wines. Alaska Airlines offers Wine Flies Free to allow you to take a case of wine with you and skip the baggage fee. For information about the 400+ wineries in the Willamette Valley, click here.
About the Author: Karla Erovick is a travel and wine enthusiast. She is the author of over 500 articles covering food, wine, and travel. Read more about her favorite places here.