If you live in Oregon, you’re probably familiar with all the winery Pre-Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving weekend Open Houses. It’s something of a yearly buzz and a harbinger of the holiday season. With so many choices, planning a wine country outing might seem more?like a game of Risk. ?But rest assured, I’m here to help you with your planning strategy. Put my experience to good use with this?insider’s guide to planning a winning?Thanksgiving wine country excursion.
Raise your glass and toast the opportunity to taste wines you might not normally get to taste.
The strategy?is actually quite simple. While the big wineries are deliciously dependable, most of them are open year-round, so you can visit them anytime. Save this outing for the wineries only open a couple times a year and those that are having their “coming out” parties.
WINERIES RARELY OPEN – BUT OPEN THANKSGIVING WEEKEND:
1. iOTA Cellars – Open just two times a year, so seize the day. Located in Amity, so a visit to Brooks new tasting room and Keeler Estate would be conveniently accessible. Lucky you!
2. Bells Up Winery?- Small boutique winery in Newberg, hmmmm, practically on the way to Argyle! How ’bout that plan???Taste their symphony of wines, but their inaugural vintage is selling out fast, so grab a bottle or two while you can.
3. Shea Wine Cellars?- Go straight to the source (in Yamhill) and discover?why so many?wineries make a Shea Vineyard wine.
4. Archer Vineyard?- The tiered decks and forever countryside views will melt your holiday stress away.
5. Leah Joregenson Cellars is pouring her wines Pre-Thanksgiving weekend on Saturday, Nov. 21st at Staver Locomotives – which means she’s right in town and you don’t even have to drive out to the valley. That means you have?no excuses. And you get to see cool trains! On Friday of?the Thanksgiving weekend, you’ll find her at the best little wine shop in Newberg, Valley Wine Merchants.
NEW WINERIES/TASTING ROOMS:
1. Argyle Winery – In my opinion, ALL Oregon wine country outings should either begin or end at Argyle?with a bubbly toast. Combine their sleek and sexy?new tasting room with great wines and easy accessible along the Highway 99 corridor and you have yourself a no-brainer.
2. Domaine Roy & Fils?- Taste the inaugural vintage from Dundee’s newest winery team, Roy and Etzel.
3. Domaine Divio?- Another debut – Burgundian style wines crafted in hillsides of Newberg. Domaine Divio promised?traditional wines along with graceful valley views.
3. Dusky Goose?- This grand opening event features limited production Pinot Noir?crafted by the illustrious Lynn Penner Ash.
4. Keeler Estate?- Allow yourself to?be greeted with warmth and hospitality and feel like you never left home. With wines as stunning as the grounds, it’s a treat for all the senses.
5.?Brooks Winery – With sweeping vistas and stunning wines, you could easily spend all day here. Craft your own flights from?exceptional Pinot noir, Pinot blanc, Gewurtzraminer and 17 Rieslings. Let me say that again, so you hear me loud and clear. 17 RIESLINGS!
TASTING HOUSES: Places to taste a wide variety of limited production vino from artisan producers
1. Carlton Winemakers Studio – Andrew Rich, Dukes Family, Lavinea, Asilda Wines, Quintet, Merriman, Mad Violets, Lazy River, Bachelder Wines, Wahle, Trout Lily and Hamacher
2. Beacon Hill – Harper Voigt, WildAire Cellars
3. Southeast Wine Collective – Be thankful for?urban Thanksgivings. Wines from up-and-coming resident winemakers including Division Winemaking Company (ok, these guys are more up than coming), Fullerton Wines, Gersing Cellars, James Rahn Cellars, Laelaps Winery and Ore Winery.
Places to drink great wine and get your shopping on:
1. WillaKenzie Estate‘s Holiday Market – Taste award winning?wines while you select?thoughtful holiday gifts for all your favorite peeps.?You’ll be able to sample?tasty food items from the following local vendors: The Beautiful Pig, Briar Rose Creamery, Smitten Artisan Truffles, The Spice and Tea Exchange, the Tamale House,?Fanucchi Oils and more. Mmmmm.
Perhaps your Thanksgiving weekend tradition includes a visit to wine country. Or perhaps you’re more of a sit-on-the-couch-and-watch-sports type, or a hit-up-all-the-big-sales type, in which case I invite you to please make a new tradition. You’ll thank me.?Where ever you end up this Thanksgiving weekend, I hope you have a wonderful holiday and enjoy every precious moment! #ORthanks
*Check individual website for details, times and specific offers.