Granted, wine tasting is an afternoon/evening activity, and I’m not sure we can really call it nightlife. However, because it involves so much drinking, eating and good times, I’m going to list it here as a fun drinking day-trip from Portland!
There are many organic and bio-dynamic vineyards in the Willamette Valley, known for its Pinot noir and fertile soil (which is not, surprisingly, why Oregon Pinots are so good). Three to make sure to visit are as follows, in no particular order.
A new, bio-dynamic vineyard, Winderlea is a very cutting-edge spot.In the main vineyard building, a sleek, almost-LEED certified structure that looks out onto the rolling red hills of Dundee, guests sip the Estate Reserve Pinot noir from 2007 and chat about what merits a good glass of Pinot. For $15.00, visitors to the vineyard can sample five Winderlea wines, including the Estate Reserve Pinot noir from 2007,a 2008 Chardonnay, the 2009 Dundee Hills Pinot noir, the Estate Pinot noir from 2007 and the Winderlea Pinot noir from 2008 (one of the top years for the area). All the proceeds from tastings are donated to charity, which is pretty amazing.
Rex Hill -
This is one of the older vineyards in the area, opened in 1982. Rex Hill specializes in fine Pinot noir wines, and asking for a tour around their ample, maze-like cellar is recommendable. A family-run vineyard, the guys at Rex Hill are doing their part to keep wine making ‘green’. They are LIVE certified and use bio-dynamic and organic wine making practices in their production. Try their 2009 Rex Hill Jacob Hart Pinot Gris for something distinctive from the many Pinot noir wines available.
Sokol Blosser -
Another vineyard that goes way back. Sokol Blosser was one of the first to establish in the area and start to try and grow a few grapes in the 70s. Today they are one of the larger organic producers in the area, with LEED silver certification on their cellar, a green-roof building covered in four feet of cooling earth. I tested a few of their wines, and was impressed by their inexpensive white, Evolution 14, which goes for about $15.oo. Other Sokol Blosser Pinots are double or triple this price.
The problem is, if you go for a day of wine drinking, who’s going to drive? Let Evergreen Escapes take care of the directions so you can enjoy the Chardonnay. The all ‘green’ tour company arranges day tours to the Willamette Valley wine region, as well as to many other must-see spots in Oregon.
Sokol Blosser – http://sokolblosser.com/
Rex Hills – http://www.rexhill.com/index.php
Evergreen Escapes: http://www.evergreenescapes.com/
post & photo by Regina Winkle-Bryan. see more at:http://www.thespainscoop.com/