Thanksgiving weekend is fast approaching and most of us are starting to plan our tasting trips. For those of you looking for a few new wineries or ones that are easily overlooked, I am here to help. I have looked at the wineries in the Northern Willamette Valley and created a list of new wineries that have just opened up in the last year. Some of you might have beaten me to the punch and visited a few of these (sorry I took so long to point these out). I have grouped them in general areas to help you find them if you are looking on a map. I also have a list of wineries that have been open for a while that are worth visiting also.
I donít see any new wineries in the southern part around Corvallis/Salem at this time. If I have missed one please let me know.
Next, as we head north, is the McMinnville area. all I see is the new one I wrote about recently -- Anthony Dell Cellars.
Now we head a bit east to Lafayette and Dayton. Letís start with a winery that is not as new as some others, White Rose. I got in to taste the wines about a year ago before the winery was finished. I liked the pinot noir and feel this would be a good stop. Next would be a short drive over to DePonte and Bella Vida. I did sneak into Bella Vida for a taste a while back and though they only had two pinot noirs to taste I found both to be some of the best I had tasted recently.
Up to Newberg and north of Highway 240 for our next batch of wineries. Aramenta, Kelley Family and Lachini are just north of 240.
Now I want list quickly a few wineries I feel you should get out to try. In the southern area are Airlie, Ankeny, Avalon wine, Broadley, and Pheasant Court. In the central area are Maysara, La Bete, Anne Amie (was Chateau Benoit) and Carlo and Julian. Moving north of 240 are Brick House and WillaKenzie. Heading to the area around Scholls, there are J. Albin and Freja. And last but not least over by Gaston, is Elvenglade.
I also want to mention a few hints and suggestions to help everyone have a good time over this great wine-tasting weekend. Please drive carefully and take your time. You probably will only get to visit about four or five wineries a day. Donít try to power taste, as you will either not get a good taste of the wines, or worse, could miss a great opportunity to talk to the winemaker or experience a special barrel taste. Talking to the winemaker or owner can give you a great insight on the winery and the local wine scene. Donít be afraid to ask those questions you might have. Most winemakers and owners want to talk about their job and passion for their wine.
Secondly, please donít stand at the pouring location after you get your sample if the winery is busy and crowded. This has to be my biggest pet peeve. Every time I go out tasting there is that group that, once it gets to the pouring table/bar, wonít leave till they are done tasting. This makes it hard for the rest of us to get wines or ask a question. Please get your wines, ask your questions and then allow the rest of us to do the same.
Make sure you drink lots of water and snack on food during the day if you donít stop for a real lunch. If you can find a designated driver for the day, take advantage of it. For just like we want to get out and taste, be assured the local law enforcement will be out to make sure we donít overdo it while tasting.
For the few of you wondering where I am thinking of going for this event, here are the wineries I am hoping to visit: Airlie, Ankeny, Aramenta, Broadley, Deponte, Kelley Family, Lachini, Lawton, Pheasant Court. As you can see I am trying to also get to the new wineries and a few others I have not been to in a while. I like to visit wineries about once every 3 years minimum to see how things are going and some even more often if I am big fan of their wines.
Time of wineries and tasting fees.
I wanted to just say, I am all for reasonable tasting fees by wineries this weekend for the number of tasters will cause a lot of these wineries to go through a large portion of their wines and they need to be able to recover the cost. But I do expect most wineries to credit my tasting fee towards a purchase of wine. A lot of these fees will also get you a glass to take home to add to your collection.
Airlie all three days 11 to 5, no tasting fee listed
Aramenta Cellars is open Friday and Saturday 11 to 4:30
Ankeny all three days 11 to 5, no tasting fee listed
Anne Amie (was Chateau Benoit) all three days 11 to 5, $10 tasting fee
Anthony Dell is located just north of Panther Creek next to R. Stuart and La Bete. Now I donít have the
official hours of AD but I am pretty sure it will be open most days and times.
Avalon wine shop all three days 12 to 5, no tasting fee listed
Bella Vida all three days 11 to 5, $5 tasting fee
Brick House Friday and Saturday 10:30 to 4, $12 tasting fee
Broadley all three days 11 to 5, no tasting fee listed
Carlo and Julian all three days 11 to 5, $5 tasting fee
Deponte Friday and Saturday 11 to 3:30, $5 tasting fee
Elvenglade all three days 11 to 5, no tasting fee listed
Freja all three days 11 to 5, $3 tasting fee
J Albin all three days 11 to 5, $5 tasting fee
Kelley Family all three days 11 to 5, no tasting fee listed
La Bete Friday and Saturday 11 to 5, $5 tasting fee
Lachini Friday and Saturday 11 to 4:30 and Sunday 11-3, has a tasting fee but amount not listed
Maysara all three days 11 to 5, $10 tasting fee
Pheasant Court all three days 12 to 6, no tasting fee listed
White Rose all three days 11 to 5, no tasting fee listed
WillaKenzie all three days 12 to 5, $10 tasting fee