Recently in Courtney Cochran Category

Wine Country Insider: Art Walking Tours

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
by Courtney Cochran

When it comes to inspiration, wine country is about as alluring as it gets.  And so it is that wine country art - especially the kind you can meander amongst, on walking tours - takes on especially vivid expression. Whether it's made or just displayed in this lovely setting, it's more than worth a gander. Please allow us to steer you towards some rewarding walks.  

Napa: West End
Encompassing an approximately 6-block area in this once sleepy wine country seat, Napa's West End is a neighborhood offering arts of various intriguing sorts. From traditional art galleries - First Street's Quent Cordair comes to mind with its substantial collection of romantic realistic works - to tasting room installations to a fully restored, circa-1937 Art Deco theater, the Uptown, Napa's West End offers much to see on a stroll. Chris Isaak and Rusted Root are among the top-notch performances that can be seen at the Uptown, along with its colorful (original!) neon marquee. Or, come Saturday night, stop into Ceja Vineyards' tasting room for a rotating selection of artworks in addition to pours, then dance the night away via the spot's free salsa lessons.  

Need some mementos? Pick these up at the West End Napa gift store inside the contemporary Avia Hotel building. It's also where the neighborhood "living room" can be found, natch. The area is couched in the western portion of downtown Napa, approximately from School to Randolph streets and from First to Third streets.

napaArtWalk.jpgNapa ARTwalk Momentum: Art that Moves (Us)
Arts Council Napa Valley (ACNV) and the Napa Community Redevelopment Agency have announced the return of the Napa ARTwalk interactive public sculpture exhibition and tour in downtown Napa. The second ARTwalk, titled "Momentum: Art that Moves (Us)," launched on October 19th 2011 and will be on exhibition through April, 2013 in downtown Napa. 

Art works - which hew to a new theme each exhibition - are selected with the help of CaFE (callforentry.org) and a panel of local art administrators, artists, and city officials.  The cost is free, and exhibits can be accessed throughout the day, 365 days a year, at visitors' leisure.  Download a map here, and for more information, call 707-257-2117.

Sonoma Spotlight: Dry Creek Valley

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
by Courtney Cochran

DryCreekValley_VineyardinSonomaCounty.jpgOrganic farms and Rhône varieties and lots of cycling, oh my! Sonoma's Dry Creek Valley - encompassing 16 miles north-south in Sonoma's bucolic northwestern corner - is a quieter part of the county that beckons with gracious vineyards, welcoming wineries and a rustic agrarian atmosphere that's downright soothing.  Come along as we take a closer look.

Getting There
Dry Creek is easily reached from adjacent Healdsburg and also makes a reasonable day trip from other parts of the county.  Coming from the south, exit 101 at Dry Creek Road and head northwest. Coming from Mendocino and the north, exit 101 at Dutcher Creek Road to tackle the valley from the northern end, heading south. From Healdsburg, access the valley via Dry Creek Road or start at the far southern end of the valley - via Westside Road - if you have time for a longer drive.    

Weather, What to Expect
Dry Creek Valley is one of Sonoma's numerous excellent wine-producing valleys.  Though it is one of those more closely situated to the ocean (it's just about 20 miles inland from the Pacific), Dry Creek experiences significantly warm temperatures during summer months.  During this time, heat necessitates smart warm weather preparation such as taking plenty of water with you, stopping to rest if pursuing cycling or other physically activities, and avoiding excessive sun exposure during peak sunshine periods. Evening temperatures are cool year-round, and winter is cool and wet during the rainy season. Spring and fall offer the mellowest conditions for traveling, and fog can be found in the morning year-round.  

Sonoma International Film Festival, April 11-15

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
SIFF_2012_logo.jpgby Courtney Cochran

In its impressive 15th iteration, the Sonoma International Film Festival (né Sonoma Valley Film Festival) brings some 120 independent films to wine country, plus a diverting mix of pre- and après-film activities.  Here's the scoop:

Film Highlights

This year, a diverse lineup of films allows for exploration of topics as varied as romance, politics, pop culture, the environment and sci-fi.  Some of this festival's anticipated films:

In the romance category and featuring actor Jackson Rathbone of Twilight fame, feature-length Girlfriend explores a romance between a boy with Down's Syndrome and a small-town single mom (Shannon Woodward). 

SIFF_2012_hamburger.jpgTeenagers push the envelope of blind tasting by attacking the topic of burgers -- and teenage obsessions like video games, natch - in the short film The Great Hamburg Challenge (just 12 minutes). 

On the more serious side of things, director Luc Besson tells the story of celebrated leader Aung San Suu Kyi as she becomes the core of Burma's democracy movement in the feature film The Lady, while the documentary Nothing Like Chocolate explores an American entrepreneur's efforts to build a sustainable chocolate operation in Grenada. 

Napa Valley Arts in April

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
by Courtney Cochran

The month of April is not only a harbinger of warmer weather: it's a cue for wine country's most creative to kick off their annual arts calendars.  From photography exhibits to live theater and concerts, arts events offered this April boast plenty of variety - and some diverting new acts. Here are just a few of the highlights:

Art Film Series: Under the Tuscan Sun
Downtown St. Helena's charmingly restored Cameo Theater lights up the valley with its star wattage-fueled screenings and special film events.  April will see the theater play host to Under the Tuscan Sun author Frances Mayes.  A screening of the film will be followed by a Q&A and book signing of Mayes' latest cook book, all accompanied by Italian bites from Knickerbocker's Catering and wine from Benessere Winery. Gelato from Sogni di Dolci and homemade limoncello will top off this anticipated arts event.
4/1 12pm * 1340 Main St., St. Helena * Tickets: (707) 963-3946

VeloVino.jpgThe Art of the Cycle @ Velo Vino
Avid bicyclist-vintners Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford present this exhibition featuring the paintings of New York artist Tahiah Lempert, whose work focuses on bicycles.  Described as "energetic," Lempert's work brings a creative focus to movement and gesture derived from this classic mode of transport.  The winery notes that visitors participating in the "Arts For April" program will receive a complimentary "Peloton" tasting which includes a sampling of all of current release wines, a 10% discount on purchases and a complimentary Clif Bar.
4/9 10am-6pm * Clif Family Winery @ Velo Vino, 709 Main St., St. Helena
msWordClipArt_MovieRoll.jpgby Courtney Cochran

Temperatures may be cooling in the Napa Valley come November, but two dynamic events could make your visit the hottest in memory.  Both in their debut year, the Napa Valley Film Festival (Nov. 9-13) and Flavor! Napa Valley (Nov. 16-22) bring with them a host of diverting events that are rewriting the month's reputation - from a sleepier time to one that's buzzing with eclectic food-and-wine-fueled attractions.

Napa Valley Film Festival ~ 11/9- 11/13

Flavor! Napa Valley ~ 11/16-11/22

Flavor! Napa Valley 2011

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
by Courtney Cochran

Silverado Resort & Culinary Institute of America at Greystone

flavorLogo.jpgA four-day gustatory tour de force highlighting farm-to-table cuisine, Flavor! Napa Valley brings together some of the valley's most accomplished food and wine personalities for a powerhouse lineup of events November 16-22nd. 

The highlight of the weekend should be The Appellation Trail: Tasting Napa Valley, a mega tasting of more than 120 wineries' best pours and 30 restaurants' best bites in a festive walk-around format at the Culinary Institute on Friday night. With more big-name purveyors on hand than you'll find in any other place - think Silver Oak Cellars, Robert Mondavi Winery, Stags' Leap Winery, Staglin Family Vineyard and Morimoto Napa, Ad Hoc, La Toque and The Restaurant at Meadowood to name just a few - plus live demos by the likes of chef Tyler Florence, the Appellation Trail should be a phenomenal way to experience the best of the valley in just one night.

Come daytime, attending an intimate workshop with one of the valley's foremost culinary players affords rare insights into the philosophies and methods of these larger-than-life luminaries. Oenobuffs and new wine fans alike should enjoy "The Noblest of Grapes: A Celebration of Cabernet Sauvignon," a seminar hosted by the inimitable Karen MacNeil (authoress of The Wine Bible) and Fred Dame, a charismatic Master Sommelier and one of the nation's foremost wine educators. Sushi fans won't want to miss Iron Chef America star Masaharu Morimoto's "Sushi & Sashimi 101" demonstration, where the reliably entertaining maestro will guide guests through the nuances of this Japanese delicacy. 

For more on the weekend's full lineup, lodging packages and ticketing info, visit FlavorNapaValley.com.

Napa Valley Film Festival 2011

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
by Courtney Cochran

nvFilmFestival.jpgSelect venues throughout the Napa Valley

Founded by Bay Area locals and Bottle Shock producers Brenda and Marc Lohrmer, the first-ever Napa Valley Film Festival promises a chockablock schedule of feature, documentary and short film screenings, sneak previews, gala events, and conversations with film industry insiders over five days. 

Highly anticipated festivities will take place in venues from Carneros to Calistoga, with a gala kick-off reception going down at Robert Mondavi Winery on Thursday, November 10.  Thirsty film-goers will be able to sample pours from a diverse lineup of local vintners at wine pavilions, pre-screening pourings and winery open houses throughout the valley as well as at "Festival Front Porches," unique venues offering check-in rewards, live music and social media interactivity. Access Hollywood fans, take note: host Billy Bush will emcee the festival's Tribute Night program on Saturday in Yountville. 

Sweet Whites: A Napa Valley Itinerary

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
girlsDrinkingWhiteWineOutside.jpgby Courtney Cochran

If you enjoy a crisp, off dry Muscat (aka "sweet wines") on a warm afternoon or kicking back with girlfriends, this itinerary's for you. Come along as we visit three Napa Valley wineries offering pours of sweeter whites, and learn about shopping excursions and nightlife options, too. Here's to enjoying a sweet day in wine country!

Calistoga: Beyond the Tasting Room

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
couplesmudbath-display.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Tucked cozily into the northernmost reaches of the Napa Valley, Calistoga has long beckoned visitors with its verdant vineyards, country-cute downtown and renowned mineral waters.  Read on for tips on what to do when in town - because there are spoils aplenty to unearth in this Eden après tasting.

Bathe
Dubbed a "quintessential American travel experience" by Conde Nast Traveler, Golden Haven's signature mud bath is a Calistoga must-do.  Available for singles or couples, the treatment pairs a detoxifying mud immersion with a nourishing clay mask, followed by a mineral water-fed Jacuzzi soak and soothing warm blanket wrap.  Once you're through, continue unwinding with another treatment (favorites include herbal facials, massages and body wraps) or invigorate with a few laps in the pool.  In all, it's a sure-fire recipe for R&R, Calistoga style, and ensures you'll be in a perfect state of Zen as you head out on the town or tasting.  
Golden Haven Hot Springs * 1713 Lake St., Calistoga, CA 94515 * (707) 942-8000

From the Bachelor Pad to The Young & The Thirsty

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
youngthirsty_coverpress.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

I'm pretty sure it's intentional that the title of the just-released book by Monterey vintner brothers Jesse and Jacob Kovacs sounds like a soap opera.  Fitting especially given that one of the brothers is fresh off of a stint on the salaciously diverting ABC reality program, The Bachelor Pad.  One of the final six competitors on the singles-only show, Jesse Kovacs has grabbed the spotlight (on average, 6 million viewers tuned into hit Bachelor Pad weekly) and is running with it across the US and Canada to promote The Young & The Thirsty.

Oregon: Applegate Valley's "Eye Openingly Good" Wines

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
applegatevalley.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

I was utterly charmed by Rhône-inspired pours from southern Oregon's new Cowhorn Wine at a Biodynamic® tasting in San Francisco earlier this year.  I reviewed all of my favs from the event here for Wine Country, though I must say that Cowhorn stuck out for its gorgeous packaging and branding (checking out the website is a must!) that - along with the winery's excellent pours - set the spot apart as one positioned to put not only über green wines but also the Applegate region itself on the vinous map.

Meritage: Spa Terra Transports

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
Meritage-front.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

From Top Chef to Top Form

When Top Chef contestants descended on Napa's Meritage Resort earlier this year to film the Season 6 finale of the popular Bravo show, they made use of many of the Tuscan-style property's amenities, though there is one we feel they could have well stood to make more use of:  the spot's award-winning spa. After all, these harried chef-testants withstood grueling challenges for weeks before arriving at the southern Napa property (to battle to the end, no less), and we're sure they could have all benefited from some quality R&R to take the edge off.

Wine Country Parties: What's Hot, Where to Go

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
By Courtney Cochran

Wine Country invariably inspires thoughts of relaxation, but it can just as easily stoke the party urge within us - provided we know where to exercise that urge, and when.  Read on for tips on your best bets for tracking down parties in Wine Country; because we wouldn't have you miss out on a good time in the most beautiful place on earth, just because you don't know where to find it.

Follow the Green Trail of Dry Creek Valley

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
h2hbikes.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

In partnership with Healdsburg's newest eco-chic lodging destination, h2hotel, the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley are tempting green-minded visitors to Wine Country with a special "Green Trail" destination package.  Available beginning in September, the package puts Dry Creek's sustainable, organic and biodynamic vintners (think Michel-Schlumberger, Preston of Dry Creek, Quivira and Truett Hurst) in the spotlight with inclusive tastes, tours and "lively discussions" about green wine practices at featured properties.
biking_DCV.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

This much we know to be true: You love wine and know it goes down best in a beautiful setting.  Still, pairing both (read: vino and stellar Wine Country backdrop) with a charitable cause - not to mention a little healthy exercise -makes your vinous experience that much sweeter.  It seems that Russian River Valley winegrowers are onto your sentiments, since they're offering two wine-themed bike tours August 21 to benefit Bicycles for Humanity.  Led by renowned local vintners and chefs, the scenic rides are part of the weekend's Grape to Glass festival, which aims to showcase the gastro-artistic assets of this dynamic Sonoma region.

Napa's Ultimate Scavenger Hunt - August 14

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
Onward-Avatar.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Where: di Rosa Preserve - 5200 Sonoma Hwy, Napa
When: Sat, Aug. 14 2010
Why: supporting the arts in Wine Country is cool
$$: $55/$35 di Rosa members

Onward!, Di Rosa Preserve's Young Collector's Group, will host "Scavenge di Rosa" this Saturday, August 14 from 6-9pm in Napa.  Word is this will be quite the cool culinary-gastro-art affair, with appearances promised from numerous street food vendors, live music and - of course - plenty of liquid libations.  And with a premise turning on a real scavenger hunt through the spot's galleries, it looks to be quite the socializer-cum-art-viewing extravaganza.   

Harvest Happenings 2010

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
By Courtney Cochran

Those of us who pop a cork on occasion know these vinous spoils don't arrive from the vineyard ready to drink: There's real work that goes into coaxing wine from vine to bottle.  And each year, come harvest time, proof of this precious labor can be seen throughout Wine Country, as vintners and their trusted teams race against time and mother nature to deliver ripened fruit to the winery - where crush begins and ends within just a few frenetic weeks.  

We'd like to raise a glass to these teams, whose standout efforts allow us to enjoy each vintage's best at a more leisurely pace (cheers to that).  For word on where to go in Wine Country for the best 2010 harvest happenings, read on.

Yountville Nightlife

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
By Courtney Cochran

Home to more than a dozen bona fide restaurants - and more Michelin stars per capita than any place in the world, Yountville is easily one of the nation's premier dining destinations.  So while it makes sense that dinner is often the primary item on visitors' agendas after dark, it's also true that good nightlife can be had in this Wine Country hamlet:  You just have to look a little harder for it than you would within city limits.  Those looking to keep the party going after the check arrives should read on for tips on the best spots to take in a little nightlife in this newly hot Wine Country hamlet.

Yountville: Stay In Style

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
By Courtney Cochran

Call Yountville what you like - gourmet mecca, Wine Country paradise, vinous nirvana - just don't miss a stay in this bucolic hamlet superbly situated in the heart of Napa Valley. Herein, tips on where to rest your head when you touch down in this oenological utopia.

Yountville, CA: Tomatoville Touches Down

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
by Courtney Cochran

With a nod to Jimmy Buffet's catchy vaca anthem, Margaritaville, Yountville's Bardessono and Hill Family Estate will bring Wine Country visitors the three-day Tomatoville celebration September 10, 11 and 12.  Billing the tomato "Mother Nature's finest fruit (since the grape)," the event's sponsors promise a juicy lineup of activities; highlights include:
By Courtney Cochran

Situated in the self-proclaimed "Funk Zone" of downtown Santa Barbara, winery-to-watch Municipal Wineries is the eleventh winery to join the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail, an eclectic affiliation of producers in possession of tasting rooms downtown.  Thanks to this new, vinous urban enclave, you can now hone your swirling and sipping skills between working on your tan and working out your MasterCard in this sun splashed tourist mecca.

Earth Day At Iron Horse April 18

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
EarthDay2010-Invitation.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

You'll be hard pressed to find a more fitting place in Wine Country to fête Earth Day than Green Valley.  Here, at bubbly hot spot Iron Horse Vineyards, a handful of eco-abiding Russian River wineries will turn their enviro-consciousness westward come April 18 as they highlight ocean conservation. To wit, this year's event, dubbed Green Valley Goes Blue, promises a sweet lineup of ocean-inspired fare and fanfare, from Hog Island oysters to a fish taco truck to a speaker who's logged time as a National Geographic underwater explorer.
SFVintners.header_Blue.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Another smart wine event is coming your way this weekend in the San Francisco Vintners Market, a wine-tasting-and-shopping event modeled on farmers' markets.  Offering wines from some 200 "local" wineries (think Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Russian River Valley, as well as select imports), the tasting is being touted as the first-ever of its kind in that attendees will be able to purchase any wine they like on the spot.
ebayvintner.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Ever wonder what wines made just near the San Francisco Bay taste like?  If you have, your chance to find out is here:  the East Bay Vintners' Alliance - a group of 20 wineries who call San Francisco's East Bay home - will open their doors this Saturday, April 10 for the third annual "Passport to the East Bay Wine Trail" event.  Taking place in seven locations in Emeryville, Oakland and Alameda, the event promises to give attendees a broad sampling of wines made locally, and features some locations not open to the public any other time during the year.

I Do: Wine Country Wedding Guide: Sonoma

| | Comments (3) | TrackBacks (0)
by Courtney Cochran

sonomaCountryWedding.jpgLast month we brought you some of our top picks for wedding spots and services in Napa Valley. And given that our Wine County beat has as much to do with Sonoma as it does that region's fair neighbor, we thought it only appropriate to canvass them as well too, for sweet locales and insider tips every bride-to-be planning a wine country wedding ought to know.  Because when it comes to keeping nuptials-inclined couples informed, we absolutely do take our job seriously. 



Best Elopement Package
Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant, Forestville
Sometimes a quickie wedding is just what the doctor ordered - and at critically acclaimed Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant, low-drama romance is always on the menu. In collaboration with Russian River's Iron Horse Vineyards, the luxe Inn offers an all-in package that includes a photographer, the services of a non-denominational minister, a meal with Master Sommelier-selected wine pairings, couples massages and three nights' lodging. In all, it's an easy alternative to the traditional wedding - with wine country flair.

macarthurWeddings.jpgBest Situated Wine Country Wedding Spot
MacArthur Place, Sonoma
Located just off the plaza in historic downtown Sonoma, elegantly appointed MacArthur Place is just a stone's throw from San Francisco (45 minutes) as well as nearby Napa (15 minutes).  And with 35 individually styled guest rooms on-site, your guests can stay right there with you or in any one of dozens of nearby hotels - most of which are walking distance to downtown's vibrant restaurants, tasting rooms and shops. PS: Don't miss the spot's dynamic sculpture garden and award-winning spa.
 

Attn Pinotphiles: La Paulée If You Please! (I Do)

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
lepaulee3.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

For Pinot fans who aren't sufficiently "off" the variety as a result of the slew of recent "Pinotgate" allegations, there is an upcoming tasting in the Bay Area sure to satisfy your every Pinot fantasy.  Enter La Paulée de San Francisco, a now-annual wine and food bacchanal inspired by the namesake grand feast held each year in Burgundy at the conclusion of the harvest.  With a bevy of the best names in French Pinot and Chardonnay - not to mention a stellar lineup of star chefs and sommeliers - on the docket, this year's event looks to be something you won't want to miss.

Sonoma Weddings: Viansa Winery & Vineyards

| | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0)
by Courtney Cochran

Anyone who's seen the sun slip coolly beneath the horizon while its last remaining rays bathe nearby Sonoma Mountain in their quicksilver glow knows first-hand the beauty of Sonoma Valley. Situated just north of the historic town of the same name, the valley beckons would-be wedding parties with its moderate climate, verdant pastures and vineyards, olive and oak groves and decidedly dialed-back pace of life. With its winning location, easy access, amenities and ambiance, could this pastoral paradise be wine country's newest wedding wunderkind?

weddings.jpgSonoma Weddings Spotlight:

Viansa Winery & Vineyards:
Enabling Innovation In "I Do"

Couples who book Viansa Winery & Vineyards for their nuptials snag much more than just a spectacular site on a hill overlooking Sonoma Valley: they also gain access to extensive, all-inclusive planning assistance and the perks of getting hitched on a full-service property.

These details are happily matched by a myriad of lovely festivity sites set against the backdrop of a stunning Tuscan-style villa at Viansa. Awash in Mediterranean ambiance, the winery - founded, natch, by folks of Italian heritage - brings together the best in Sonoma-style hospitality with phenomenal flexibility. Indeed, Special Event Coordinator Laura Johnson Fraize seems equally excited about the winery's extensive nuptials experience (they host some 75-100 a year), and the innovative ways couples have made the site their own over the years.

Ma(i)sonry Adds to Its Art Ensemble

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
iwolk.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Michael Polenske, the Bay Area native who brought us "a life aesthetic" with Yountville's gorgeous Ma(i)sonry - which marries limited-production wines with expertly curated art and furnishings in a stylishly restored 1904 stone building - has added to his art ensemble with the purchase of I. Wolk Galleries.  The acquisition brings I. Wolk's three galleries (St. Helena, Auberge du Soleil, Mac Arthur Place) into partnership with Ma(i)sonry, further articulating the multi-faceted aesthetic vision that art and antiques-loving Polenske has pledged to bring to life in Wine Country.

I Do: Wine Country Wedding Guide: Napa Valley

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
nvWeddings.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

A wedding in wine country promises everything you've always wanted: Romantic photo ops among the vines, world-class food and wine, and access to some of the best hospitality perks you'll find anywhere (reception in a wine cave, anyone?). 

But as every time-pressed bride-to-be also knows, sorting through the thousands of potential wine country wedding locations, packages and service providers is a task that's likely to dampen even the most sturdy bridal spirits.

Fortunately, we appealed to one of Northern California's foremost experts on wedding planning, Jan Brenner of Here Comes The Guide to share her insights on some of the best-kept secrets in wine country weddings. So read on for the inside scoop on the topic - because we wouldn't have anything dampen your anticipation of such a singularly special day!
lux4.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Visitors to Oregon will note right away that things are done differently here. Shop clerks linger and chat while packaging up your goods, traffic moves more slowly and the pace of life seems firmly dialed to the "enjoy the journey" station. This enticingly mellow pace of life, coupled with Oregon's outstanding natural beauty and prolific food and wine culture, make it an ideal destination for foodies, outdoor adventurers and anyone looking to take things down a few notches. Read on for some of our top picks for activities to indulge in chez Portland and beyond, in the storied haunts of the Willamette.

Oregon Itinerary: Willamette North Valley

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
pinotbarrels.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Stop 1: Adelsheim Vineyard

A Willamette tour wouldn't be complete without a visit to well-known Adelsheim Vineyard, which boasts stellar views of the Chehalem Mountains from its newly refurbished tasting room just outside Newberg. Founded in 1971, the winery is run by the affable David Adelsheim, a Willamette wine pioneer whose passion for the area and its world-class Pinots runs deep. It's worth going just to taste the winery's nuanced single-vineyard Pinots - the Ribbon Springs Vineyard ($68) is a standout - though Adelsheim's Willamette Valley-classified bottling ($32) is easier on the wallet and does a better job capturing the full scope of the region's signature aromas, flavors and silky texture.

Tasting Room: 16800 NE Calkins Lane, Newberg, OR 97132. Open daily 11am-4pm (tel) (503) 538-3652
Tasting Fee: $15 for 6 wines
Watch My Video of David Adelsheim at the winery

Tip: Take a picnic lunch and enjoy it on Adelsheim's spacious outdoor patio (bottle purchase will be appreciated as a courtesy for using the space). There are no other lunch options in the immediate area, and you'll want to make sure to refuel in the midst of a full day of tasting.

Wine Country Itinerary: Willamette South Valley

| | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0)
ribbonRidge.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Visitors to Oregon's wonderfully Pinot-centric Willamette Valley will do well to split their tasting excursion into at least two days, as the area's wide open spaces create not only lovely panoramic views but also drives of some distance between wineries. Thus, this itinerary starts in the centrally situated Dundee Hills and meanders from there to the nearby towns of Carlton and McMinnville. Along the way, you'll visit one of the region's best-known (not to mention physically striking) wineries in Domaine Drouhin Oregon, a start-up venture in Scott Paul Wines and the birthplace of Willamette wine in The Eyrie Vineyards. In all, it's a fabulously diverse lineup where Oregon winemaking is concerned - and one just waiting for you to savor.

For more on wineries further north, check out our North Valley itinerary.

Oregon Odyssey

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
oregon_wine_country.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Oregon's famed Willamette Valley - a wonderfully bucolic spot an hour's easy drive from Portland - may just be the anti-Napa Valley. You won't find any medieval castles or Persian Palaces here, though you WILL find no shortage of ridiculously good wine, an incredibly warm people and a far slower pace of life than that in bustling California. So slow down (literally, the police ticket a lot around these parts), take your time and prepare to be awed by the natural beauty of your surroundings, the superb quality of the wines and the kindness of the people serving them. It's not exactly wine country in slow motion, but it's not far off.

And given the hectic pace of our lives these days, this can be a very good thing.

See, Taste, Eat and Sleep!
Portland & Willamette Valley To Do List

Wine Tasting & Itineraries
Top 10 Willamette Wines
Willamette Itinerary: North Valley
Willamette Itinerary: South Valley




New In Napa: August 09

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
EstateCave1_LargeWeb.JPGBy Courtney Cochran

Home to some 300 wineries, Napa Valley is the engine that drives California's booming wine industry. It's also a place where history, art, hospitality and a search for perfection collide to produce some of the most compelling products and experiences Wine Country has to offer. Read on for new developments in this "land of plenty" in our own backyard.

Pure Mendo, Pure Fun

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
Watermelon-Salad.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

Oenophiles looking for an excuse to experience the bounty Mendocino has to offer need wait no longer. The weekend of August 29 and 30, 2009 will see luminaries from the spot known as the greenest wine region in the country open their doors and uncork outstanding wines in support of Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County.  The event is called Pure Mendocino, and it's shaping up to be purely fantastic.
taste_nation2.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

This August 17, Napa's A-list in the culinary and vinous worlds (think celebrity chefs! vintners!) will gather to support Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation, a golf and gustatory-themed benefit being billed as the nation's premier culinary event. Festivities at the day-long event - which will take place that the tony Silverado Resort - kick off with a golf tourney and lunch and continue into the evening at the luxe grand tasting and live and silent auctions, which begin at 5pm.

Categories

Archives