May is Oregon Wine Month, a border-to-border celebration of one of the state’s greatest craft creations. There’s plenty to do to honor and enjoy the Willamette Valley wine scene nearby but in the spirit of entire community, we’re encouraging guests to travel even farther for a new, cellar-worthy treasure.
Home to holidays, rapidly-growing vineyard rows and the state’s biggest wine weekend, May is a fantastic time to get a jumpstart on summer and sip some of Oregon’s best wines.
At ROCO in nearby Newberg, sparkling wine and Pinot Noir are king. But winemaker Rollin Soles and Co. also make some remarkable Rosé. On Saturday, May 2nd, the label showcases a handful of Rosé expressions, from varying vintages and featuring different grape blends. Tasty bites accompany the flight and the day will also see the release of the highly-anticipated latest vintage of ROCO’s Brut Rosé, a wine made for spring.
Mother’s Day is May 9th and one of the best ways to treat ma is to a festive and seasonal brunch. Red Ridge Farms, set a short drive away atop the Dundee Hills, hosts a farm-to-table affair led by Chef Jesse Kincheloe of McMinnville’s Valley Commissary. Stick around after the meal to tour the grounds, take in views of Mt. Hood and explore the nursery and estate-made specialty goods, like olive oil.
In the southern end of the valley, enjoy a Chardonnay vertical curated by Benton-Lane. The winery, set in the small outpost of Monroe, will pour from four consecutive vintages of Chardonnay, a variety that’s challenging Pinot Noir for Oregon’s most beloved wine export. Winemaker Michael Hammond will be on hand to field questions and offer barrel samples of the forthcoming 2019 Chardonnay.
Memorial Weekend in Wine Country takes place Man 23-25th, a three-day toast to Willamette Valley wine culture. The appellation’s largest event of the year features special tastings, entertainment, food pairings and tours at countless wineries and tasting rooms throughout the valley, from Portland to Eugene. Wine country locals see the holiday weekend as an unofficial greeting of the next great vintage in the vineyard as well as a chance to revel in finished wines in tasting rooms, restaurants and wine bars all over the area.
Spring will have us all blowing the dust off of our picnic baskets and thinking about hillside feasts in the afternoon sun. Cristom hosts a picnic on Saturday, May 30th, fit with Bunk Sandwiches, wine flights, live music and even a falconry display. The picnic unfolds at the Salem winery’s stunning Eileen Vineyard, bookended by two mountains ranges in the Coastal Range and the Cascades.
We love being in the heart of the Willamette Valley, but the wine-soaked fun stretches well beyond. We encourage guests to extend their stay, for a proper day trip to the coast to a wine-adoring restaurant like Restaurant Beck in Depoe Bay. Or, plan a full day of tasting and beautiful Columbia River views in and around Hood River. The wine scene in the Gorge continues to grow and the drive there is very scenic.
There are fantastic appellations beyond, too, like The Rocks District in northeast Oregon and the Rogue and Applegate Valleys in the southern part of the state. If you can’t make it that far, look to area bottle shops like Woodward Wines and restaurants like Bistro Maison that celebrate everything Oregon wine has to offer.