The bright, warm days of summer make way for a variety of fun experiences. In the Willamette Valley wineries stay open late, put on exclusive parties (like our White Party in August!), or host tours of their properties and vineyards.
But there is another must-do winery activity that makes for a memorable event: a picnic.
Charming, simple, and refreshingly elegant, a winery picnic elevates a simple wine tasting trip to an even better experience. Not only do picnics mean delicious food, but there's something about a picnic that brings out happiness and cheer. Add in the sunshine, and you have a blissful afternoon ahead of you.
But what makes the perfect picnic? Here are our top tips for a winery picnic to take your picnic to the next level.
Top Tip #1: Pick your place.
There's a reason we have a phrase with the word location in it three times: location, location, location truly makes the difference for a memorable picnic. And you won't find better locations than in the Willamette Valley. Especially with the views...depending on your vantage points you can see Mt Hood, Mt Jefferson, the three Sisters (on a VERY clear day), and the entire valley at your feet. Breathtaking? Yes. Memorable picnic viewing? Most definitely!
For wineries with spectacular views:
Top Tip #2: Bring water...but leave the wine for the winery.
One of the joys of picnicking at your favorite winery is enjoying your picnic while also sipping your way through a flight of wines. Which makes picnicking at a winery a little bit easier. The drinks are already prepared for you! Just bring water for the group, and a non-alchoholic beverage if you have little ones or non-wine drinkers in your party and you'll be set to go.
Top Tip #3: Bringing your own food is a great idea...but so is taking advantage of local eateries.
If planning and packing your own picnic seems daunting, never fear. Wine country is full of eateries and delis offering food to go. With so many good options, it's almost easier to grab your food and go straight to your picnic winery!
Our favorite grab-and-go eateries:
Top Tip #4: No need for a blanket...enjoy a table!
Most wineries have space outside to enjoy a picnic lunch with your tasting flight. No need to bring a blanket, sit on hard ground, or worry about ants getting into your food. Enjoy a table with comfy chairs and let your picnic worries fade into your glass of wine.
Top Tip #5: Bring Napkins
We don't need to explain this one, do we?
What are your favorite places to picnic? We'd love to hear!
Social Media and Marketing Assistant
Today we're bringing our winemaker, Jacques Tardy, on the blog to give us a quick tour of what's happening in the vineyard and the winery during the hot days of summer. Enjoy!
Things have progressed rapidly in the vineyard since bud break. Bloom which usually happens mid-June was finished by the first week of June.
Because of a slight lack of pollination due to the heat (and a few days over 100F) at the end of May and early June, some flowers didn’t get the chance to open up. Now we have what is called “Hen and Chicks”, with normal size berries and smaller ones that will not swell to full size, limiting the yields but adding a concentration to the wine.
I have not seen any disease in the vineyards, despite the mildew friendly weather. This cool down we have experienced since mid-June is welcome by all, including the vineyard crew, and the vines (Pinot Noir doesn’t really like high heat). Hopefully, it will allow for longer hang time to allow flavors to develop and for a delayed harvest, after last year’s unusually early harvest.
While I was vacationing in France late-May to early-June, our assistant winemaker, Jon, was busy getting the 2014 Pinot Noirs and some 2015 whites ready for bottling and brought in the truck to bottle them the first week of June. All is well that ends well…it turns out he didn’t really miss me or need me (maybe just a little?).
Summer brings plenty of time to dig into a new book with a glass of wine close by. Here are our recommendations for a great summer read...you might even learn something new too!
|Wine in Words by Lettie Teague - The Wall Street Journal wine columnist brings her wit and charm to this book containing a series of essays focusing on five words: acidity, aroma, balance, structure, and texture. While you won't become an expert reading this book, you'll definitely learn how to sound like one. An enjoyable read for newbies and long wine lovers alike.|
|Hungry for Wine by Cathy Huyghe - For the wine lover and world traveler combined, Hungry for Wine will take you on a journey around the world through the lens of a glass of wine. Her essays are a relaxing read, perfect for a summer's day by the beach or pool with a glass of wine in hand.|
|Fed, White and Blue: Finding America with my Fork by Simon Manjumdor - Manjumdor decides whether or not to become an American citizen by eating his way through the country. Visiting Farmer's Markets, restaurants, hunting, fishing, and fully taking part in the varied experiences our country offers, you'll learn not only about the food of our own country but a bit about the people too.|
|Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave - For the fiction lovers, this tale of family business and family bonds is the perfect poolside or beachside read. The complexity of wine and the complexity of relationships blend in perfect union in this book about wine, growth, and the relationships that make and break us.|
|A Natural History of Wine by Ian Tattersall and Rob DeSalle - Written by a paleoanthropologist and a molecular biologist, this book on the history and science of wine is perfect if you've enjoyed wine for a while and want to know a bit more about the intricacies of how wine actually goes from roots in the ground to a drink in your glass. No science degree required.|
What will you be reading this summer?
Social Media and Marketing Assistant
The month of June brought the dire need for white wine, so we showed off each of our white wines and a recipe pairing for each on our social media accounts all month long!
We featured our 2014 Pinot Gris and our 2015 Rosé which both sold out by the end of the month! We still have our 2014 Pinot Blanc, 2014 Viognier, 2014 Riesling, and our newly released 2014 Chardonnay all available for purchase, as well as our 2015 Pinot Gris!
And don't worry, if you missed the recipe pairings, we've rounded them all up here for you. Get your taste buds ready!
You can find them online at the links below or you can print them out. See below for more details.
Each recipe was created by our resident chef Daniel Mason! He has cooked at restaurants all over the world and brings years of experience to our wine pairings. Be on the lookout for more recipes from him soon.
For our 2014 Pinot Gris, pair this Hazelnut Creme for a decadent dessert.
Pair our 2014 Pinot Blanc with your favorite fish in this dish.
Have you ever tried Bacon Jam? Give it a try with our 2014 Riesling for a real treat.
For a perfect summer dish, pair these Coriander Crusted Scallops with our 2014 Viognier.
If you got your hands on our Rosé, try this delicious Salmon Tartare for a beautiful and colorful pairing.
And for a late summer dinner to impress, look no further than our 2014 Chardonnay and this Smoked Salmon Risotto.
To get a printable PDF with all of these recipes, click here!
Social Media and Marketing Assistant