Wine Down Eugene – Special Memorial Weekend Issue May 22-28
As I write this, wineries throughout the South Willamette Valley and Umpqua Valley are preparing for the biggest weekend of the year. Memorial Weekend open houses at the wineries signifies the official kick-off to summer. While some wineries re-open after being closed for the winter, others simply extend their hours and days of operation. Many will be featuring tastings of their newly released wines, library wines; as well as, offering special pricing, food, live entertainment and even children’s activities.
This year, since we are so close in proximity to our neighboring Umpqua Valley wineries, I’ve decided to highlight their Memorial Weekend events in addition to highlighting the events happening at the South Willamette wineries.
Down in the Umpqua Valley, Delfino Vineyards will be featuring a wine tasting social hour just before Portland’s New Iberian Blues and Zydeco Band will take the stage for a live concert on the Delfino’s beautiful estate property. North of Delfino, at stunningly gorgeous Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards, another concert will be taking place with a ’50s – ’60s rock and roll band named Flashback. ’50s style sliders will be paired with the newly released limited edition 2011 Grenache. The amphitheater at Reustle Prayer Rock is one-of-a-kind with views that are truly unmatched. Not too far from Reustle Prayer Rock is Henry Estate Winery, where the entire family is welcome to join in on the festivities. In addition to wine tasting and live music, they will have a bouncy house, miniature golf and a petting zoo. At umpqua’s Melrose Vineyards, a converted 100 year old barn with rustic yet refined beauty houses the tasting room and shop with loads of wine related products. Along with live music and a BBQ, Melrose is celebrating their 11th anniversary. The view of the vineyards and rolling hills beyond is absolutely breathtaking from the porch off the back of the tasting room.
In the south willamette Valley, Winemaker Jonathan Oberlander of J.Scott Cellars will be opening the door to his tasting room located in west Eugene inside an urban-warehouse-style tasting room. Jonathan will be offering samples of his entire line-up of wines. Special guest winemaker Mark Nicholl of William Rose Wines will be joining Jonathan on Saturday and pouring his current releases, as well. Gourmet food truck Gastro Nomad will be parked outside of the winery preparing tasty treats that will be available for purchase for wine-goers. Head a little west of the J. Scott tasting room, to Veneta’s Domaine Meriwether, and all weekend long the Meriwether wines will be available for tasting; in addition to, wines from a featured guest winemaker each day: Ray Walsh of Capitello on Saturday, Mark Nicholl of William Rose Wines on Sunday and Jeff Kandarian of Kandarian Wine Cellars on Monday. There will be live music and BBQ foods available for purchase, and the best part about Saturday is that Ray Walsh will be releasing his unique Straw Wine, the first of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve been following Ray’s making of this wine since I first spotted the drying grapes on straw mats inside Domaine Meriwether last October, and I’m looking forward to trying my first-ever straw wine.
If you never made it to the Eugene Wine Cellars tasting room located in the Whiteaker Neighborhood (across the street from Wandering Goat), this is your chance to check it out after they closed their tasting room to the public six years ago. This location has mainly been used for distributing their wines from the winery that’s connected to the tasting room. This weekend, Eugene Wine Cellars will welcome wine enthusiasts back inside their Whitekaer tasting room to sample the line-up of their B2 wines, and they will continue to welcome guests Wednesday through Saturday from 4 pm to 8 pm and by appointment through the summer. Another urban winery that’s not too far from Eugene Wine Cellars is Territorial Vineyards and Wine Company, and they’ll be offering case discounts along with live music Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Memorial Weekend events at the wineries abound, so check the side bar listing of featured events for everything that is happening in both the South Willamette and Umpqua Valleys.
Remember to take a moment and raise a glass to those who have fallen in battle fulfilling their obligation to this great country in which we live. The freedoms that we enjoy everyday are protected and ensured by men and women who have put their lives on the line to protect our country and what it stands for. Once I’m out swirling, sipping, and savoring all that our stellar local wineries have to offer, I’ll be sure to raise a glass to our American heroes.