If you haven’t been to Sarver Winery yet, I have two words for you. Go now.
Sarver winery is about a 30 minute drive from Eugene’s city center, just south of Fern Ridge Reservoir. Their cottage style tasting room with the ultimate view is inviting and casual, yet elegant. Sarver’s grand opening was the first weekend of August, 2010, so it’s one of the newer wineries of the South Willamette Valley, but there’s nothing about their spectacular wine that says ‘new’. Owners Chris and Erin Sarver have come a long way…literally. Their journey began as owners of a small brew pub on the shores of Lake Superior in a town of 300 people called Grand Marais, Michigan.Erin and Chris first met each other at the Lake Superior Brewing Company, Erin had just returned from Madrid as a wandering musician and Chris had owned the brew pub for about 5 years. Chris, his brother and his father made wine in their home, and because of their backgrounds in engineering, wine making was much more than a hobby: the wines they produced were genuinely enjoyed by friends and family. In 2006, Chris and Erin made 75 cases of Napa Cabernet, fermenting the grapes in Napa and then trucking in the barrels to their small winery operation in Michigan. Chris and Erin both shared a passion for wine, so this mutual passion led them to their search for the perfect vineyard where they could begin a new adventure in their lives. Although Chris and Erin didn’t know anyone in Oregon, they came out to take a look at Elhanan Vineyards and it was love at first sight; they immediately called it home. Elhanan Vineyards was originally established by the McKinney’s in 1984 and is home to some of the Willamette Valley’s first premium Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir plantings. Bob and Betty McKinney planted 20,000 vines on 35 acres and sold their grapes to well known wineries throughout Oregon. In 2008, Chris and Erin packed up their belongings along with their then newborn, Eve, and headed west to establish Sarver Winery at Elhanan Vineyard. For the next couple years, they tended the vineyard and turned the woodshop into a gorgeous tasting room that looks out over the vineyards. They offer an extensive selection of wines from a fruity and tropical estate grown Sur Lie Aged Pinot Gris to a Yakima Valley full bodied peppery Syrah. One of my favorites is their highly complex and earthy Napa Petit Sirah.
Everyone, including kids and non-wine drinkers, can enjoy time spent at Sarver Winery. The Sarvers make homemade root beer, iced tea and lemonade, and they always have a keg of local beer on tap. Their cheese and fresh meat menu is extensive and alluring, and includes items like fresh pâtés and gourmet salamis along with international and local cheeses. 6 oz. glass pours (yes, that’s right, 6oz.) range between $5 and $8.
So, not only do I say, “Go Now” because of their incredible wine and the unobstructed views of the Coburg Hills, Spencer Butte, and – on a good day- the snow capped beauty of Three Sisters, but they have a Spring Wine Sale happening right now. Both of their stellar Pinot Gris’, the Sur Lie aged and the Estate Grown, are 40% off. So, treat yourself before it’s all gone, they make less than 500 cases of each of their superb wines, and they’re making room for their next delicious vintage.
Winter/Spring hours: Friday-Sunday noon-8pm
25600 Mayola Lane
Eugene, OR 97402
Sarver Winery is on Facebook and Twitter.
Julia – Writing about Eugene’s Wine Scene
Post Author: Julia Crowley.