Wine Down Eugene


Wine Down Eugene February 5-11

The Eugene Fermentation District is now in full swing.  Openings of new urban tasting rooms and wineries, distilleries, a possible cider house and a long standing fermentation center are the core of what is contributing to Eugene’s new-found awesomeness – and it’s all happening in the eclectic, colorful and undeniably funky neighborhood that we all love – the Whiteaker, also known as The Whit.

Fermentation District logo

Surrounded by creative new and established eateries, bakeries and bars, businesses of the fermentation kind that are a part of the Eugene Fermentation District include Kore Kombucha, Ninkasi Brewing Co., Hop Valley Brewing Co., Territorial Vineyards & Wine Co., Falling Sky Pour House Deli, Heritage Distilling Company, Home Fermenation Center, Oakshire Brewing & Pub, Eugene Wine Cellars, Blue Dog Mead, the Oregon Wine L.A.B. and the newest addition, Capitello Wines and Tasting Room.

I recently had the opportunity to spend time at both the Oregon Wine L.A.B. and Capitello Wines and Tasting Room.  Within walking distance of each other, both establishments have their own unique characteristics, ambiance and, of course, stellar wine.


Chef Elizabeth created savory Beef Empanadas, paired with Abacela's '10 Tempranillo
Chef Elizabeth created savory Beef Empanadas, paired with Abacela’s ’10 Tempranillo

The Oregon Wine L.A.B. (Local. Artisan. Brands.) is a place where guys and gals can gather to enjoy owner Mark Nicholl’s William Rose Wines; as well as, other local brands like Keeler Estate Vineyard, Bodner Wine Company and a selection of local craft beers.  Australian born Mark has local bakery, Noisette, making authentic Aussie meat pies that he’s selling in the tasting room, the music that echoes throughout comes from a classic record player that spins a variety of vinyls, and he rents out a room that looks over the tasting room for everything from wine classes to business meetings.  Just last week, I joined in on a class presented by Wine Exploration & Food Pairing for Women that highlighted wine and food pairing basics with a focus on the wines and foods of Spain.

Owned and run by wine expert Roxanne Watson and personal chef Elizabeth Stuart, this was the second class in their series of original classes that include education mixed in with fresh ideas, excellent food, a variety of wine and lively conversation between like-minded women.  Some upcoming classes include The Truth Behind Wine Rankings with a focus on German wines and foods, Selecting and Purchasing Wines with an Italian theme, and the one I’m most excited about, the Sparkling Wine class scheduled for February 20.

Capitello sign at tasting room

Just down the street and around the corner from the Oregon Wine L.A.B. is the new Capitello Wines and Tasting Room.  Hard to miss, the old Lord Leebrick Theatre now adorns the Capitello sign with the logo’s signature crescent moon and stars, outer walls painted in an eye-catching cheery yellow, shuttered windows with box planters, and a wine colored entrance.  Wood floors and warm tones are inviting and cozy, and the wine themed furniture and leather couch are just a few touches that create an excellent ambiance.  A barn-style sliding door that leads from the tasting room to the winery has one of the coolest handles I’ve ever seen: a large wrought iron corkscrew, finished off with a Capitello cork on the pointed end.

I enjoyed a stellar glass of the Capitello Olivia’s Cuvée Brut Rosé and followed up with a tasting of both the Willamette Valley and Marlborough, New Zealand Capitello wines.  What a fun tasting; totally contrasting, yet absolutely delicious Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs – two of each varietal from two completely different regions.  It’s a great way to discover one’s own palate preferences through experiencing regional characteristics.  Owner and winemaker, Ray Walsh, is truly a seasoned and talented artisan that produces high quality, exceptional wine.

The striking corkscrew handle that adorns the slider door in the Capitello Tasting Room
The striking corkscrew handle that adorns the slider door in the Capitello Tasting Room

Follow me over to my award-winning website,, for detailed tasting notes on each of the Capitello wines; as well as, a recollection of the wines and foods I thoroughly enjoyed while attending the Wine Exploration & Food Pairing for Women class.

Check out the Oregon Wine L.A.B. at 488 Lincoln Street and Capitello Wines and Tasting Room at 540 Charnelton Avenue.  Pick up a map of the Eugene Fermentation District at either location.


Julia has been in the wine industry for nearly 20 years. First through creating European wine tours, then opening her own wine bar, Julia loves writing about food & wine on her website,

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