Heart of Willamette Valley 4th Annual Barrel Tour: Feb. 15


On Saturday, February 15, the Heart of Willamette Winery Association is hosting its 4th Annual Barrel Tour.

Sit back and relax on a guided bus tour and taste great wines from the Heart of the Willamette Valley.  This year, six wineries will be showing off their wines paired with the winery’s favorite appetizers.  Learn from the winemakers how the nectar of the gods is made.

Brigadoon in snow
Brigadoon’s tasting room looking very cozy covered in snow | Brigadoon Facebook page

Participating wineries include:
Spindrift Cellars, Airlie, Benton-Lane, Brigadoon, Emerson Vineyards & 3 Fools.

Take advantage of this excellent offer by stopping at any Heart of Willamette winery to purchase passes or buy them on line at

Winery Tour passes are $75 per person which includes a souvenir wine glass, bag of local snack items, and transportation.

Saturday, February 15, 2014
Check in at 9:45 AM

Benton County Fairgrounds
110 SW 53rd
Corvallis, OR 97333

The tour includes visits to 6 local wineries at 5 locations.  Each winery will serve 3 wine selections paired with the winery’s favorite appetizers.  Guided tour transportation from Corvallis will be by charter bus and will highlight the area and vineyards.

Discover Brigadoon Wine Co. Memorial Weekend


Last December, I was lucky enough to be gathering last minute Christmas dinner items from Market of Choice at the same exact time Chris Shown, owner of Brigadoon Vineyards, was in the store offering samples of his ’09 Pinot Blanc and the ’09 Lylee Pinot Noir. I had heard about the new Brigadoon Wine Company, but had not had the chance to try their wines; so I eagerly tried each of the Pinot’s.

Brigadoon Lylee Pinot Noir savored on Christmas day

Both the Pinot Blanc and the Pinot Noir showcased South Willamette Valley’s beautiful fruit with perfection. The Pinot Blanc was complex, yet crisp and refreshing with melon and citrus tones, and their Pinot Noir was earthy and creamy with a hint of dark cherries and spice. I was clearly impressed with both of their outstanding Willamette Valley Pinot’s, and I decided to take home the Lylee Pinot Noir, noting that it would be a perfect match with my dinner party’s main course, a Honey Baked Ham.

Vineyard Welcome Sign

The Ham and Pinot Noir pairing was a big hit with my dinner guests, and everyone wanted to know more about Brigadoon. It was then that I decided I would need to visit the Shown family vineyards to find out more about their operation. After hearing of the Shown’s plan to open their property to wine lovers this Memorial Weekend, I decided it was time to take the quick, scenic drive through the beautiful countryside to the outskirts of Junction City to meet with Chris and learn about Brigadoon Wine Company.

At Brigadoon Wine Company we share a family commitment to fine wine and sustainable agriculture; the journey from field to glass.” –Chris Shown

Chris Shown in the vineyard

Brigadoon Wine Company is a family owned and operated business. Chris, his wife, and two sons all have vital roles in making Brigadoon a success. As Chris and I, along with the two family dogs, started our walk around the lush, gently sloping and serene vineyard property that is neatly tucked within the foothills of the coastal range, I learned that Chris’s love for the land and the wine industry began in 1970 on his father’s Napa Valley vineyard in Rutherford, Shown & Sons Vineyards.  Since childhood, Chris knew he was a farmer at heart and would someday be working in his own vineyards. In 1990, Chris moved his wife and two young boys to Oregon, and he managed Benton-Lane Vineyards.

Farm to Table

Meanwhile, Chris and his wife, Sheree, were searching for their own vineyard property, and in 1991, they purchased the property that is now Brigadoon. Chris and Sheree knew at first sight that it was going to be the perfect place for growing grapes. Their 66 acre farm straddles a creek, and on one side of the creek with eastern exposure, they’ve planted 2 ½ acres of Pinot Noir and a ½ acre of Riesling. The side of the creek that faces west has 3 ½ acres of Pinot Noir, 4 acres of Pinot Blanc, and 4 ½ acres of Rootstock. Chris’s son, Matt, who is the winemaker, joined us for our walk. Matt grew up on the Brigadoon property following his dad through the vines and watching him meticulously tend the land and vines all while practicing hands-on sustainable farming methods.

Pinot Noir vines at Brigadoon

Matt believes that because of his dad’s hard work in the vineyard, he can create beautiful wines with minimal intervention, which he’s proved he can with recent recognition and awards. Matt earned a Horticulture degree from Oregon State University and then followed with enology classes taken at Chemeketa Community College. Matt said his passion with winemaking comes from being involved in all the processes–from spending time in the vineyard to perfecting the result in the bottle, he loves what he does.

Chris & son Matt with family dogs

Chris‘s younger son, Nick, recently graduated from a college in Maine with a degree in Environment Studies along with an emphasis in Forestry, and throughout his years in college, he returned home each summer to help with vineyard development. Currently working on organic farms and dairies in Oregon and Sweden, he hopes to someday fully integrate farm to table fundamentals at Brigadoon.

The creekside dock in winter

Sheree does the sales and marketing; however, she’s known for her exceptional food and wine palate, and truly enjoys pairing Willamette Valley wines with food grown on their farm, so she also believes in the farm to table dynamism. The family’s involvement and commitment to the success of Brigadoon unequivocally shows in their wines; they’ve been LIVE (Low Input Viticulture & Enology) and Salmon Safe certified for seven years, and they recently won a Double Gold Medal for their ’08 Pinot Noir from Oregon Wine Awards-Oregon’s Premier Wine Recognition program. They were also one of only 14 new wineries to be selected to pour their Pinot Blanc and Lylee Pinot Noir at the 2011 Portland Indie Wine Festival. Current releases include the Double Gold winner ’08 Pinot Noir, ’09 Lylee Pinot Noir, ’09 Pinot Blanc (only 90 cases produced!). Not yet released is a ’09 Tap Root Pinot Noir along with a Riesling that will be available sometime in 2012.

View from the future tasting room

As Chris, Matt, and I, along with the dogs, headed down the road from their home towards the creek-side dock and picnic area, I realized this is where they will be pouring their recognized and award winning Pinot’s for their Memorial Weekend Open House, “a Pinot-Picnic in the Park”.

Encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chairs and a picnic basket, you’ll have the chance to enjoy the great outdoors while sampling the Shown family’s delicious wines: their ‘09 Pinot Blanc, ’08 Pinot Noir, ’09 Lylee Pinot Noir, and their not-yet-released ’09 Tap Root Pinot Noir. They will be open Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 11am-4pm.

Although they’ve marked off a pristine area above the vineyards to be slated for a near future tasting room that will have a stellar view of the layered, rolling hills and Coastal range, Memorial Weekend will be your chance to see their magnificent property and taste their award winning wines prior to the completion of their tasting room. You’ll be sure to find me sitting creek-side, taking in the fresh air, and enjoying a Picnic and a Pinot this Memorial

Weekend at Brigadoon. Cheers!


The Inspiration

Some of you may be wondering, like I was, “Why Brigadoon and not Shown Vineyards or Shown Family Estate Wines?”  Chris explained that the name was taken from his and Sheree’s favorite Broadway Musical: Brigadoon. The musical tells the story of a mysterious Scottish village that appears for only one day every hundred years, though to the villagers, the passing of each century seems no longer than one night. The enchantment is viewed by them as a blessing rather than a curse, for it saved the village from destruction. According to their covenant with God, no one from Brigadoon may ever leave, or the enchantment will be broken and the site and all its inhabitants will disappear into the mist forever.



Two American tourists, lost in the Scottish Highlands, stumble upon the village just as a wedding is about to be celebrated, and their arrival has serious implications for the village’s inhabitants as one of the tourists falls madly in love with a villager. [i] It’s a heart-warming love story that takes place in a mystical, magical land of preserved, un-touched beauty. It’s easy for me to imagine the landscape in Brigadoon looking relatively similar to the landscape that graces the Shown family home and vineyards:  lush, gently rolling hills of wildflowers and grapevines, with the occasional valley mist drifting through. Brigadoon is quite befitting.


Brigadoon Wine Co. Vineyards
25166 Ferguson Road
Junction City, OR 97448

Julia – Writing about Eugene’s Wine Scene

[i] Wikipedia

Which Winery Will Wine Down Your Memorial Weekend?



Benton-Lane Winery

Memorial Day Weekend Winery Open Houses
May 28th, 29th, & 30th

Blue skies and warm days are on their way, and local wineries will be swinging their doors open for one of the South Willamette Valley’s highly anticipated and most celebrated 3 day wine events: Memorial Day Weekend Winery Open Houses. It’s the official kick-off to the summer season at the wineries; featuring, special releases, barrel tastings, live music, artisan treats and an endless flow of their locally, hand crafted wine- from Pinot Noir and Petit Syrah to Huxelrebe and Sweet Rosé. Each winery entices us to head their way for a number of reasons, so here’s a list of what they’ll be indulging us with this 2011 Memorial Day Weekend:

Benton-Lane Winery: Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 11a-5p. $10 admission includes logo glass and gourmet tapas. Live music with Jerome Monaco Saturday and Sunday- 12:30-4:30p. Gourmet Pizza Tapas on Monday. Also hosting the new Ebony Wines-grown in Oregon’s rockiest vineyards!

Brigadoon Wine Company: Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday 11a-4p. Enjoy a Pinot-Picnic in the Park. Bring a lunch, chairs or a blanket & sample the Shown families 3 delicious Pinot’s while relaxing in a beautiful park-like setting at the Brigadoon Wine Co. property. FREE admission

Chateau Lorane's Lake Louise

Chateau Lorane: Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday 11:30a-5:30p. $10 admission includes logo glass (free under 21). Taste over 20 different wines, live music, art festival, delicious food available for purchase provided by Flavors Catering. All this on the shores of the beautiful Lake Louise! Rain or Shine.

Domaine Meriwether: Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday 11a-4p. $10 fee for 4 tastes of wine and a plate of food. Live music

Capitello Wines will be featured at Domaine Meriwether!

Iris Vineyards: Open Saturday, Sunday, Monday 11a-5p. Free wine tasting all 3 days! 25% discount on case purchases, including mixed cases.

King Estate: Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday. New releases & restaurant open daily for lunch and dinner.

The deck at LaVelle Vineyards

LaVelle Vineyards: Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday, enjoy live performances by the 5 piece band-‘Concrete Loveseat’ on Sunday and Monday. Delectable food will be catered by Field to Table.

Noble Estate Vineyard & Winery: Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday 12-5p, live acoustic music Saturday & Sunday. $5 tasting fee which includes 6 wines- fee waived with a bottle purchase.

Pfeiffer Winery: Open Wednesday – Monday 11a-5p, offering Italian Chocolates & appetizer’s with wine tasting. Private Pinot Clinics will be held in the Grotto every 90 minutes. Owners Robin and Danuta Pfeiffer will be your guides with barrel tasting of their 2010 Pinot Noir Futures and official release of the highly anticipated 2008 Blue Dot Pinot Noir Reserve. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy their water garden falls and streams.

RainSong Vineyard: Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday 12-5p. Featuring new releases, 20% case discounts, complimentary hors d’oeuvres, and barrel tasting! Admission is FREE.

The tasting room red barn at Saginaw Vineyard

Saginaw Vineyard: Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday 11a-5p, but open late Friday for live music with Timothy Patrick 6p-9p

Silvan Ridge Winery: Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday 12-6p wine tasting, live music, sales on wine; Sat. 2-5p “The Valley Boys” Live; Sun. 2-5p “Just Say Yes” Live; Mon. 2-5p “Apropos” Live. FREE admission

Sarver Winery: Open Saturday, Sunday, Monday 12-8p, complimentary tastings paired with cheese and chocolate.

Sweet Cheeks Winery: Open Saturday, Sunday, Monday from 12-6p, Live Music by “Taste”, food available for purchase, wine specials, and an art festival. New vintages of Rosy Cheeks and Riesling will be available & admission is free

Territorial Vineyards & Wine Company: Friday 6-9p live music; Saturday 3-9p live music starts at 6p; Sunday 3-7p; $7 tasting fee for flight of 7 wines. Light snacks.

Opine Cellars wines will also be available to sample at Territorial.

We are truly blessed to be in the midst of these unparalleled wineries of the South Willamette Valley. Thanks to the efforts and hard work of all the people involved in meticulously planning these fun-filled Memorial Day Weekend events, there will be loads of fun to be had by all.

But, know this: Before I blow off the dust from my flip flops and sun-glasses, and unpack the boxes that have housed my favorite t-shirts and shorts for the last 8 months, I’ll take a moment to remember those who have fallen in battle fulfilling their obligation to the great country in which I live. The freedoms that I enjoy everyday are protected and ensured by men and women who have put their lives on the line to protect my country and what it stands for.  After a moment of silence and heartfelt gratitude so deserving of our military, I’ll be ready to swirl, sip, and savor all that our stellar local wineries have to offer, and I will raise a glass to our American heroes.

Cheers to my Dad, my hero: Lt. Col. Maurice H. Leiser, 1954 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. Dedicated to God, his beloved family, and the United States Army–he is forever in my heart. 1931-2009.

Julia – Writing about Eugene’s Wine Scene