Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Willamette Valley Wine Country

 The Willamette Valley Wine Country is located about an hour south of Portland, Oregon. If you've spent any time around here, you know that wine tasting is one of my favorite things to do. So on our two week RV trip around Oregon, I knew that wine tasting was going to be on the itinerary. We visited four wineries in the Willamette Valley - and despite the dreariness of the day, I truly enjoyed it.

First things first. Willamette is pronounced Willam-ette (rhymes with dammit - like Willamette dammit) and not Willa-mette which is how I was pronouncing it before I went there. The wineries here are known for some of the best Pinot Noir's in the world. And there are over 500 wineries in the Valley so you can probably find one that suits your tastes. Here are the four we visited:

Rex Hill Winery
Rex Hill Winery is located in Newburg, Oregon and is specifically known for it's Pinot's. The wine tasting consisted purely of Pinot's - which isn't my favorite - so I didn't participate. So to say this one wasn't my favorite would be correct. (I've only been to one other winery that had one kind of wine to taste - Croteaux on Long Island with it's Rose- so I wasn't prepared that it was only Pinot) But everyone else who tried it liked the wine - and it was a beautiful tasting room with old world charm. If Pinot is your thing, then Rex Hill is your place.( It's been voted one of the "6 Best Wineries to visit in Oregon"  - so what do I know?)

Penner-Ash Winery
Penner-Ash Winery has a beautiful setting with an award winning building in Newburg, Oregon. They specialize in Pinot Noir, Syrah and Reisling. Run by a husband and wife team, including Lynn Penner-Ash, who was one of the first woman winemakers in Oregon, their winery is sustainable and is a gravity-flow estate with 360 degree views of the Willamette Valley. The fireplace was heating up the inside, but the adirondacks were calling our name outside. We didn't do a tasting here but chose a glass of wine to enjoy outside instead. 

WillaKenzie Estate Winery
WillaKenzie was a unique winery and experience. It's a family owned winery with wines named after the owner's European family members and ski slopes. He passionately believes that "dirt matters" and that Oregon is the best place in the US to grow grapes and produce wine. Named after the two rivers in Oregon - the Willamette and the McKenzie - WillaKenzie, like most in Oregon, is known for it's Pinots. We all did a tasting here that was conducted by one of the most passionate employees at a winery that I've ever been around. She gave us the history of the vineyard, the owner, his family and the wines. It was quite comprehensive. If you're interested in wine making, get yourself to WillaKenzie. You'll be fascinated. And if you really want to do something different, WillaKenzie is included on a wine tasting by helicopter tour called Tour de Vine by Heli. The price starts at $399. Per person.

Fairsing Vineyard
Our last winery of the day was Fairsing Vineyard, which was my favorite. Located on the top of a hill with beautiful views, adirondack chairs and a labrinyth outside it's door, Fairsing  - which means bountiful in ancient gaelic - specializes in pinot's and chardonnay. Unfortunately, we arrived about 10 minutes before the last pour so our visit was rushed. I did do a tasting and Fairsing had my favorite wines of the day - along with the experience. I would definitely go back - and hopefully have time to enjoy.

How about you? Have you been to Willamette Valley Wine Country? Like their wines?

I'd love for you to follow me on:

Linking up with: Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox, The Weekly Postcard at Travel Notes and Beyond,Wednesday Around the WorldOur World Tuesday, and The Weekend Wanderlust Weekend Travel Blog Party!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Looking forward to 2018 - travel plans and a blogaversary!

It's been five years since I started this blog on a whim - and I've truly enjoyed sharing my travels here. This blog serves as my travel diary. I love looking back over the year and seeing where I went - who I visited - and all the wonderful places this planet has to offer. And I truly appreciate all of you who take time out of your busy lives to stop by here - thank you, friends! 

And with that, let's look ahead to travel plans for 2018 - 

The Beach A Month Club
Mr. UR has come up with all our big travel ideas. He thought up the 50 States by 50 Years idea - wherein we traveled to all 50 states by the end of our 50th year. He came up with the Every Other Christmas at Our Kids Place idea. And he had the excellent Mystery Trip idea as our daughter's graduation from college present. His newest vacation idea is the Beach A Month Club. He proposed that we - as beach lovers - spend at least one day per month at the beach. We're going to try to make that happen. Some beach visits will be weekends, some will be just a day and some - hopefully - will be longer. Some may be a stretch - and some may be amazing. Our first scheduled beach trip is in the spring when we are visiting the Florabama shore - Pensacola, Florida and Gulf Shores, Alabama for a long weekend. Let's roll the dice and see how we do....

A Mystery Trip
Our daughter graduates from grad school in the spring. And just as we did when she graduated from her undergrad studies, we're taking her on a Mystery Trip.(She went to college in Pennsylvania and moved home for the summer after graduation. We made the drive home into a "mystery trip" stopping someplace new along the way every day) She and her dad love this stuff. Me - I like a little more control of where I'm going. But I love planning mystery trips. So I can't tell you where we're going. But she's gonna love it. And I'm so glad that she still likes to travel with the old 'rents! (You can read about the first mystery trip here)

The Mr. made a business trip to Europe several years back and missed going to Oktoberfest due to logistics. He's wanted to rectify that ever since. In fact, it's been at the top of his travel wish list for quite some time. That, and the fact that Bavaria is his favorite area of Europe. So plans are in the works to attend Oktoberfest for our first time - and my first time to Germany. Prost!

I hope to balance these trips out with visits with friends and family. Our youngest will be home from Korea for two weeks in February, my mom turns 90 in March and we will proudly watch our oldest daughter graduate in May from NYU. Along with that, our son and his girlfriend just got engaged so we can start talking wedding planning. Fingers crossed that there may even be a trip to watch the Ohio State Buckeyes play football in the fall with friends. All sound wonderful!

So I hope you'll all stop back here to check up on where I've been, where I am and where I'm going. I hope to give some travel inspiration and ideas to those of you that want - or need - it. Happy 2018! And happy travels!

Linking up with: Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox, The Weekly Postcard at Travel Notes and Beyond and The Weekend Wanderlust Weekend Travel Blog Party!