Memorial Day weekend is the turning point of the season, making short days of rain and cold a thing of the past. It’s a weekend filled with optimism, looking forward to long days spent outside. Oregonians have a special appreciation for the sun and the many ways we get to enjoy it in the summer months. We also have an appreciation for the fruits of our land and the fine drinks they produce. Usher in summer as you taste new wines and tour vineyards throughout the lush Willamette Valley on Memorial Day weekend.
Gov. John Kitzhaber gave a nod to the wine industry in 2012, when he dedicated May as Oregon wine month. The peak of celebrative wine drinking culminates at 150 Willamette Valley wineries over this holiday weekend. Willamette Valley Wineries Association has all the must-know details about the wineries that will pop their corks and open their doors to connoisseurs and wine newbies looking for the newest summer releases.
Explore the stunning vineyards that produce world-renowned wine wonders. Tasting rooms and cellars will showcase recent vintages, and winemakers will share the stories behind their wines. You won’t want to miss it. You will gain access to insider knowledge on the winemakers’ processes, and can try wines that aren’t normally available to the public or haven’t been released yet. Enjoy the vineyard atmospheres with a picnic at one, a game of bocce ball at another, live music down the road and art displays farther along the route. Then take in the view from some the many stunning patios, glass in hand.
From older vintages to smaller production wines, the excellent array of crisp Pinot gris, the region’s flagship Pinot noir and countless other varieties are sure to keep any oenophile satisfied. Even if you’re not an expert, this is the weekend to experience all that Oregon wine country has to offer—the rolling valleys, richly green surroundings and world-class wines are worth the trip. Soak up the sun, stroll through the vineyards, sit back and relax, and enjoy thoughtful food pairings. Cheers to summer!