Let’s Talk About Outdoor Wine Tasting.
It’s that cozy time of year when the mist often lingers and the vines are quiet as they rejuvenate. It can be a magical time here in the Willamette Valley. Even with various restrictions in place, many wineries are open this Cellar Season and you can experience Outdoor Wine Tasting–most requiring appointments. While many have some sort of covered area and heat source–whether its a permanent patio structure or a makeshift tent–I recommend bundling up and taking a blanket or throw to fully enjoy your outside wine tastings.
Outdoor Wine Tasting at Fairsing Vineyard
Reservations required as of February 2, 2021.
Sustainably Farmed * Meticulously Crafted * Elegant Wines
Located north of Lafayette and an easy 25 minute drive from A’ Tuscan Estate, the view from Fairsing Vineyard offers 360º sweeping vistas of the Willamette Valley and beyond. When guests ask for recommendations with great views, this is always on the list. They currently have limited outside seating near the lovely outdoor fireplace pictured above.
I tend more towards red wines (and bubbles!), but the Fairsing 2018 Chardonnay is one I can sip all day long. Per the tasting notes, “this estate Chardonnay opens with a bouquet of Meyer lemon cream, butterscotch and lighter earthy tones. The palate expresses a good degree of tension with bright tree fruit flavors and a soft, generous texture. The long, cream and mineral-driven finish lingers.” Suits my palate!
“Fairsing means bountiful in ancient Gaelic, reflecting the plentiful resources of the large, diverse site. There are numerous ridges with deep intervening draws, acres of new and mature forest, streams flowing year-round and abundant wildlife. Visit and experience the beauty and bounty of Fairsing Vineyard.”
“We continue to care for this land with sustainable agricultural practices to ensure that future generations can also enjoy its bounty.” – Sláinte, Mary Ann and Mike McNally
Durant Vineyards’ Outdoor Wine Tasting Experience
Reservations required as of 2/2/2021.
Durant Vineyards at Red Ridge Farms offers a multitude of activities to enjoy. Located north of 99W and east of McMinnville, you can make it from A’ Tuscan Estate in just 15 minutes. Obviously, as the pictures above depict, you can enjoy wine tasting under their tent with plenty of heating options. We were plenty comfortable with a blanket over our laps as we sipped our favorite of the day–Cardinal Pinot Noir.
Per the Wine Enthusisat, 2015 Cardinal presents a nose of spice, dark cherry, blueberry cobbler, cigar box, and leather, this wine boasts complexity. The palate brings a bright structure that is complemented by clove, ripe raspberry jam, and red fruit notes which evolve mid-palate. Plum, cedar, earth, and savory tones dance elegantly with hints of caramel and brown sugar for a finale that is both smooth and complex.” The Ava Roan is also a big hit with my peeps. And, if you find that you need some sustenance while you enjoy your wine, they offer this lovely–and large–charcuterie board which varies daily.
Once you have tasted through your wines and platter, they also have the Olive Oil Mill with scheduled tastings, the Red Ridge Nursery, the Pantry as well as an outside trail. They also offer specialty workshops of varying topics all throughout the year. This is another stop with lovely views.
Reservations required as of 2/2/2021
The view at Brooks is stellar from their deck and/or patios where you can enjoy some great wines. The history of Brooks Wines is a true story of collaboration throughout the Willamette Valley that typifies this region to it’s core. I never get tired of hearing, and telling, how so many came together to continue one man’s legacy.
Along with this feel-good story, you get to gaze upon five mountain peaks (on a super clear day): Mount Hood and Mount Jefferson tower over the Valley, Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens also are within sight and, on occasion, you can see all the way up to Mount Rainier in Washington State. The drive south from A’ Tuscan Estate is under 25 minutes and well worth the visit. Along with enjoying the wine and the view, Brooks offers a monthly dining menu so plan to go for lunch!
Reservations required for outdoor seated wine tasting as of 2/2/2021.
Located adjacent to Champoeg State Heritage Area, Lady Hill tasting room and winery are situated on the same family land farmed since the 1850s. ”Blessed with a bounteous lineage of female family members, Lady Hill Winery is a tribute both to the family farm that has been home to the Zorn-Owen ancestors since the 1860s, and the long, lady-laden ancestry of the Zorn-Owen family.” This winery serves up open air live music on the weekends so make your reservation, grab a blanket and take the 30 minute drive southeast of A’ Tuscan Estate and enjoy a great afternoon/evening of wine tasting and music.
NW Food & Gifts has Outdoor Wine Tasting
Seating is first come/first served as of 2/2/2021.
Here’s a great way to enjoy McMinnville’s Historic Third Street as well as a variety of Oregon and Washington wines. NW Food & Gifts is a gem of a shop that carries locally made gifts, gourmet foods and fine wine and beer in the heart of Oregon wine country. You can taste through their daily line-up of hand-selected boutique wines (usually 5-7), many from lesser known or smaller producers within Willamette Valley and Washington State.
The staff is knowledgeable and relaxed. If you’d rather just purchase a glass from the wines open for tasting or grab a bottle of your favorite (well, ONE of your favorites) those are both options. The cooler is also stocked with local beers, ciders and non-alcoholic beverages. And, this place is only 5 short blocks from A’ Tuscan Estate!
The patio tables are covered and have heaters. The sidewalk tables, while they do receive some heat from the patio, do not have coverage. Again, bring a lap blanket and enjoy the afternoon. NW Food & Gifts allows outside food to be consumed at their tables while you imbibe, so grab a pizza or burger from Hotel Oregon or Third Street Pizza for dinner while you sip that fine wine! I mentioned earlier that I love bubbles…well, they carry ROCO Winery RMS Brut Rose…and sometimes, they even have it available by the glass! One of my favorites! Cheers!
Thanks for perusing through my list of just a few 2021 Cellar Season Outdoor Wine Tasting options. A great resource for Willamette Valley winery information is Willamette Valley Wineries Association. They tend to have the most thorough and up-to-date information regarding wineries throughout Willamette Valley.