Memorial Day Weekend & Wine

In Oregon, it is has become tradition for the bevy of local wineries to open their doors to the public to kick off the summer wine tasting season. Many of the wineries put out a spread of yummy foods and some even have live music. This April marked our one year anniversary as Oregonians and we decided to hit the road and head out once again into the beautiful heaven that is the Willamette Valley's wine country and home to the some of best Pinot Noir in the world. We went last year and we were a little too enthusiastic. We decided to go to five wineries which proved to be a little rushed and also a little (scratch that, a lot!!!!) too much to drink, although we went with our friends Joe and Tracey and it was, as spending time with them always is, a total blast.

This year we picked a different approach and decided to pick one winery that we were really interested in and then maybe stop at one or two others on the way, packing a delicious picnic of fruits, cheese and chocolate to enjoy along the way. There are so many wineries in the Willamette Valley just minutes from where we live that you can hardly drive a mile without coming across one or two. We thought it would be laid back and more of an adventure and it proved to be, what I would consider a perfect day:) Being out there amongst the vines, the beautiful scenery, mountains in the background....

We started out at Cherry Hill Winery, which was the one I was really excited to go to. They consider themselves a boutique winery because they produce a limited number of cases per year, although business is good and they are growing fast, as you can see from the vineyard pictures. I'd been wanting to try their wines for quite some time, but they are a little pricey so going to their tastings provides a great opportunity to taste some great wines that you wouldn't normally splurge on. Some of them, like Cherry Hill also waive the tasting fee if you buy a bottle. Cherry Hill proved to be our favorite of the day. All of their wines were fantastic, but their 2004 Papillion Estate Pinot Noir stood out to both of us and we bought a bottle for our next special occasion. They also have created a really laid-back environment with funny signs everywhere and an atmosphere that makes you feel comfortable, no matter your level of wine knowledge.

Pictures from Cherry Hill

baby pinot grapes

When I'm feeling sad about having no social life in Salem, all I have to do is drive 15 minutes out into the country and I remember why I was so drawn to this beautiful place. It is truly my heaven. Total sublimity....

The next wineries we visited were Left Coast Cellars, which was having their grand opening and Orchard Heights. Left Coast Cellars had some yummy Pinots and a really good Chardonnay (imho) but Orchard Heights was a little disappointing although they did have a horseshoe pit on the premise so we took advantage of that which was really fun. Note: Jeremy whooped my butt.

Pictures from Left Coast Cellars


  1. Thanks for the lovely trip through the Willamette Valley wine country. It is breathtaking; the flowers, the mountains, the wide open spaces, and the vines themselves. Felt like I was there with you. If only I could taste the wine....It was a fun trip.

  2. What a beautiful place to be! I must say though - I haven't had a taste of Pinot Noir since my weekend in FL for the Holman-Tiller wedding ~ :\.
    I need one of those elderly crossing signs for my neighborhood! tee hee
    And PS - Sarah - still waiting for that bad picture of you that you were going to post for Jeremy.(if there is such a thing!!)
    I really do enjoy looking at your pictures and reading what you are up to!
    LOVE YOU!!!

  3. Your pictures could have been taken in the Bordeaux region of France. I just love the rolling hills and scenery in Valley. So glad you were able to do a Memorial Day weekend mini wine tour. So much better than spending the day at a tag sale! ;o)

  4. OMG...those signs are too funny! Sounds like your Memorial Day was a lot more fun than ours (In the car all day)