Wine Tour to the Willamette Valley

How long has it been since you visited the Oregon Wine Region? I’ve been to Portland but never south to visit wineries, so it was high time to visit! So I consider myself lucky to have been invited to celebrate a good friends birthday in the Willamette Valley Wine Region south of Portland, Oregon.

First stop – Portland! We met up the birthday girl at the Jupiter Hotel, had dinner and wine at their Doug Fir Restaurant and visited the Bar Vivant Champagne Bar for Bubbly, Sherry and Tapas.

 

The next day we got up early, and drove 1 hour south of Portland to the Willamette Valley.

Instead of seeking out a hotel or camping, try this family, couple friendly resort smack in the middle of wine country. The Vintages Trailer Resort – was a nice upgrade from camping, it was casual and relaxed and you have the choice of vintage holiday trailers that have been updated inside for max comfort. Included were cruiser bikes, a bbq and an outdoor “deck”. As well, there are shared showers, a pool and hot tub and general store.

And just 20 minutes by bike along a path from this resort is Dayton, a very small town with a few restaurants, its quaint. But here are some of the wineries we visited within 5 -15 minutes away by car from the resort…

Roco Winery – with a focus on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – it was their cool climate style Chard that won me over! I love this balanced style, it’s so approachable!

De Ponte Cellars – I wanted to go visit here because I read they were growing Melon de Bourgogne (Muscadet) which is not common in this area. It was well made, and a great representation of the grape! yummy.

Purple Hands – found right off the main road, this little beauty had a lineup of Pinot Noir from different vineyards, a treat, as it really showcased what the soil in the area.

Sokol Blosser – Not only a lovely winery to taste, but to sit down and enjoy the view, snacks and a glass of wine! My favourite was their Sparkling Rosé from Pinot Noir.

White Rose – Definitely a must, not just for the view but the wines are top-notch, small batch and naturally made Pinot Noir. Finessed and elegant.

Shea Wine Cellars – another stellar winery making pristine Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from single vineyards.

There are soooo many wineries, we really only hit a few. This is Pinot Noir and Chardonnay country but I think you’ll discover some talented winemakers experimenting with new varietals and just making beautiful Pinot Noir and Chardonnay! Discover and enjoy what the Willamette Valley has to offer!

Happy Wine Tasting!

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A Mexican Food Adventure (Part I)

Many people know me as someone who works in the Wine Industry, writes about wine, shares on social media and travels. But, not many know that I started my career in Tourism and Travel. I actually worked at my Mom’s Travel Agency (Vista Travel Olds) after finishing College. I took continuing education courses to become a Certified Travel Consultant a few years later. I’ve worked full time to part time and casually every since.

When I worked full time, it was hands down, the happiest job I’ve had – sending people on a vacation, guarantees way more smiles than it does frowns! So all of this to say, travel is in my blood and I’d say I do it well (now). There is however, always room for improvement ;).

In early May, I attended a conference with my Mom just south of Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Because these years I’ve worked “outside of Travel”, I’ve secretly  been working with my Mom and her office in some way, shape or form!

a stop at Vino Volo at the Airport for wine & pizza

So I decided to fly via Hamilton, Ontario (to see cousins), then hop on a non-stop flight to Cancun and spend 48 hours on my own, touring and soaking up the sun before my Mom arrived!

Because, why would I NOT do this?!

So let me start by sharing about my time in Hamilton, Ontario. No typing error. Hamilton. Yes, the former steel city that can resurrect itself as an artsy, culinary destination. My cousins are avid foodies and adventurers, and just moved to the area within the last couple of years from Toronto. So they of course planned a culinary tour (Donita style) of Hamilton for us!

Stop #1 – a visit to the Hamilton City Market. A great place to get inspired for cooking at home and discovering local small vendors making yummy things, including local wines!

 

Stop #2 Radius for Lobster Poutine & Korean Fried Cauliflower along with a cocktail to kick things off. A casual and big space, fun menu and definitely turns into an evenings spot to enjoy drinks and dinner. Loved the exposed Brick and atmosphere.

This photo of Radius is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Stop # 3 – Berkeley North for Mushroom Dumplings, Shishito Tempura Peppers and a rotating fresh in-season menu with a vegetable focus & a good little wine list of local and Int’l wines. Try the Leaning Post Winery Chardonnay from Niagara Wine Region and/or the Sunset Winery Dolcetto from Italy. This was one of my favourite stops. It’s a smaller restaurant with intention in what they create in the kitchen and what they have on their wine list. 

Stop #4 – Brux House for a beer flight and Tamarind Rum Pork Ribs and Miso Hoisin Brussel Sprouts and dessert. I am not sure how we still had space to eat more, but we did! A great place in an old house, with a bar and seating downstairs or upstairs. Delicious food and a great place for beers!

That was a fantastic culinary and drinking tour of Hamilton! Don’t underestimate this comeback city!

Part II will be all about Playa del Carmen, Mexico!