COMMENTARY

Tasting Season in Full Bloom

By Hilary Berg, OWP Managing Editor


Throughout Oregon Wine Country, flowers have blossomed, buds have broken and the summer tasting season has begun.

Memorial Weekend officially kicks off this exciting time of year. In fact, the three-day holiday is something of an institution.

Wineries, big and boutique, open their doors and bottles for eager tasters. While some tasting rooms are open year round, there are those that open their cellars only during this and Thanksgiving Weekend.

You can taste the latest releases and library wines or quaff right from the barrel—this is one of the key times to sign up for futures if you like what you sampled from the wine thief.

Many wineries serve up catered bites, along with a number of winery-made hors d’oeuvres, like KathKen’s “famous” meatballs, St. Innocent’s handcrafted cassoulet, and let’s not forget the mounds of cheese and charcuterie that will tempt you at nearly every stop.

There’s live music—jazz, Latin, classical and rock. And some places like Cubanisimo, encourage dancing; they’ll have Salsa for those who like to shake a leg.

If sports suit you more, Memorial Weekend has that, too.

Carlton Hill has a chamomile-turf croquet court; Ponzi and Cana’s Feast both have bona fide bocce; and Stoller has a Frisbee golf course that will have you driving and putting ’til sundown. For avid spectators, there’s a hang gliding and paragliding fly-in, the Grapes of Wrath Star Thistle Competition, at Southern Oregon’s Fiasco Winery. With 31 years experience in the extreme sport, the winery’s owner/winemaker, Dave Palmer, will be showing guests how it’s done.

With all the different activities, the real focus, of course, is on the wine. From cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, to the warmer Viognier and Syrah, you can taste dozens of varieties that will please every palate.

For those of you who have never witnessed the tasting frenzy of this spirited weekend, it’s a lot of fun, but there are a few key things to remember; writer Riggs Fulmer has some tips that we’ve interspersed throughout the OPEN HOUSE LISTINGS that will have you quaffing with confidence.

Be safe, have fun, buy some wine and, most importantly, remember to take this issue of OWP along; with over 300 Memorial Weekend listings, you won’t find a better guide for the holiday. Cheers! 

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