Guests enjoy a ride in the classic 1969 Land Rover at Rain Dance Vineyards in Newberg.##Photo courtesy of Travel Newberg
Rain Dance’s new tasting room offers three settings, including the farmhouse pictured. ##Photo courtesy of Travel Newberg

Land Rover, Land Rover

Send thirsty guests on over

By Jade Helm

Hang on to your wine glass and prepare for a wine country safari at Rain Dance Vineyards. With your explorer khakis and matching brimmed hat, you can climb inside the winery’s Jurassic Park-like classic 1969 Land Rover for a tour of the Newberg property.

Up to six guests can join Rain Dance owner/founder Ken Austin on a journey through the winery’s estate vineyards atop the Chehalem Mountains. Each stop will include tasting of single-vineyard wines and stories from Austin about what makes each vineyard special.

The tour begins at the new tasting room located in view of The Allison Inn & Spa. As owners of the hotel and vineyard land surrounding the estate, Ken Austin, with his wife and business partner, Celia, intends to embrace the history and connection between the two properties. Just as the Austins enjoy preserving classic automobiles, the couple also poured some TLC into renovating their historic tasting room.

Originally built in 1916 as a residence near the now-defunct railroad that served the region so many generations ago, the estate offers three settings. Inside the members-only farmhouse, guests can enjoy homey parlors and the covered porch while tasting library wines. The carriage house includes wines by the flight, glass or bottle; its French-style doors welcome wine country breezes and non-members, too.

While most people spent the quarantine binging Netflix, Ken Austin was hard at work, woodwork. Both the farmhouse and carriage house contain his handcrafted tables made from Douglas fir. His love of woodcraft and penchant for preservation is also evident in the array of established native trees, a highlight of the surrounding landscape. These natural beauties can be admired from the open patio, complete with umbrella-shaded tables and a cozy firepit.

To enhance the tasting experience, Rain Dance has partnered with The Allison’s critically acclaimed Jory Restaurant to create small bites, plus cheese and charcuterie plates for hungry guests throughout the property.

All wines on the tasting menu are made from estate fruit. Rain Dance farms 70-plus planted acres, selling 70% of the fruit, and keeping their favorites for estate bottlings.

Currently, guests can sample the elegant and inviting 2020 Grand Oak Vineyard Rosé of Pinot Noir with fresh red fruit flavors. The 2016 Lee’s Vineyard Chardonnay is oaky and full-bodied — the vineyard is named after a beloved neighbor and veteran, Lee Anderson; a $5 donation to Home for Troops is made for every bottle sold. Sourced from the Foothills and Eagle’s Watch vineyards, the 2019 Estate Pinot Noir Cuvée tastes of dark fruits and woody spice. The personal favorite, 2018 Estate Pinot Noir, comes from the original estate vineyard planted in 2009. Rich and complex, it pairs wonderfully with the Jory cheese assortment. For a fun mix, Rain Dance also produces estate Riesling and Gewürztraminer.

Those who visited the previous Rain Dance tasting room at the foothills of the Chehalem Mountains might be wondering about their furry friends. The Austins are known for raising championship llamas and have a herd of 120. Most will stay home in the field, but a few might be making an appearance outside the new farmhouse location.

The wine country safari just got a little wilder.


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