There’s nothing better than spending a crisp, fall afternoon talking with friends and listening to great music in the beautiful outdoors, while sipping a delicious glass of Oregon Pinot Noir.

I recently had the opportunity to do just that, by taking part in Ankeny Vineyard’s Harvest Party in Salem. When I first arrived on the gorgeous grounds of Ankeny, it felt like I had immediately stepped out of the hustle and bustle of the city. Luscious green fields and miles of blue sky surround the quaint vineyard, in addition to Ankeny Wildlife Refuge and Cox Cemetery. It is the perfect location to escape your to-do list and fully relax.

When I first arrived, the delicious smells of seafood and the sounds of laughter filled the air. I traveled toward the outdoor patio area, where I was immediately greeted by Hershy, the vineyard dog. Hershy spent the majority of the afternoon mingling with guests and guarding the driveway leading up to the festivities. Hershy even has a wine named after him, complete with an adorable mug shot on the label (which is an absolutely delicious red wine). Once I arrived in the tasting room, my friends and I filled our glasses and chatted with the vintner himself about each wine. We then ventured outside where Celtic music filled the air, and hot salmon chowder and shrimp cocktail waited to be devoured.

One of my absolute favorite parts of Ankeny winery is its close-knit, community feeling. You can stop by randomly on a Sunday afternoon, and spend an hour talking to the owner about his favorite wines. Or strike a conversation with a stranger while comparing tasting notes. My personal favorite is Ankeny’s Pinot Gris- this delightful white wine pairs perfectly with pasta and chicken dishes. I would highly recommend visiting this vineyard, especially during its festivities.

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So get out there, and start tasting! Oh, and be sure to give Hershy a pat on the head for me…

~Ashley Moran, Travel Oregon

Editor’s Note: For a host of exquisite wine and culinary events throughout the state, check out – just pick a region and click on “winery events.”

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