November in Oregon brings a quiet beauty. The vineyards in the rolling hills of the Willamette Valley turn to gold. Mist hangs in the Siskiyou Mountains above the Applegate Valley, and the quietly flowing Columbia River reflects the steep cliffs of the gorge. It’s time to gather with family and friends for the holiday season, and Thanksgiving in Wine Country gets it all started.
We talked to Ryan Reichert, Ask Oregon Wine Expert, about how to enjoy this special weekend.
Why is Thanksgiving in Wine Country such a uniquely Oregon tradition?
It started back when the industry was very young and has grown in popularity. Many wineries are only open to the public on this weekend, and others pour new releases or unique wines. It’s a great opportunity to visit wineries that you might not typically have access to. And it’s a nice way to kick off the holiday season with friends and family.
What special events can people enjoy?
There are passport tasting books, winery tours, wine flights, great food and wine pairings and vineyard tours.
What are some of your favorite wineries in Oregon?
Top three: Trisaetum, Seven of Hearts and Grochau Cellars. If I’m in the mood for something out of Southern Oregon I’d go for Folin Cellars or Abacela. Columbia Gorge — Phelps Creek Vineyard, hands down.
Where will you be going this Thanksgiving Weekend?
I’ll probably end up in Carlton to visit friends and will taste around town.
Dining in wine country: If you are in Newberg, check out the new award-winning JORY restaurant, located inside The Allison Inn & Spa. In Hood River, stop for lunch at Nora’s Table. Enjoy a delightful picnic basket from Downtown Market Co. in Medford for lunch al fresco.