Cranberry & Rosemary White Christmas Sangria

Sangria is a crowd favorite and is very easy to make in large quantities. Most people think of it as a summer classic, but when paired with cranberry and rosemary, it’s the perfect cold season beverage! Ready to be a holiday hero?

Oregon Win | Rainstorm Pinot Gris

 

Photo via SheKnows

Start with a Great Foundation

Often sangria-lovers will opt for lesser quality wines: if they are making bulk sangria and covering the taste with fruit and sugar anyway, what does it matter, right? Wrong. The wine should be able to stand alone.

The simpler the recipe, the better. If we do not have to cover the taste of low quality wine with added sugar, our end result will be a little less calorie-dense (we all know we were going to have seconds, anyway). Your sangria will also taste cleaner and crisper. We recommend carefully selecting your wine for this recipe. Choose a fine Oregon wine as your sangria base. You (and your guests) will be thankful for the results.

Oregon’s mild temperatures create ideal growing regions, and many types of grapes are grown here. Oregon wine, in particular pinot noir and pinot gris, are by far some of the most popular in their class. Rainstorm pinot gris is a top choice for sangria, because its fruity tones and aroma pair perfectly with the apples and strawberries you will cut up for this cocktail.

Rainstorm pinot gris are bone dry and refreshing. They will not overpower nor be ignored.

For this Cranberry and Rosemary White Christmas Sangria, you will need

  • 1 bottle of Rainstorm pinot gris
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup fruit juice (we recommend grape)
  • 12 oz club soda
  • Fresh cranberries
  • Sprig of rosemary (wonderful for taste and presentation)

Combine and allow to sit and cool – and don’t forget to add some more rosemary for garnish. This drink is gorgeous, festive, and easy to make.

Don’t Miss the Festival of Lights at the Grotto!

Oregon is home to many year-round, world-famous festivals. This corner of the Pacific Northwest is a hub for foodies, Oregon wine enthusiasts, and powder-chasers alike. One must-see attraction this Christmas season is the famous Festival of Lights at the Grotto in Portland. It is known as the largest Christmas choral festival in the world! Do not miss this!

Wines from the Pacific Northwest | Rainstorm

The Grotto is well known for its gardens and gorgeous masses. This popular festival includes about 160 choral concerts, caroling, petting zoos (we all want to see the new baby camel coming this year, am I right!) and much more!

During the holidays, it can be hard to keep the true meaning of Christmas alive. The holidays can become more about frantically shopping and stress-eating gingerbread cookies than about shared quality time. The Festival of Lights is a wonderful activity that highlights the wonder of Christmas. Whether you’re beholding the wonder with children, family, friends, or strolling through for some peace and solitude, you’ll be delighted.

With 600-seat chapels that produce chilling acoustics, family-oriented activities, and gorgeous scenic walks to enjoy, it would be difficult to be a Grinch this Christmas after enjoying the Festival of Lights. It is the type of wondrous experience that stays with you throughout the season.

The spirit of of the season comes alive when the Festival opens the day after Thanksgiving, and it continues until December 30. It is located right in Portland– great for those vacationing to the area. It is conveniently close to the local vineyards that Portland natives and tourists love.

Experiencing wines from the pacific northwest is another vacation must-do; the varying climate conditions create diverse selections of grapes. Before filling up on the holiday-themed food and drink at the Festival of Lights, be sure to check out the vast selection of Oregon wine to enjoy during your seasonal festivities.

Best Ski & Snowboard Resorts in Oregon

Skiers and snowboarders flock to Oregon to enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and terrific year-round conditions. What will you discover on our snowy peaks?

Wine from Willamette Valley | Rainstorm

Accessible Trails

Powder-chasers wanting to pass on the tradition to their children often choose Oregon, since its variety of mountains range from beginner to expert. At many resorts, children under 5 ski free. This is a great way to introduce the next generation to the addicting sport.

If you have always wanted to try a snow sport but have been too nervous, Oregon is a great entry-level vacation spot where the mood is relaxed and the resorts are easy-going. Lessons are available at many of the resorts if you need an intro or refresher.

Excellent Conditions

Several of Oregon’s most famous ski areas are located on volcano Mount Hood. And with a climate that produces amazing snowfall with mild temperatures, even those who are not cold weather enthusiasts can have a great time.

If you do not have time to visit the popular wine country in Oregon, you can enjoy a little apres ski with local wines from Willamette Valley, which are available near most popular ski resorts, such as Willamette Pass. Bonus: this unique ski and snowboard area boasts one of the steepest runs in the world. Just ski then indulge!

Another favorite way to enjoy the terrain is through night skiing offered at many Oregon resorts. This is a beautiful way to appreciate nature (and squeeze a few more runs into your day). For those of you who might enjoy relaxing in the lodge instead of on the slopes, Oregon is also known for its innovative cuisine. Paired with delicious Rainstorm wines and gorgeous nature scenes, post-ski leisure is just as exciting.

There’s truly something for everybody. After spending the day on the slopes, don’t forget to to sample delectable wines from Willamette Valley and discover more of what Oregon has to offer.

Wine Country Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, start a new tradition. After you’ve stuffed yourself with turkey and pie, let the smorgasbord continue with Willamette Valley’s Wine Country Thanksgiving. Forget Black Friday; this is the way to spend the day after Thanksgiving. And the day after that and the day after that, because this event runs through the whole weekend! It’s the best way to sample some of the best Willamette Valley wines with family and friends who have come together for the holiday.

Willamette Valley Wines | Rainstorm Pinot Noir

What is Wine Country Thanksgiving? It isn’t a new event; in fact, it’s in it’s 35th year.  But every year brings something new, and 2017 will be no different. More than 150 wineries will be participating, each opening their doors and their cellars to the public for an immersive experience that combines education, food and wine pairings, and of course, ample tasting opportunities.

This is a fantastic way to indulge in some (or, better yet, all) of the fine Willamette Valley wines. Sweet whites, medium-bodied reds, dry rosés and everything in between – whatever your tastes are, there’s a wine for you. It’s also the perfect time to try some varietals and vintages you might not have the opportunity to explore normally.

Of course, Thanksgiving weekend isn’t just about wine. It’s also about spending time with the ones you love. That’s what makes Wine Country Thanksgiving so special. It’s not just your average wine festival or tasting event. It’s a way to connect and celebrate with family and friends, and maybe even make some new friends along the way.

So make Wine Country Thanksgiving part of your holiday tradition. Kick off the festivities with a bottle of Rainstorm pinot noir (the unofficial wine of Thanksgiving!), then head out to the wineries of your choice for a tasting extravaganza!  And this year, when Aunt Ethel asks what you’re thankful for, you can proudly declare, “Willamette Valley wines!”

10 Parks to See Foliage in the Fall

The best part of autumn is seeing green leaves change into brilliant shades of scarlet and gold. Oregon is one of the best places in the U.S. to see this annual transformation, and nothing beats a foliage excursion capped with a picnic featuring fine Oregon wine. Ten parks to make the most of beautiful fall colors:

Oregon Wine | Rainstorm Wines

  1. Mt. Hood Scenic Loop: At 146 miles, this scenic drive provides plenty of autumnal viewing options. The Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood may be the focal points of the trip, but the abundant trees with their stunning fall colors are the real stars of the show.
  2. Forest Park - Just west of downtown Portland, Forest Park is home to an extraordinary amount of flaming maple trees. The Maple Trail Loop Hike is the best way to enjoy the splendor, so strap on some comfy hiking shoes.
  3. McKenzie River - Here, you can enjoy the fall foliage on foot or by car. Hiking trails along the riverfront are the perfect place to take in the warm fall colors. For those who prefer to enjoy the scenery from their vehicle, the McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway winds around colorful aspen stands that will give you a brand new appreciation for the season.
  4. Washington Park – Right in the heart of downtown Portland, Washington Park may not be your first guess for amazing fall foliage, but you’d be making a mistake to skip this one. Between the trees at the Hoyt Arboretum and the Portland Japanese Garden, you’ve got a feast of autumn color to enjoy.
  5. Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway - The 172-mile route hugs the Upper Rogue and North Umpqua Rivers, both of which are lined with beautiful trees dressed in their autumn best.
  6. Drake Park - This Bend, OR park is a fall must. Mirror Pond holds true to its name, reflecting the brilliant colors of the maples and willows that fill the park and giving you double the beauty.
  7. Lithia Park – Lithia Park covers 93 acres in Ashland. In addition to the “usual suspects,” like maples and aspen, you’ll see some different species, like the Japanese snowbell and European beech.
  8. Upper Klamath Basin - The oaks are the real stars here. Other autumn performers include maple, aspen, and red alder.
  9. Silver Falls State Park – The Trail of Ten Falls is the spot to be, and hiking along this path will introduce you to color like you’ve never seen before.
  10. Willamette Valley, aka Wine Country – People don’t normally associate fall foliage with wine country, but Oregon’s Willamette Valley is still host to some of the season’s most phenomenal color shows. While the stands of white oak have given way to vineyards, the warm browns and yellows of the season can still be found throughout the Valley – along with delectable Rainstorm wines.

Autumn’s dry, crisp, dynamic flavor pairs perfectly with complex, diverse, and “colorful” taste of a great Oregon wine. Enjoy.

The 5 Best Airbnb Rentals in Portland, Oregon

From incredible natural scenery to lively entertainment and decadent foods and local Oregon grown wines, Portland is a fantastic vacation spot. Making sure you have the perfect homebase from which to enjoy the city is key. Here are the 5 best Airbnb rentals in the city; grab a glass of Rainstorm pinot (the perfect complement to vacations!) and start planning.

 1. Saul Zaik Treehouse – Located in the middle of the 193-acre Marquam Nature Park, this treehouse was made for people who want breathtaking 360 degree views. Hiking trails crisscross the park, and the city amenities are just a short drive away. Or you may be content to just relax in the treehouse, which is an architectural wonder in its own right.

cntraveler_treehouse-living2. The Mud Hut – This 1-bedroom earthen hut is completely hand-built. It’s lighted by candles and heated by a wood stove, perfect for those looking for a more rustic experience. The hut is surrounded by a large garden, and its private and serene setting make it ideal for unplugging and unwinding.

Oregon grown wines3. Garden Oasis – Within walking distance to Mississippi Avenue, this garden guest house is perfect for couples who want city accessibility and a private, relaxing retreat. The bungalow is situated amidst a lush garden and features 300 square feet of indoor living space, as well as a private patio. A cozy, tranquil place to recharge after experiencing Portland.

Rainstorm Pinot4. Zen Loft - It’s hard to believe the Zen Loft was once just your average garage! The owners used a mix of reclaimed wood and steel to create a peaceful, modern hideaway right in the heart of Portland, and there are tons of extra amenities to boot. The loft is an entertainer’s dream, with a huge kitchen and a large accordion door that opens to the patio, creating a massive indoor/outdoor space. There’s also a fireplace and a hot tub – the perfect spot to enjoy an Oregon grown wine.

The best Airbnbs in Portland to bring some Rainstorm Pinot.5. O2 Haus - For those concerned about their carbon footprint, staying at O2 Haus is a must. This property is a net-zero passive home, relying on solar panels and airtight insulation to keep the property comfortable. Guests have a private bedroom, but share common spaces with the owners, longtime Portlanders who can recommend activities, restaurants, and more.

Oregon Grown Wines


Your choice of lodging is one of the most important considerations when you go on vacation. In Portland, you have tons of options, but these 5 Airbnb rentals are truly some of the best. Whatever you’re into, whether it’s outdoor activities, nightlife, or just staying in to unwind, there is a rental that will be perfect for you. Just don’t forget to pack your favorite Rainstorm pinot.

Feast Portland

Feast Portland is one of life’s must-have experiences. You may be thinking, “Isn’t this just a food festival? What’s the big deal?” The big deal is this: it’s not JUST a festival. It’s a movement. A revolution. It’s a gathering of some of the most innovative chefs and mixologists, preparing creative and inspired dishes and drinks in one of the culinary world’s trendiest locations: Portland, Oregon.

Oregon Grown Wines | Rainstorm Wines

The best part? You can enjoy it all. Every bite, every sip, every moment. From locally produced cheeses to complex Oregon grown wines and everything in between, Feast Portland is an adventure your taste buds can’t afford to miss.

This year’s program features some of the hottest culinary contributors from Oregon and beyond, all serving up deliciously compelling foods and drinks. The Main Events for 2017 include the Sandwich Invitational, Friday & Saturday Grand Tastings, Night Market, Smoked!, and Brunch Village. Each of these themed events has a lineup of chefs, vintners, artisans, breweries, and others crafting their finest edible delights, resulting in an immersive experience that both foodies and newbies will love.

In addition to the Main Events, there are also Fun-Sized Events, which aren’t quite as large scale, but certainly don’t lack in explosive and tantalizing flavors. The Dinner Series is another option for festival-goers looking for an upscale experience (although a couple of the featured events in this category are a bit more rustic!). There are also hands-on, interactive classes led by chefs, as well as the Drink Tank series featuring a variety of alcohol-infused sessions guaranteed to be the best learning experience you’ve ever had!

In case you needed more reasons to make the trip to Portland for the event, your participation in Feast also helps those in need. This year’s proceeds will go to Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, which works to raise awareness about hunger, connect Oregonians with nutritious food, and implement programs for hunger prevention.

When September rolls around again, make Feast Portland plans. While you’re in the area, don’t forget to imbibe local with a variety of Rainstorm wines!

Why You Need to See This Corn Maize at the Pumpkin Patch in Oregon

Fall and pumpkin patches go together like peanut butter and jelly — or better yet, Rainstorm pinot and a perfectly grilled steak. Not just any pumpkin patch will do, though. It has to be the perfect patch, with ripe pumpkins and gourds of all varieties, beautiful surrounding scenery, and a few other attractions to enjoy before picking out your prizes.

Oregon Wine|Rainstorm Pinot

Located just 15 minutes from downtown Portland, The MAiZE at the Pumpkin Patch has been attracting visitors since 1998 with its corn labyrinth and plentiful pumpkins. This isn’t just any corn maze, though. Covering 8 acres, the maze has over two miles of twists, turns, and dead ends that confound about 30,000 explorers each year.

The aMAiZing (couldn’t resist) MAiZE is divided into two phases. The first is a warm-up, designed to get your body and brain in gear for phase two, which is more challenging. There are no maps in this maze, but fortunately for visitors, MAiZE staff is on hand to hand out trivia cards with clues for completing the task. There are also two observation bridges that look over the maze and the surrounding countryside.

To keep things fresh, the maze is redesigned each season based on a new theme. This year’s theme celebrates 50 years of Fun on the Farm. There are also hayrides, a giant hay pyramid for kids to explore, and the Patio Cafe serving up grass fed beef burgers and homemade seasonal treats.

This year, make a new fall tradition by visiting the MAiZE at the Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island. There’s so much to do here, and there’s no better way to get into the autumn spirit. Tackle the MAiZe and sample some local favorites.The Pumpkin Patch is a leader in the local food movement, so don’t forget to cap off your perfect day with some delicious Oregon wine, grown, harvested, and perfected right in our abundant backyard!

The Best BBQ in Oregon

Quick: name states renowned for their barbecue. Missouri. North and South Carolina. Georgia. Florida. Oregon. Wait. Oregon? Yes! The Beaver State is an up-and-coming BBQ dynamo. Just visit Cindy Lou’s, and you’ll see (and, better yet, taste) why.

Rainstorm wines explains where you can find the best BBQ in Oregon.

This Salem gem is quickly gaining traction as a local hotspot for amazing barbecue. Think pulled pork, brisket, hand chopped slaw….paired with a delicious Rainstorm pinot noir, this is a meal you’ll be thinking about for days afterward.

The story behind Cindy Lou’s is as juicy as its baby back ribs. Named after owner Christopher Sarff’s mother, Sarff got his start not as a chef, but as a construction worker. After a few years building houses, Sarff decided to make a career change and began delivering bread overnight in the Portland area. He also launched a food truck, selling hamburgers and other lunchtime favorites. He quickly became a hit with the locals.

But Sarff had his sights set on BBQ. Destiny intervened when Sarff entered a contest to win a brand new food truck. After being drawn as a finalist, he put his skills to the test in a cook-off against four other worthy contestants, winning the top prize and taking home the truck.

Cindy Lou’s was born. The truck was parked in Happy Valley, where lines of customers formed every day to get a taste of Sarff’s homemade barbecue favorites. Many of his top treats are based on his mother’s recipes. Everything in Sarff’s mobile kitchen is made from scratch, and he loads his specials up with local ingredients. All the rubs, sauces, and side dishes are created daily with care.

Last spring, Sarff decided it was a time for a change, though. Not to his incredible recipes, thankfully, but to his location. Sarff wanted to be back in his hometown of Salem. And he wanted Cindy Lou’s to become Salem’s premier BBQ joint.

With his barbecue selling out every day, it’s safe to say he’s done just that.

If you want to get a taste of Cindy Lou’s BBQ, you can find it Monday through Saturday, 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, at Beehive Station in Salem. Our advice? Get your order to go so you can take it home and enjoy with your choice of Rainstorm wines – a truly winning combination!  

Would You Try This Mountain Slide on Mount Hood?

Summer is starting to wind down, but the fun on Mount Hood is still in full swing. The highlight? The half-mile Alpine Slide, which will send you rocketing down the mountain, twisting and turning through flowery meadows until you reach the bottom. Cap off your day with a chilled bottle of Oregon Pinot and you’ll experience the best the state has to offer – adventure and relaxation!

Bring your Oregon pinot to Mt.Hood and dare try this slide.

Okay, so what is the Alpine Slide? It’s a dual track slide built right into Mount Hood and featuring some of the craziest hairpin turns and S-curves this side of the Sierra Nevadas. The ski lift carries you to the top of the slide, and from there, you just hop on a sled for a thrilling mountain-style roller coaster ride! Most people average about 20 mph, but one thrill-seeker managed to clock in at 37 mph – we’re guessing they didn’t even so much as tap the brakes on their ride down the mountain!

Some more quick stats on the slide:

  • 2,640 feet long
  • 350 foot drop in elevation
  • Constructed of fiberglass with a protective gel coating – it’s made for speed!

You’re welcome to take on the Alpine Slide solo, but most people like to share in the fun with family and friends. The folks at the park welcome groups, too, and have even been known to host wedding parties who want to capture some especially unique memories as they head down the slide.

While the slide is a huge attraction for the Mount Hood Adventure Park, the park also offers up mini golf, zip lining, go karts, bungee jumping, and tons of other warm-weather activities.  It’s a great way to spend the day.

Oregon’s unique terrain grants us endless gifts. From the Alpine Slide at Mount Hood to the cool, hilly vineyards from which Willamette Valley wine is born, there is an abundance to see, do, and taste!