Wine Serving Temperatures

Most people seem to automatically assume that wine temperature works like this: reds are best served at warmer temps, and whites are to be chilled. Well, it’s a bit more complex: there are temperature distinctions that should be made among different types of wine in order to bring out optimal flavor. So pour yourself a glass of chilled pinot noir (yes, chilled), and read on to learn which wines should be served at which temperatures.

Wine Temperature | Chilled Pinot Noir | Rainstorm Wines

A good rule of thumb to follow when serving wine is this:

  • Serve red wine between 60 and 68 degrees
  • Serve white wine between 45 and 55 degrees

Of course, the exact temperature to serve a specific bottle of wine depends on the varietal you have. For instance, pinot grigio is recommended to be served at 45 degrees, while chardonnay should be served at 50. Even though they’re both white wines, there’s a 5-degree temperature difference for optimal flavor.  Now you see the challenge when serving wine!

The reason we even pay attention to wine temperature is because different temperatures bring out different flavors. When whites are too warm, they can taste flat; when served too cold, the flavors aren’t fully developed, leaving the wine tasting “simple.” Reds face similar problems. Too cool, and your wine will taste overly acidic; too warm, and it will taste excessively alcoholic.

Now you’re probably wondering, “How on earth is the average wine drinker supposed to find the optimal temperature for their wine?!” It’s easy, really. Look on the bottle. Many wine labels come with serving suggestions, so you know exactly at what temperature your wine will taste the best. And, if it’s not the on the label, a quick search online should turn up an answer.

But there’s one lingering aspect we need to cover, and that is whether or not these wine temperature rules should always be followed. The quick answer is, nope!

There are certain reds that can handle a bit of a chill, and in fact, the colder temperature can actually help the flavors develop. When you want to serve a chilled red, opt for a light-bodied wine with low tannins, and preferably one that has fruity or floral notes to it. Chilled pinot noir is a popular choice, as are malbecs and zinfandel. Opt for a temperature of about 50-55 degrees, as this will make fruit aspects pop without elevating the tannins to the forefront.

For the best tasting experience, it’s important to always pay attention to wine temperature. We’re not suggesting you run out and buy a wine fridge right now (although they are pretty awesome), but just take a minute to get acquainted with your bottle of wine and it’s optimal serving parameters. You’ll thank us later.

Portland Hikes: Top Trails in Forest Park

If you’re looking for a list of some great Portland hikes, look no further. We’ve got you covered with a list of the top trails in Forest Park, just west of downtown. All you need to do is lace up your boots and hit the trail!

Portland Hikes | Rainstorm Wine

1. Maple Trail

With autumn right around the corner, it’s only right that Maple Trail get mentioned first. This 2.6 mile trail twists and turns underneath towering red alders and bigleaf maples, transforming the whole area into a sea of crimson and yellow each fall.  

2. Wildwood Trail

Accessed rom Washington Park, this paved trail is great for a leisurely stroll amongst the old-growth trees. There are lots of benches along the way so you can stop and admire the natural beauty. From Wildwood, you can also connect to Nature Trail, which offers up some ideal picnic spots. Spread out a blanket, open your Rainstorm wine, and you’ve got yourself a perfect afternoon!  

3. Ridge Trail

This 2.8 mile out-and-back trail is best known for its insane views of St. John’s Bridge. The bridge is one of Portland’s most photographed features. Be prepared to climb, though. It’s downhill to start, then uphill to make it back to the trailhead. But trust us, it’s worth it.

4. Lower Macleay Trail

One of the most popular trails in Forest Park, don’t let the heavy foot traffic deter you. The 5-mile path showcases the amazing diversity of the park’s plantlife, with waterfalls and wooden bridges found along the way. And then there’s the old Stone House, which is actually an old Public Works building date from the 1930s. All that’s left is the stone framework, but nature has been slowly reclaiming it since the early 60s, giving it an eerily beautiful appearance.

5. Audubon Society Loop

Located off NW Cornell Road, a 150-acre reserve is home to more than 40 bird species. Miles of trails traverse the forest, offering glimpses of birds, birds, and – you guessed it – more birds. Pro tip: Don’t forget to pack your field guide, and make sure to stop in at the Wildlife Care Center to learn more about the local flora and fauna.

Portland is so much more than a big city. With Forest Park right next door, you can escape to the great outdoors using one of the Portland hikes above, or chart your own route. Wherever you’re headed, toast to your adventure with a glass of Rainstorm wine!

A Closer Look at the Wines of Oregon’s Willamette Valley

There is a not-so-hidden treasure in our own backyard: Willamette Valley vineyards. Thanks to the region’s wet and wild conditions, diverse terrain, and loving care of expert producers, the wines of Oregon compete with any in the world. One sip will convince you.

Wines of Oregon | Willamette Valley Vineyards | Rainstorm Wines

Challenge Accepted

Crafting delicious, elegant, smooth wine is not easy in Oregon. The area is renowned for its rainfall, not its sunshine. The Pinot Noir grape, the most common here, is renowned for its sensitivity. But fortunately, our growers and producers are renowned for their passion. They know the land; they know their grapes; and, without a doubt, they know their wines.

It is this blend of expertise and zeal that empowers Willamette Valley vineyards to deliver exceptional wines, including:

Pinot Noir: This grape is beloved; it makes up nearly 75% of all of the region’s plantings. Temperatures and terrains make a significant difference in the taste of the wine. Rainstorm’s grapes, for example, are grown on ridges. This encourages robust flavor and low yields – which imparts immense character. Fruit-forward, elegant, with bright fruit notes, this Pinot Noir elevates any dish.

Pinot Gris: For fans of white, Pinot Gris packs a powerful personality – in a smooth body. Rainstorm wines use grapes harvested by hand to avoid piercing the delicate skins. Pressed and fermented at cold temperatures, the resulting wine is complex, bone dry, and completely refreshing.

Rosé: This crowd-pleaser deserves a seat at the table when it comes to the fine wines of Oregon. The Valley’s cool climate ensures the Pinot Noir grapes are elegant and earthy. For those lovely fruit tones, we use a technique called “saignée.” This means “bleeding off” a bit of red wine juice after its been in contact with seeds and skins. The result is a more robust, structured wine.

Take a closer look at the wines of Oregon. Or better yet, a closer taste.

Free Things to Do in Portland This Summer

Hello, summer! We’ve missed you – and we’re determined to make the most of every second. Here are five free things to do in Portland that’ll scratch your itch for adventure, relaxation, and fun in the sun.

Free Things to Do in Portland | White Wines from Oregon | Rainstorm Wines

  1. Chef in the MarketSummer Saturday mornings mean one thing: farmer’s markets! But PSU Farmer’s Market isn’t just a foodie’s dream full of fresh produce. You can also take advantage of cooking demos from the area’s top chefs (and a sample of the day’s masterpiece). Stock up on ingredients, buy your favorite red, rose, or white wines from Oregon, and prepare a locally-sourced feast.
  2. Concerts and Movies in the Park: Looking for great entertainment? Portland Parks & Rec has your back. Enjoy free concerts and movies in the park all summer. From blues and indie to classics and new views, you’ll get your fill of excellent music and films.
  3. Portlandia Mermaid Parade: Have plans on July 28th? You do now. This is a family-friendly event that combines everything we love: mermaids, body-positivity, and a route along the Portland waterfront. Indulge in mythology and magic!
  4. Portland Festival Symphony: Introduce the kids to classical music; impress a date; enjoy your favorite Rainstorm wine and a picnic. Whatever your goal, you’ll accomplish it with help from world-class musicians and beautiful settings.
  5. PDX Adult Soapbox Derby: Kids, it’s time for the grownups to have some fun. The third Thursday in August, the Soapbox Derby pits homemade carts against twisty Mount Tabor. Gravity, and expletives, fuel the ride, so be prepared for hijinks and hilarity.

This is only the tip of the iceberg; there are tons of free things to do in Portland this summer. From bike rides and swims with the mayor to simple picnics with your favorite white wines from Oregon, we guarantee you will savor each second!

The Best Picnic Wine to Pair with Your Hood River County Fruit Loop Finds

Looking for a great day or weekend excursion? The Hood River County Fruit Loop offers treats to satisfy all your senses. The 35-mile stretch features numerous berry farms, farm stands, wineries and cideries, and lavender farms. Load up on delicious, fresh-picked goodies and prepare an outdoor feast. But which picnic wine pairs perfectly with your finds?

Picnic Wine | Hood River Lavender Farms | Rainstorm Wines

Fresh Fruits, Try: Pinot Gris and/or Pinot Noir

Please both red and white wine lovers by packing both for your picnic! Pinot gris offers a bone dry finish; its refreshing fruit and honey blossom notes pair perfectly with juicy berries. Add some brie or camembert with crisp crackers or baguette for a delightful afternoon snack.

Rainstorm pinot noir is another great choice; it’s subtle yet bright – a wonderful accompaniment to berries, cherries, pears, apples, and more. Make it a meal to remember with a charcuterie plate featuring salami, chorizo, prosciutto, pate, and crostini.

Divine Veggies, Try: Rosé

When it comes to fresh vegetables, it’s rosé all the way! With fresh, fruity aromas and a dry, refreshing acidity, rosé is the ideal picnic wine. Try a salad combining all the produce you source from the Fruit Loop’s Farm Stand. Pack a cooler with goat cheese to crumble on top. Yum!

Lavender Treats, Try: Rosé or Pinot Gris

If you visit Hood River lavender farms, stock up on gorgeous infused goodies for your kitchen – or your picnic. Our current obsession: Lavender Cherry Pear Marmalade. Bring out the delicate lavender tones and amazing fruit flavors with rosé or pinot gris. Both are dry enough to complement, rather than overpower, the intoxicating lavender. Spread this marmalade on sandwiches for a wicked treat.

When In Doubt, Try: Rosé

Want a picnic wine but have no idea what treats you’ll discover on the Fruit Loop? Select a bottle of Rainstorm Rosé. It is exceptional in hot weather and pairs beautifully with fresh findings from your journey (even if those “findings” are takeout meals from one of the area’s terrific restaurants!).

Meander your way through the Fruit Loop. It’s an experience you will truly savor!

How to Taste Wine Like a Pro

Do you find wine tasting intimidating? You’re not alone. But you don’t have to be a sommelier to explore – and enjoy – the fruits of the vine. Where do you start? Open a bottle of your favorite Oregon wine (we recommend a Rainstorm pinot noir) and practice these pro tips.

Oregon Wine | Rainstorm Pinot Noir | Rainstorm Wines

Step 1: Observe the Wine

Take time to look at the wine, observing its coloring and opacity. Red wines with more intense colors tend to be bolder in flavor, for example, while white wine color variations can indicate if a wine is more fruity or savory. Taking note will give you clues about what you can expect with future pours, and help you hone in on particular flavors and attributes.

Step 2: Smell the Wine

This makes tasting and identifying flavors easier. Swirl the wine, being careful not to slosh it out (which would be borderline blasphemous)! Swirling aerates the wine and brings out wonderful aromas. After swirling the wine, stick your nose in the glass and take a big whiff. Try to pick out individual aromas of fruit or spice.

Step 3: Taste the Wine

The moment you’ve been waiting for! Start with a mouthwash-sized sip, but don’t swallow it right away. Swish it all around your mouth, being sure to coat your entire tongue. Hold it in there for a few seconds to really get a handle on the flavors, and make a mental note of anything remarkable you detect.

Step 4: Spit or Swallow the Wine

Novice wine tasters may be appalled at the idea of anyone spitting out perfectly good wine, but there’s a method to the madness. You can’t properly taste wine when you’re tipsy. If you’re doing several tastings, it can impair your ability to truly judge the samples.

Now, swallowing wine is also acceptable, especially if you want to really experience a certain wine. When you swallow, the wine coats the back of your palate, bringing forth different flavors and aromas. If you’re considering purchasing a particular bottle, this is a good way to know what it will taste like when you pour a full glass.

Step 5: Ponder…

Contemplate all you’ve learned. Take another sniff if you need to, or another sip if there’s any left. Talk to your friends or others around you and get their take on it, too.

Learning how to taste wine like a pro takes time – and practice! Practice sounds great to us. Here’s your homework: pick up a bottle of Rainstorm pinot noir, and put your tasting skills to the test!

Top 5 Spots to Watch Fireworks in Portland

Nothing says summertime in the USA like spectacular fireworks. Lucky for us, Portland puts on quite a show. Pack some food, a selection of tasty summer wines, and your lawn chair, and get ready for an unforgettable Independence Day!

Summer Wines | Rainstorm Pinot Gris | Rainstorm Wines

If you’re looking for a great place for fireworks viewing this 4th of July, look no further than:

  1. Willamette River Bridges: Take your pick of one of the Willamette River’s bridges – Burnside, the Hawthorne, the Morrison, the Tilikum Crossing, or the Ross Island Crossing – you’ll have a great viewing spot. Be sure to get there early to stake a claim.
  2. Portland City Grill: This upscale bar and restaurant is located on the 30th floor of the second-tallest skyscraper in downtown PDX, so you’re sure to get an amazing view. Plus, they have vanilla bean crème brûlée, which pairs perfectly with a Rainstorm pinot gris!
  3. Oaks Amusement Park: The family-friendly Oaks Amusement Park is an awesome place to spend the Fourth and catch a stunning fireworks show. And it’s the only place where you’ll get to pack some quintessential American summer activities all into one day – riding roller coasters, eating hot dogs, and winning a prize for your girl or guy.
  4. Waterfront Blues Festival: The Waterfront Blues Festival is happening from July 4-7 this year, and it is the place to be. While you can’t bring your own picnic basket full of summer wines and other goodies, they will have food and drinks available. All you need is your lawn chair or blanket and your festival pass, and you’re set for a terrific time!
  5. Your Friend’s Boat: Can you anchor somewhere near the barge that’s shooting off fireworks near downtown? Sweet! You’ll have the best seats in the house and a completely unobstructed view. No boat? No problem. You can book passage on the Portland Spirit or Willamette Star, which will both dock near the fireworks show.

And, of course, if you’d rather sit in your driveway with a cooler of drinks and watch your neighbors blow stuff up, more power to you! Just don’t forget your Rainstorm pinot gris (for you, not the pyrotechnician).

How to Gift Wine This Father’s Day

While you could opt for the standard necktie or “World’s Greatest Dad” mug, why not get Dad something he’ll enjoy a bit more this Father’s Day? A crisp, refreshing wine will never fail to please. Here are some tips on how to gift wine and make Dad’s day.

How to Gift Wine | Rainstorm Wines

Tip #1 – Think About Food Pairings

Does he like to grill steak? Then go with a red wine. Pinot noir pairs wonderfully with the richness of filet mignon, for example. Or maybe he’s more of a seafood guy. For foods like crab and whitefish, a crisp white such as a pinot gris is the way to go. If salmon is his go-to, white wine works, but so do light reds, like a fruity pinot rosé. When wondering how to gift wine this Father’s Day, choose a bottle that complements some of Dad’s favorite dishes, and you’ve got a winner.

Tip #2 – Consider Where the Wine Came From

Different regions are known for certain types of wine. For instance, Oregon’s Willamette Valley (where Rainstorm wines are created) is renowned for their full-bodied, earthy pinot noirs, while Argentina is recognized for its outstanding Malbecs. When it comes to a Father’s Day gift for Dad, think about some of the places he’s been, or would like to travel to, and let that inspire you.

Tip #3 – Go For a Popular Variety

Another strategy on how to gift wine is to simply go for what’s popular. If you know that he’s a red guy, and particularly enjoys a nice pinot noir, search for the most popular pinot noir. You can also check the Wine Spectator score, which is based off taster reviews.

Tip #4 – Find Something Quirky and Fun

Some people buy wine based purely on the label. While we don’t recommend this, because taste is the true measure of a wine, your dad may be the kind of guy who appreciates a fun label. Do some browsing to find something that really stands out, and if you see something that relates to him or you know he’ll find hilarious, even better.

Tip #5 – Just Ask!

If you’re clueless about what your dad might like, just find a way to ask him. You can either be direct and say, “Dad, what kind of wine do you like?” or you can make like a detective and do some digging. Find a way to casually bring it up in conversation, and maybe he’ll drop a clue, or you can ask your mom or someone else close to him for a recommendation.

Gifting wine for Father’s Day is a great way to show Dad you care. With a little bit of thought and effort, you can pick out the perfect bottle that will say, “Dad, you’re the greatest.” Of course, we recommend saying it with one of our Rainstorm wines.

When to Do Oregon Wine Country

Want to plan the perfect wine vacation? Oregon wine country is beautiful and exciting just about any time of the year. But we must say, there are certainly some prime times to visit. With the exception of winter, when most wineries close their doors to visitors, each season has something great to offer.

Oregon Wine Country | Rainstorm Wines

Spring

Put a spring in your step with a relaxed, crowd-free setting. While the weather is busy trying to decide if it should be cold or warm, wineries open their doors and welcome the year’s first visitors. Cool and rainy days dominate the season, but this means that crowds are thinner and wineries are quieter and bit more peaceful.

Summer

Tasting goes full throttle during the summer months in Oregon wine country, as the weather is gorgeous and everyone wants to enjoy every second. Many of the state’s 400+ wineries host events and festivals during this season. If you want to get in on this action, the time to go is between the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. Everything from tastings, including our own Rainstorm wines, to vineyard tours to special goody giveaways await.

Fall

Fall is a busy time for vintners in our fair state. This is harvest season, so it’s a mad dash to make sure the grapes  – pinot noir, riesling, cab, and more – are harvested at the peak of ripeness. From there, the transformation from fruit to wine begins. For those who want a more hands-on experience with their wine tasting, autumn is a good time to visit. Many wineries offer activities like grape picking and stomping.

Just about any time of the year is the right time to visit Oregon wine country. You may even find a few wineries that are open in winter, but be sure to call ahead to check the hours before making the journey. And don’t forget: Rainstorm wines can be enjoyed anytime – anywhere!

Great Wines for an Oregon Summer Cookout

Summer and cookouts go together like mouth-watering chicken and crisp Rainstorm rosé. Nothing beats a warm evening and a sizzling grill, especially when you add some delicious summer wines.

Summer Wines | Rainstorm Rosé | Rainstorm Wines

Some inspiration for perfect pairings:

Chicken: Good news! Nearly everything pairs well with chicken. This versatile protein is terrific with sparkling wine, malbec, and everything in between. While there are some wines that will really bring home the wow factor, most of the common varietals will pair nicely with grilled chicken.

Try: Rainstorm pinot gris

Burgers: There’s nothing better than a burger hot off the grill. Oh wait: There is!  A burger hot off the grill and a glass of wine. Red goes best with this family favorite, whether you opt for a spicy syrah or a fruit-forward merlot. Rosé is a surprise hit too, especially when you go gourmet. Dress up a burger with caramelized onion, goat cheese, and a chilled glass of this bright beauty.

Try: Rainstorm rosé

Steak: A true classic, steak is best served with a dry red wine. Think cabernet, zinfandel, or even a merlot. The richness of the beef complements the tannins in the wine, resulting in a fabulous flavor collision worthy of glorious summer.

Try: Cabernet sauvignon

Pork: Throw some chops on the grill and start chilling whites like a riesling or a chardonnay. Like red? Break out a bottle of red zinfandel. Either way, you’re going to love it.

Try: Chardonnay

Seafood: Shrimp, salmon, tuna…all of these are perfect for the grill, and a glass of wine will make them even perfect-er. It’s usually a good idea to stay on the white side of the wine spectrum, but there is one notable exception: pinot noir. Trust us when we say to drink this if you’re having salmon or tuna.

Try: Rainstorm pinot noir (salmon/tuna); pinot gris (shrimp)

Who’s ready for a cookout? These suggested pairings are tried and true, but at the end of the day, it’s all about what you like. Want to sip a Rainstorm rosé with your porterhouse? Be our guest. Prefer a cabernet with your salmon? You do you. Summer is all about having fun, and so are summer wines. So pop open your favorites, and enjoy!