Why You Can’t Miss Oregon’s Spring Paddle Festival

Looking for something different to do this spring? How about the annual Spring Paddle Festival at Vancouver Lake? Now in its 26th year, this springtime favorite is everything a great event should be – fun, educational, family-friendly, and hands-on.

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So maybe Oregon wine is missing from the line-up, but that’s okay! Pack some snacks and your favorite Pacific Northwest wine and you’ve got all the makings for a picnic between paddling sessions. Now it’s a truly terrific event!

So what exactly makes this a can’t-miss event?

It’s free. Nope, you didn’t misread that. The Spring Paddle Festival is totally free of charge. There’s no admission, no tickets to buy in advance, no need to rent either a canoe or kayak since they’re provided by the sponsor. It’s just a fun way to spend a day or two learning more about paddling and enjoying the great outdoors with family and friends.

It’s fun. In case there was any doubt in your mind about the amount of fun you’ll have at this event, allow us to clear that up. It’s 100% awesome. There are a ton of different sessions to take part in, like Stand Up Paddling 101, Yoga for Paddling, and even a class on how to pack for a multi-day sea kayaking trip.

Not only are all the basics of canoeing and kayaking covered, there are clearly lots of opportunities to learn about niche areas of these water sports. And the best part of all? You get to fully participate by getting out on the water and putting your new skills to the test!

It’s the perfect way to build up a thirst for wine! Not that you need an excuse to enjoy a fine Oregon wine, but we must say that the Spring Paddle Festival can certainly help develop a thirst. Whether you pack a bottle or two into a picnic basket to enjoy on-site or you follow up the event with glass or three at home, nothing beats enjoying a nice Pacific Northwest wine after a day on the lake.

This year’s Spring Paddle Festival takes place April 28 & 29 – don’t miss it!

Columbia Gorge Wine Tasting Experience Comes to Portland

Busy on Thursday, April 12? You are now! That’s when the Columbia Gorge Winegrowers are coming to town. Dubbed the Portland Grand Tasting, this is a can’t-miss event that both wine enthusiasts and casual imbibers will enjoy for its educational and social opportunities – and of course, the many fabulous Willamette Valley wines.

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This tasting event will feature unique tastes from all over the Valley, with offerings from more than 20 vintners, including Rainstorm wines. Merlot’s, pinot grigios, chardonnays, rosés – they’ll be there, along with all your other favorites.

Each winery will be showcasing its finest varietals and vintages, and this means smooth, delicious wine galore. Whether you just like wine or you’re in full-blown love with it, this is your chance to develop your relationship with the grape even further through education and ample tasting opportunities. It is a love affair worth nurturing, after all.

Your ticket to the Portland Grand Tasting will include admission to the tasting room where complimentary tastings abound and light snacks are available for nibbling. You’ll also get a cool commemorative wine glass so you can prove to all your friends that you were there.

If you want a next-level experience, opt for the VIP ticket. This will score you early admission to the event, access to the VIP balcony, small bites, special library tastings, and more in-depth wine educational experiences. There are only 70 of these tickets available, though, so if you’re a true VIP, get on it.

Don’t miss out on April 12. If you’re in the Portland area, make plans to sample some of the best Willamette Valley wines there are at the Portland Grand Tasting. Trust us, you don’t want to miss out on this incredible tasting opportunity!

Visit the Largest Orchid Show in the Pacific Northwest at the Oregon Orchid Show

If you’re scratching your head, thinking, “What do wine and orchids have to do with each other?”, don’t feel bad. We asked ourselves the same question. And then we realized, “They’re both beautiful gifts from Mother Nature!” Like the finest Pacific Northwest wines, including our renowned Rainstorm rosé, orchids are a product of the earth – soil, water, and sunlight. Add in a bit of loving care, and the end result is something truly magnificent.

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A festival is the perfect way to celebrate and showcase the natural wonder that is the orchid, and lucky for all of us, there’s one happening right here in Portland! On April 21 & 22, the Oregon Orchid Society will present its 75th annual Oregon Orchid Show & Sale.

The event will feature vendors from places like Washington, Montana, and even Ecuador. Each vendor will have their prized orchids on display for both show and for purchase, and there will educational opportunities and potting demonstrations for budding (get it?) orchid enthusiasts.

Since the orchid is one of the most misunderstood plants, the Orchid Show offers an excellent opportunity to learn and dispel some of the myths that surround them. Chief among these is the belief that orchids are extremely difficult to care for. While orchids do have specific requirements to grow and flourish, they’re not impossible.

Once you understand the plant’s unique needs, then the fun can really begin. Prepare yourself, though. Caring for orchids can be an addictive hobby, not unlike wine making. Like many delicious Pacific Northwest wines, orchids just need a bit of TLC in order to reach their full potential.

So whether you’re an orchid fanatic or a friend of one who’s along for the ride, the Oregon Orchid Show & Sale is the place to learn more about one of nature’s most exquisite flowering plants. Follow the exhibition up with a smooth Rainstorm rosé, and you’ve got yourself a solid weekend.

Why You Can’t Miss Whale Watching Week in Oregon

Spotting a gray whale is more than an awe-inspiring sight: it’s a reminder of the beauty – and immensity – of nature. Oregon wine isn’t our state’s only claim to fame! The waters along the our coast offer prime viewing when these gorgeous mammals follow the fish to their seasonal feeding grounds. You cannot miss out on this amazing experience.

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The Majestic Gray Whale

These beasts are 40 to 50 feet long (think of a school bus – and then half of another), and weigh up to 30 to 40 tons. It takes a lot of mysids and amphipods (tiny shrimp-like crustaceans) to sustain that bulk! To get their fill, gray whales move like cattle and “graze” in one area until they deplete the food source and move on.

In mid-December through January, pods move from the seas up around Alaska south to Baja California, Mexico. The warmer waters allow mamas to give birth and raise their young. Then, it’s on the move again late March, back up the coast to Alaska. Up to 18,000 of these animals make the trek.

The pace in March is slower (maybe the whales aren’t in a hurry to get back to the cold North!), and you’ll have a chance to spot them all the way into June. A benefit of whale watching during the March season is that the whales tend to swim closer to the shore. This makes for excellent viewing.

Watch Week

During Watch Week (the last week of March), volunteers take up post at popular whale watching spots along the Pacific Northwest Coast. They’ll help make sure you have a terrific experience and see lots of these gorgeous whales.

Why not make a whole vacation of it? You can hit Oregon’s hottest spots, sample our renowned local, fresh food, and enjoy a glass (or two) of Rainstorm pinot noir after a successful day of whale watching. Sounds like the very best of nature to us!

The 10 Best Places to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Oregon

Everyone’s Irish on St. Paddy’s Day! So where are the best places to get your green on in Oregon? Let’s take a look:

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  • St. Patrick’s Day Dash (Bend): If you’re planning on a night of hearty Irish food and great Oregon wines, build up an appetite with this 5K. It benefits The Kids Center, and if you dress up in your St. Paddy’s Day finery, you could win the costume contest.
  • St. Agatha St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival (Portland): Get into the holiday spirit and have some family fun with marching bands, bagpipers, a children’s carnival, and plenty of shepherd’s pie, corned beef, and a glass of Guiness for the adults.
  • Celtic Celebration (Medford): At the Rogue Gallery & Art Center, you’ll find an Irish-themed art show, live music, and traditional fare. If you’re feeling brave, try the “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” singing contest!
  • Paddy’s Bar and Grill (Portland): Take the party to the street: you’ll enjoy Irish music, food tents, and family fun that raises funds for the Children’s Cancer Society.
  • St. Patrick’s Day at the East Burn (Portland): You’re going to love it. Colcannon, corned beef and cabbage by day; live music, dancing, and Guinness by night.
  • A Wee Bit O’ Ireland (Heppner): At this festival, you and the family will get down to some great music, participate in activities, games, and arts & crafts – and of course, get your fill of Irish food!
  • Foley’s Irish Pub (Bandon): Hope you saved room for dinner. At Foley’s, your feast will be complete with bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, and corned beef and cabbage. Sick of Guinness? Oregon pinot gris is excellent paired with your corned beef dinner.
  • Kells Irish Festival (Portland): If this is too much excitement for one day, Kells Irish Pub has you covered with a four-day extravaganza. Dancing, bagpipers, food, and Family Day with great activities.
  • The Black Sheep (Ashland): Great eats, great drinks: need we say more? Ok, how about a great old-world pub atmosphere! (Minors welcome until 11:00pm).
  • The Blind Pig Bar and Grill (Eugene): Leave the kids with the babysitter and hit the Blind Pig for great food, cold beer, and a terrific atmosphere.

Where are you going to wear your green on St. Paddy’s Day? No matter what you decide to do, make the most of this fun-spirited day!

Who’s Ready for Oregon’s Tulip Festival?

We are!

The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival is one of Oregon’s most beloved events. While tulips are undoubtedly the stars of the show, this festival showcases the best our state has to offer. Take the opportunity to enjoy everything from hay wagon rides to the finest Willamette Valley wines in the onsite tasting room. You will never forget it!

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Plan On Stunning Beauty

The Tulip Festival starts March 23 and lasts through April 30, 2018. Six glorious weeks to enjoy unparalleled views, gorgeous scenery, delicious food and wine, and plenty of great activities. And tulips! Red. Orange. Yellow. Pink. A full spectrum of spectacular.

The Festival is held in Woodburn, Oregon – just a quick trip from both Portland and Salem. With Mt. Hood as the backdrop, you’ll certainly want to bring your camera to catch the photo ops. You can even enter them in the Tulip Festival Photo Contest.

Once at the Fields, you’ll enter a world of color and wonder. The Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm rotates their plantings each year so, even if you’ve attended before, you will be treated to an entirely different – and equally vibrant – show.

This is a family-friendly event, perfect for children, visiting friends, couples… anyone who appreciates natural beauty. Even your dog, if he behaves himself on a leash! You can pack a picnic or opt for onsite noms.

Make sure to bring a little of the Tulip Festival home with you; you can purchase gorgeous bouquets at excellent prices. Your table will look amazing with a burst of bright color, your favorite Rainstorm wines, and spring fresh foods. It’s a great way to remember this event long after the blooms fade. You won’t regret witnessing this magic in person and even take a souvenir home! Just like a scene out of Alice in Wonderland.

Would You Try Cosmic Tubing on Mount Hood in Oregon?

You’re sipping a glass of chilled-to-perfection Oregon Pinot; its refreshing pear, honey blossom, and mango notes have you longing for summer. But we have a few months of winter to get through yet. Let’s make the most of them. The best way to do that: cosmic tubing. If you’ve been suffering from cabin fever, this is the cure.

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Your Weekend Plans? This

You haven’t been tubing unless you’ve been cosmic tubing. Ready to take winter to the next level? Yes, that level involves getting out from under the blankets on your couch. We know. It’s hard. And it’s worth it when you get to Mount Hood.

So, what is cosmic tubing? Only the hottest way to spend cold winter weekend nights. Mt. Hood’s Snow Tube and Adventure Park beckons. You’ll find your way courtesy of the 600,000 LED lights and the array of colored, laser, and black lights that shine a spotlight on the fun. Twelve groomed lanes are ready for tubers, and the DJ is pumping out the soundtrack to an amazing night.

The worst part of tubing or sledding? Dragging yourself back up the hill! Don’t worry; a conveyor lift does the hard work and transfers you and your tube back up. Go for another exhilarating ride or stop into the Multorpor Lodge for some quality lounging.

If you want a way to spice up your winter weekends, stop by the Snow Tube and Adventure Park at Mount Hood. After, gather your rosy-cheeked tubing buddies and indulge in  well-earned mugs of hot cocoa, or better yet, glasses of your favorite Willamette Valley wines. See you on the mountain!

Why You Need to See This “Worst Day of the Year Winter Bike Ride” In Oregon

Keep it weird, Portland. In some places, the worst day of the year is one that people shove to the back of their minds. They want to hunker down and then forget. In Oregon, we celebrate it! The “Worst Day of the Year Winter Bike Ride” commemorates two horrible “weather is frightful” days and makes it into one of the Best Days to experience our region.

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It Was the Worst of Times…

While the vines enjoy their winter slumber, Oregon wine country is far from sleepy. This is a great time to visit wineries and sample the best the region has to offer. And if you’re thirsty for something to get your blood flowing, you might want to enjoy the Worst Day.

The coldest day in Oregon history occurred on February 8, 1933: residents bundled up against -54° temps. That same day, 63 years later, we saw our wettest day with 26 inches of rain in just four days. So, naturally, Oregon organizes an outdoor event on or around that date! In 2001, 200 hardy folks showed up for a chilly bike ride. Ten years later, 3000 cyclists (or masochists?) turned out.

The Worst Day of the Year Bike Ride has taken on life of its own. There’s biking, of course, but you can enjoy costume contests, breakfast, lunch, awesome snacks and beverages (bikers can treat themselves to everything from cocoa and cookies to cider and fries to tea and chips with salsa), family, urban, and challenge routes, and plenty of fans to cheer you on.

This year, the event is held on February 11; courses close at 3:00pm. When you hop off your bike, make sure to try Oregon wines and sample some delectable local food. You’ve earned it (even if you didn’t ride! Cheering is thirsty work).

Keep it awesome, Portland!

 

Unconventional Valentine’s Day Date Ideas

Love it or hate it (or love to hate it), Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. If the thought of spending it doing the same old tired red-roses-and-”romantic” (read: expensive)-dinner” isn’t getting your heart racing, we understand! And we have a few ideas that can help.

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Ditch St. Valentine

If Cupid’s old news, adopt the Bulgarian tradition. On February 14, they celebrate St. Trifon Zarezan Day – a.k.a. Winemakers Day. Lovers toast each other with a glass or two of fine Valentine’s Day wine. We can get behind that! We also love Argentina’s take; instead of a day, they have “Sweetness Week.” A sweet treat will get you a kiss in return. Take your love global with worldwide traditions – and spice up your V-Day date.

 

Get Your Tourist On

Now’s your chance to be a tourist in your own town and take a ton of cute selfies. Take a dogsled tour of Mt. Bachelor, play golf at renowned Bandon Dunes (winter fees are much less pricey, but the quality of play is outstanding), or go to one of our excellent aquariums, museums, galleries, or theaters.

 

Share the Love

Whether you have a sweetheart or are living and loving the single life, Valentine’s Day is about love, baby. Volunteer at an animal rescue organization, send flowers to residents in a retirement home, bake cookies for staff and volunteers at a domestic violence shelter (and make extra for service-users). There are so many ways you can make a loving impact.

 

Have a Very Merry Un-Valentine’s Day

Quirky-alone Day is a celebration of empowerment, gratitude, and love. Rather than a pity party like some Single’s Day affairs, it’s an opportunity to revel in all kinds of love – family, friends, self – and all the possibilities life holds. Pop open a few bottles of Rainstorm wines, invite those you love spending time with (coupled, uncoupled, or anywhere in between) and enjoy!

 

We love unconventional; we love quality; we love living life to its fullest. Whether that means you wine and dine with your love, talk books with your buds, see a movie with your mom, or let your kids have a few extra chocolates, we’ll raise a glass to you this February 14th!

10 Cool and Unusual Things to Do in Oregon in 2018

 

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  • The Sloth Center. Having a bad day? The Sloth Center is the cure. With small, guided tours, you can spend quality time with these wonderful animals, holding them and interacting without barriers.
  • Thor’s Well. This formation makes it appear like Thor himself is draining the sea. The hole is about 20 feet deep – but its aggressive water and dramatic surroundings make it seem bottomless and otherworldly. It is dangerous, so don’t mess around with the gods during storms or high tide.
  • Bagby Hot Springs. After a mellow 1.4 mile hike through gorgeous old-growth forest, Bagby Hot Springs visitors are rewarded with water naturally heated to 136℉. Some like it hot – or you can mix cool spring water in for the perfect soak.
  • The Enchanted Forest. Pure delight; this woodsy amusement park is filled with fairy-tale based attractions and plenty of games and shows. If you find yourself on Interstate 5, turn off and enjoy!
  • Painted Hills. Who painted these rocks? They are illuminated with bands of black, red, and grey. The desert landscape contrasts with Oregon’s otherwise lush look. The geography of the state is truly stunning: the same land that gives us deserts provides the perfect conditions to cultivate world class Oregon wines.
  • Octopus Tree. This 250-300 year old monster has a 50 foot base and numerous smaller trucks spread like tentacles up to the sky. A remarkable sight to behold.
  • The Hat Museum. They’re “bonkers for hats”! You can see styles from every age — but the house itself is a marvel. Look for Alice and the Mad Hatter; they might just live in this kooky museum.
  • Prehistoric Gardens. Forget Jurassic Park; here you can see giant dinos (statues!) roaming around the rainforest. Do not forget your camera.
  • Kidd’s Toy Museum. Let your inner “Kidd” out to play. This museum houses tens of thousands of antique toys. The detailing and craftsmanship are incredible. They don’t make ‘em like they used to!
  • Airplane Home in the Woods. Bruce Campbell takes his recycling very seriously. He’s turned a Boeing 727 into a home. Schedule a visit to see his kitschy decor, filled with hatches, latches, and much more. You could say his home is pretty “plane,” but we call it eccentric!

 


Oregon is filled with interesting and unique attractions; make sure to top off your day with delicious Willamette Valley wines and raise a toast of all that is weird and wonderful about our state!