What Makes Willamette Valley Wines So Great?

Willamette Valley has proven to be the “next frontier” for winemakers. Sales are up, investors are buying hefty acreage, and the buzz is spreading internationally (in fact, international wine sales in Willamette Valley increased by 50% in 2014 alone). Several key factors are influencing the growth and popularity of Willamette Valley wines.

Willamette Valley Wines| Rainstorm Wines

Willamette Valley’s reputation for excellence is helped by the proximity to Portland Oregon’s foodie culture. Forty-five minutes from Portland is the home of Rainstorm wines. This popular winery welcomes tourists who travel from Portland for a day trip to the country to explore, and taste! Locals are also taking advantage of the amazing wines in their backyard. Portland’s cultural focus on local, fresh foods creates a blossoming market for equally local, fresh Willamette Valley Wines.  

Another important factor to the popularity of these versatile wines is the land which nurtures the vineyards. The cost of land is relatively cheap compared to surrounding areas. Investors are buying land there, and more competition has created better wines. 

Willamette Valley’s pinot noir production is to its advantage, as well. The obsession with pinot noir over the past few years has proven it is a fad here to stay, and Oregon’s signature wine is the classic pinot noir. In fact, 70% of Oregon’s Willamette Valley winery production went to pinot noir.

Another key factor: Willamette Valley vineyards get outstanding hospitality ratings. Investors are catching on to the area, but for now, more well-known local favorites such as Rainstorm are smaller and more unique than many other vineyards around the country. As a result, these vineyards are extremely welcoming. They are run by locals who are passionate about creating beautiful wines in this beautiful country.

Come and see  for yourself why Rainstorm wines and other varieties from the area are so popular. One sip is all the proof you need.

The Rise of Rosé

Rosé is coming into its own. While this may be surprising to some beverage consumers, it makes perfect sense to sales analysts. And it looks like the trend is here to stay. Total orders climbed over 300% from 2015 to 2016 and continue to grow. There’s no doubt about it: “pink” is gaining popularity, especially among trendy young drinkers — and anyone who loves the appeal of crisp, clean, elegant wine.

Oregon Rosé | Rainstorm Wines

The upward rise of  is, in large part, attributable to a surprising source: greater numbers of male consumers. Rosé is usually touted as a woman’s drink, perhaps due to its color or because it is stereotyped as being overly sweet. Popular Rosés, though, can actually be quite dry. It is shedding its image as a “girly” wine and making inroads with serious wine lovers. And with bros.

Rose for Bros

So popular is this pink drink that a trendy portmanteau has emerged: Brosé. You know – rose for bros. A few brands have even created Rosés by that name. What’s the draw? Oregon Rosé options are unique; Willamette Valley wines are carefully crafted, and the blends of grapes used can lend the pink wines a structure more typical of reds. For many men, and for other wine drinkers, this puts Rosé into a class by itself and boosts its appeal — especially when the temperature creeps up.

Rainstorm Rosé is a forerunner in this class of crisper, drier Rosés. With an acidic finish and aromas of rose petals, strawberry, and pomegranate seeds, it is perfectly paired with salads full of freshly-picked greens and herbs, grilled chicken, and warm evenings on the patio. Summer months produce the highest Rosé sales, which makes sense– it’s the season for vacations, celebrations, impromptu gatherings, and picnics. Rosés are certainly indicative of rest and relaxation.

If you’ve been hesitant to try Rainstorm Rosé because it’s too sweet, too clingy, or too pink, you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you pour a chilled glass of the best Oregon Rosé. It will quickly become a summer staple.

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival (March-May)

After exhausting your family’s list of winter activities, the spring offers a welcome change. The fresh air invigorates your senses, and nature comes alive! A perfect way to celebrate this time of the year is by checking out the Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest near Mt. Hood in Oregon and learning about Rainstorm Wines.

Willamette Valley Wines | Rainstorm Wines

What can you expect?

This festival is just about 45 minutes from Portland. While the tulips might be the most beautiful part, this festival is by no means only about flowers! People from across the country flock to this festival between March and May to check out the hay rides, wine tastings, and even duck races. Hot air balloon rides are a spectacular way to overlook the tulips! There are also zip lines, bungee jumps, and rock walls for the adventurous members of your family.

Visitors can enjoy local food carts and savor local Willamette Valley wines while they peruse the 40 expansive acres of dazzling tulips. On weekends there is a craft market, pony rides, and a meet-and-greet with Tulip the Cow, the Wooden Shoe Farm’s friendly mascot!

For 21+ family members, a Wine Wagon Farm Tour is a great way to enjoy the Tulip Fest. Enjoy locally-produced Rainstorm wines — made just 45 minutes away from the Wooden Shoe Farm — which have been garnering worldwide attention. The best part? You even get a sippy cup to go, so that you can keep the fun going even after the Wine Wagon Tour. Have a picnic in the beautiful Wooden Shoe vineyards, support local agriculture, and have fun doing it. The whole family, even Fido, can enjoy this festival, since admission hovers around just $20 for a family of five.

Oregon is filled with adventure and beautiful scenic routes at every turn. The Wooden Shoe Tulip festival is definitely in our books for one of the happiest places on Earth and you’ll see why if you ever go!

 

Treehouse Paradise – The Perfect Getaway with Oregon Wines

Can we all just agree that hotels are sort of boring? All the rooms look the same, there’s the same tired continental breakfast, and at least half of the guests are stuck with a view of rooftop AC units or something similarly awful.

Pinot Rose Wine | Oregon Wines

Okay, okay…not ALL hotels are like this. Even so, there are a lot more lodging options out there that you can consider. Vertical Horizons Treehouse Paradise In Cave Junction, Oregon is one of them, and it’s definitely not your average place to stay. Nestled amongst the redwoods near the Oregon-California border, Vertical Horizons is a resort unlike any other you’ve ever been to. The “rooms” are actually individual tree-houses, situated high above the ground among the leaves and branches. Each treehouse is beautifully furnished and equipped, and the 360 degree views of the surrounding forest are phenomenal.

If you find yourself in this part of Oregon, booking a couple nights at Vertical Horizons is a must-do. Not only is the resort wholly unique, there’s tons to do on-site and in the local area. In addition to outdoor activities like tree climbing, hiking, volleyball and horseshoes, there are several local vineyards serving fine Oregon wines. You can sample a brisk chardonnay or a smooth pinot rose wine at one, and then head to another to taste their vintages. Is there a better way to spend an afternoon?

After a full day of activities, your own private treehouse is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Sit on the deck – or inside where it’s cozy and warm if you visit in the winter –  with a chilled glass of pinot rose wine and gaze at the tranquil beauty of the forest around you. Then, pat yourself on the back for choosing a truly extraordinary place to stay instead of the standard hotel option!

 

The Witch’s Castle in Forest Park, Oregon

Oregon is renowned – and beloved – for it’s wonderful weirdness. The Naked Bike Ride and The Peculiarium are some of the best known attractions, but there’s one place that makes the cut purely because of its spookiness. The Witch’s Castle in Forest Park, with its tragic yet intriguing history, has become one of our more mysterious draws. So fortify yourself with some Rainstorm Pinot Gris and prepare for a tale of terror. Maybe a little exaggeration – but get the wine anyway.

Oregon Wines | Rainstorm Pinot Gris

First, relax: there are no actual witches involved in this story. How the Castle ruins got its name is unclear, but it’s not due to any black magic being practiced in the area. The site of the Witch’s Castle was home to a man named Danford Balch, who built a cabin there in the mid-1800s to house his family of 12.

To help clear the area, Blach hired Mortimer Stump. Stump soon fell in love with one of Bach’s daughters, Anna, and requested her hand in marriage. Blach refused, and Stump and Anna decided to elope. When they returned, Blach was so angry, he shot and killed Stump on sight, a crime for which he was executed in 1859.

Over the years, the property changed hands several times before the Portland Parks and Recreation Department acquired it. They constructed a stone building to serve as a ranger station and restroom for hikers in the 1950s, but the property was curiously abandoned about 10 years later.

Since then, nature has worked hard to reclaim the structure. Today it looms ominously, greeting visitors with its moss-covered facade. The eerie atmosphere doesn’t seem to deter many, however, as the Witch’s Castle is still host to hikers and thrill-seekers.

If you’re not afraid of the bad juju that may be in the area, the hike to the castle is worth it. The site is one of Portland’s best-kept secrets and definitely should be on your list of spots to visit. Make a day of it with a picnic featuring the best Oregon Wines. Just make sure you don’t go on a Friday night, unless you want to hang out with local teens, whose palates are most certainly not as refined as yours.

5 Best Places in the World to do Wine Tastings

Planning a vacation to visit one of the world’s greatest wine regions isn’t just for wine aficionados. With a backdrop of stunning scenery and an array of local activities, even the casual wine drinker will enjoy a trip to these gorgeous destinations.

Willamette Valley Wines | Rainstorm Wines

  1. Willamette Valley, Oregon. Willamette Valley wines are among the most vibrant and dynamic in the country, and in the world. The valley produces the grapes from which we make our very own Rainstorm wines. Further, the area covers more than 5,200 square miles, so you can find tastings all over this part of the Pacific Northwest. Prepare to be amazed by the incredible landscape while you’re here, too; forests, mountains, valleys, and rivers converge to create truly breathtaking scenery.  
  2. Sonoma County, California. Sonoma County is just an hour south of San Francisco, and its diverse landscape that includes redwoods and rugged coastline makes it one of the most beautiful places in California wine country. Cool climate wines, such as chardonnays and pinot noirs, are a focal point in Sonoma, but vintners in the area are serving up all varietals and vintages in their tasting rooms. There is something for everyone.
  3. Burgundy, France. The Burgundy region of France is known worldwide as one of the wine industry’s leading producers. The vintages created here feature nuanced flavor profiles that make the trek more than worth it. Make sure you have a reservation before visiting a vineyard, though. Most wineries in Burgundy don’t allow drop-ins, so plan your trip in advance.
  4. La Rioja, Spain. The La Rioja region of northern Spain boasts more than 500 wineries, each pouring fine wines distinctive of the area. The region is known for its full-bodied reds, and robust grapevines and centuries-old winemaking techniques have produced world-class wines. La Rioja is also home to the luxurious Marques de Riscal, the famed vineyard hotel.
  5. Barossa Valley, Australia. Australia’s Barossa Valley, located an hour from Adelaide on the continent’s southern side, is known for its flavorful shiraz wines and rieslings. You’ll feel right at home, welcomed by the open and friendly attitudes of the locals. Visit the country’s oldest, family-run winery of Yalumba, or any of the other many vineyards that offer tastings, tours, and fabulous on-site food.

Wine-centric vacations really are for everyone. The list above showcases just a few of the world’s finest wine regions. Start local with a tasting of Willamette Valley wines; you don’t need to travel across the globe for fabulous wines. But you can!

Snow Covered Portland, Oregon- Drone Footage

Oregon Wines | Rainstorm Pinot Gris

Ever wonder what Portland might look like during a zombie apocalypse?  A recent snowstorm provided the perfect setting for this when a drone captured the city at a virtual standstill. A few daring drivers attempted to navigate the freeways, and for that they were rewarded with snow packed roadways all to themselves.

The footage got us pondering just how little it can take to shut down an entire city. 

A few inches of snow was enough to send everything to a screeching halt. To be fair, this type of weather doesn’t happen often in Portland, but when it does, well, you have be ready for it. And what’s the best way to prepare? With plenty of firewood, candles, some comfort food, and an assortment of fine Oregon wines.

 

Snow days really aren’t so bad, are they? In fact, we would argue that they’re kind of perfect. They’re like a pause button, and since you don’t have control over it, you have to simply stop and wait it out. These moments are a good time to reflect, to take a mental vacation, and to spend quality time with family or friends.

If you’re going to be stuck at home for a couple of days on account of bad weather, you might as well make the most of it. And really, being “stuck” at home can be just the cure for stress, weariness, and fatigue. So the next time the forecast calls for a snowstorm, make sure you’ve got all the essentials on your list: easy-to-prepare foods (read: chocolate), maybe a few board games or DVDs, and some Rainstorm pinot gris or other delectable Oregon wines.

And count your lucky stars that it’s just snow that’s making you homebound, and not brain-eating zombies!

Oregon Truffle Festival

Are you ready to be seduced?

If so, the Oregon Truffle Festival will scintillate your senses and whet your appetite… for the region’s most delicious treats. No, not Willamette Valley wines – though, we encourage you to imbibe and enjoy the fine Northwestern varieties during the festival. We’re talking about truffles. Oregon is an epicenter for the rare, exquisite treats.

Willamette valley wines and truffle festival in Oregon.

Oregon’s climate is ideal for the growing of delectable truffles and boasts four native species. The area has a growing reputation for locally produced foods and world-class vineyards, including Rainstorm wines. The truffle is an exceedingly special addition to our regional plate. Given their rarity, they can cost as much as $800 per pound – rivaling their French black counterparts.

The annual Oregon Truffle Festival, held in January – when we sorely need a break from dreary winter weather – features several wonderful events. They include educational evenings where you can learn about truffles and taste incomparable samples, tours through truffle and wine country, a Fresh Truffle Marketplace, and sumptuous meal opportunities you do not want to miss.

Events sell out year after year, so be sure to secure yours today. When you visit the Fresh Truffle Marketplace, you will see a cornucopia of Oregon truffles, regional wines, and fresh artisan foods. Take in a truffle cooking demo so you can learn how to prepare these glorious treats at home. It’s best to learn how to store and cook with them from the experts. From creating truffled butter or oil to having it shaved over eggs, scallops, risotto, or pasta, you will make the most of each precious morsel.

You can also learn which of your favorite Rainstorm wines to pair with your truffle creations. A pasta with truffle oil and pinot noir, for example, will be a meal you, and your guests, will never forget.

If you are in the area, look into the Oregon Truffle Festival. It is well worth the price of admission. Purchase tickets here: http://www.oregontrufflefestival.com/tickets/

Wine on Wheels: Great Mobile Wine Trucks

Wine trucks: it’s an idea whose time has come. Food trucks have passed the “trend” stage and have firmly established themselves as a culinary staple. Now, mobile wine bars are driving up to cater to thirsty patrons. Imagine: you take your lamb tandoori kabab and slide over to a mobile wine bar for a glass of chilled-to-perfection Pinot Noir (yes, this is a red you chill!). Ahh, perfect!

Rainstorm Wines lists great mobile wine trucks that offer pinot noir.

A taste of our favorite wine trucks:

Union Wine Co. Tasting Truck

A downtown Portland favorite, the Union Wine Co. wants to make wine more accessible and approachable to people. Owner Ryan Harms says, “We saw a place for wine in Portland’s thriving food-cart scene and are excited to have our trucks join the community.”  As excited are city dwellers and visitors who have the opportunity to taste great regional varieties.

Chai Vin & Cie

Quebec is an enotourism hotspot. Wine lovers flock to the gorgeous province – and those in the know go to Chai Vin & Cie. Once an ice cream truck, it now serves six to eight varieties of wine, mostly locally sourced. They change them regularly, so each trip to the Canadian gem can yield a new experience.

Off the Grid

Located in The Yard, a year-round food village in the San Francisco Giant’s home at AT&T Park, is the fun Off the Grid. The wine bar serves regional wines and “small bites.” Pair the fish tacos with a light, fresh wine, and cheer on your team. (And if your team isn’t playing, just order another taco. And another glass of wine!).

Early Mountain Vineyards Airstream

If you’re in the Virginia/Washington DC area, sample the region’s best at this mobile wine bar. It frequents farmers’ markets, urban festivals, and other events where thirsty people need an infusion of fresh, clean wines.

Honorable wine truck mentions go to Deschutes Brewery’s “Woody,” Potter’s Craft Cider Tasting, and the Bulleit Woody Tailgate Trailer for wonderful wines and experiences. If mobile wine trucks haven’t caught up with your area yet, don’t worry. Rainstorm wines is there, ready to be poured into your waiting glass. Enjoy your favorite flavors with your favorite dishes – anytime.

Food Truck & Wine Pairings

1872. If you love food trucks, that’s a year you want to remember. A Providence vendor parked a covered wagon with pre-cut windows in front of a newspaper office and sold coffee, cold sandwiches, and pies to the press. Today, lines stretch as far as the eye can see for mouth-watering delights, from traditional fare to Korean BBQ, fish tacos, and tandoori chicken. There is something for everyone. The question is: what wine pairs with food trucks?

Rainstorm Wines lists the best food truck and wine pairings.

Pour a glass of your favorite Pinot Noir and start salivating over unique food truck offerings. Today’s trucks offer a global culinary menu, and complex, elegant Noir pairs perfectly with dishes ranging from eggplant and lamb and vegan enchiladas to green curries and gourmet pizzas with toppings such as arugula and mushroom. If your dish contains duck, goose, or chicken, Pinot Noir is a nice accompaniment as well.

If Pinot Gris is your go-to pour, the world is your oyster. And, yes, even oysters pair well with versatile. Find a food truck that serves BBQ, pork, chicken, hot and sour soup, fried and broiled seafood, veggie burgers, chili lime chicken kabobs… In other words, if you’re in doubt when it comes to pairing your food truck score with wine, go with bone-dry, fresh Rainstorm Pinot Gris. It will work for you. It’ll elevate even that hot pretzel with mustard into a culinary masterpiece!

Bright, refreshing, and light Pinot Rose has notes of strawberry, pomegranate, and rose petals. Its refreshing acidity makes it a great complement to a variety of food truck offerings. Try it with your hot sausage grinder, turkey sandwich, fried fish and chips, and pizza. Rose can be as versatile as Pinot Gris. If your local food truck drives up Greek, Mexican, Thai, or Indian, this Pinot Rose should definitely be in your wine rack.

Food trucks and wine: it is a perfect pairing in itself! Choose your favorite dish and pour a glass of refreshing Rainstorm wine to make it complete.