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!

Duck Breast with Pomegranate-Citrus Glaze and Pinot Noir

Finding the perfect food and wine pairings can be intimidating — especially if you’ve got guests coming in a few hours and still have to select the right bottle! When in doubt, though, go with pinot noir. This smooth operator is a dynamo with food; its acidity infuses it with incredible versatility, so it pairs with everything from lamb to Chinese pizza. Try this delectable duck breast with pomegranate-citrus glaze; it’s guaranteed to delight your taste buds.

Oregon Wine | Rainstorm Pinot Noir

Fine and Fowl

Rainstorm Pinot Noir blends the earthy, complexity characteristic of the Willamette Valley with the bright, fruitiness of the hotter, drier Umpqua Valley. The result is a harmonious, yet layered, wine with the fresh acidity to complement the the richness of the glazed duck. For this recipe from the Kitchn.com you will need:

  • 2 duck breasts
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tbsp white vermouth
  • 1 large orange, juiced
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole cloves
  • ⅛ tsp cardamom

To make:

  1. Heat your oven to 400 F.
  2. Place the breasts fat side up and use a knife to crosshatch the skin. Don’t pierce the meat itself.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Put the breasts fat side down in a large skillet.
  5. On low, cook the breasts for about 10 to 15 minutes. The fat will render out without cooking the breasts too much. You don’t want it to spit or flare, so keep it very low.
  6. As the fat renders, mix the pomegranate molasses, vermouth, OJ, honey, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom in a saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes or until 210F. Turn off heat and set aside.
  7. By this time, the skin on the breasts should look crisp. Turn off the heat and remove them from the skillet.
  8. Pour the liquid fat into a bowl and refrigerate. You can also use it to saute vegetables to have with dinner.
  9. Put the breasts back into the skillet, fat side up, and brush with the pomegranate mixture.
  10. Pop it in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes (or about 130F for medium rare or 160F for a hint of pink in the middle).
  11. Remove the breasts from the oven and put them on your cutting board. Tent them with foil for a few minutes.
  12. Brush them with more glaze.
  13. Slice thin and serve over wilted greens or sauteed root vegetables.
  14. If you have leftovers, serve the duck over a salad of fresh greens with a little mustard.

Oregon wine is a reflection of the area’s unique geography and climate. Rainstorm Pinot Noir blends the best of the Willamette and Umpqua Valleys to deliver a delightful, fresh, and vibrant partner for any number of dishes. Bon Appetite!

Go Blackberry Picking in Willamette Valley

Stop whatever you’re doing, and head over to gorgeous Willamette Valley. August is berry-picking time, and this 150-mile stretch of Oregon is popping with flavor.

Willamette Valley Wines | Rainstorm Pinot Noir

While Willamette Valley wines are world-renowned and vineyards dot the landscape, the area also boasts acres of farms. These growers and producers help fuel Oregon’s appetite for hyper-local foods. If you are in the mood for blackberries bursting with sweet juice with the slightest hint of sass, go to the nearest U-Pick location (find one here!).

Sure, you can buy berries at farmers’ markets, but there’s just something about picking your own. You get to select the plumpest, blackest berries on the bush and start imagining all the wonderful preserves, desserts, and dishes you will enjoy as the result of your harvest.

Try a spinach, feta, and blackberry salad with a balsamic dressing or whip up a to-die-for blackberry and pinot noir steak sauce. You’ll need:

  • ½ cup Rainstorm Pinot Noir
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • ⅔ cup beef stock
  • ¼ cup fresh blackberries
  • 2 tbsp blackberry preserves
  • 1 tbsp butter, cold
  • 2 steaks
  • Fresh rosemary

Sear two steaks with a sprig of rosemary. While those are resting on a plate tented with tinfoil, make up the sauce. Using the same pan, cook shallots and thyme on medium heat until soft (about 2 minutes). Add the wine, and turn the heat up. Scrape browned bits from the steaks — wonderful flavor!

Reduce the wine by half, which takes about 3 minutes. Add the beef stock, berries, and berry preserves. Mash the whole berries with the back of your spoon. Simmer until the sauce coats the back of your spoon. Remove from heat and add the cold butter. Salt and pepper as desired. Drizzle the sauce over your steak and enjoy.

The possibilities are endless — and delicious. Of course, the berries may be too irresistible to make it all the way home! In that case, get your fruity fix from your favorite Willamette Valley wines.

Crater Lake: The Deepest Lake in the US

As you relax with a perfectly chilled glass of Oregon Pinot Gris, you can thank the region’s dramatic, varied, and exciting landscape for the crisp, clean flavors. From snowy mountain peaks and rugged forests to fog-swept ridges and cool, rich valleys, Oregon has a lot to offer — including the deepest lake in the US. Dive in to Crater Lake.Oregon Pinot | Rainstorm

 

1 of the 7 Wonders of Oregon

Crater Lake was formed when the volcanic Mount Mazama erupted. The violence of the fiery explosion caused the mountain to collapse. The resulting “crater” is filled with the deepest, clearest, bluest water you’ll ever see.

The dramatic setting does the remarkable body of water justice: 2000 foot cliffs surround the 1943-foot deep Crater Lake, and hundreds of acres of glacier-carved terrain treat visitors to exceptional adventures. Hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, backpacking, camping, boating, and picnicking are favorite activities. What could be better than enjoying the stunning views with a picnic basket full of cheeses, charcuterie, and your favorite Pacific Northwest wines?

Want to plan a visit? July through mid-September are prime months; the weather is mild, and you’re not likely to get rained out of your excursions. Even in warm months, though, make sure to bring layers and a warm jacket. The weather can be moody!

In the winter months, many roads are closed, though the park remains open. If you want a taste of delicious peace and quiet, try snowshoeing or skiing. Again, be prepared with cold weather gear, and make sure you tell people where you’re going and when you plan to return.

Once you set eyes on the fathomless depths of Crater Lake, you’ll see why it is one of the seven wonders of Oregon. While you’re planning your visit, enjoy the eighth wonder: some vibrant Oregon Pinot Gris, Noir, or Rose.

Oregon Zoo Summer Concert Lineup

It’s summer in the Pacific Northwest, and that can mean only one thing!

Hiking along the shoreline of the amazing Crater Lake? Strolling through the aromatic International Rose Test Garden? Biking down Mount Ashland? Berry picking in the Willamette Valley? Terrific tastings of clear, crisp Oregon pinot gris? Ok, summer here means a lot of things! But one of our favorites is the Oregon Zoo Summer Concert Series.

Oregon Wines | Rainstorm Wines

The “Wild” Life at Oregon Zoo

In 1979, the Oregon Zoo became famous for more than its animal life. It was the first zoo to host a summer series of concerts. Today, these events are eagerly anticipated and thoroughly enjoyed. Music ranges from classic American to intricate Croatian to a Bowie tribute band from Brazil. Like diverse Oregon wines, there is a “flavor” for everyone at the zoo.

General admission tickets grant you a festival-like experience — get out the blanket and get ready to relax. This is first-come-first-serve, so get there early! If you want to be sure of a spot, take advantage of reserved seating. If you really want to live it up, opt for “Terrace” seating. You’ll enjoy a private cash beer and wine bar and a buffet. (Stage views are first-come-first-serve.)

Local brews and wines are available for purchase, as are foods from a variety of vendors. (No outside food/beverages permitted.) The Concert Series is committed to showing off the best of the area’s local and sustainable food and drink options. Enjoy!

The Oregon Zoo sure knows how to put on a show. Better yet, you get a two-fer: an awesome performance and a day at the zoo. Your ticket allows you admission to the zoo on the day of your concert, so you can arrive early and visit your furry, feathery, and slithery favorites.

It’s summer in Oregon — and the possibilities are endless. Get your concert tickets now!

Triple-Decker Baked Italian Cheese Sandwiches and Oregon Rosé

Some people search for the perfect wine to complement their food. We love to find the right food for our wine! The flowery, fruity notes of Oregon Rosé offer a pleasant flavor that instantly refreshes on those hot summer nights (or cold winter nights! It’s adaptable.) This triple-decker backed Italian cheese sandwich is an ideal accompaniment for a comfort-food indulgence any time of year.

Willamette Valley Wines | Oregon Rosé

Ingredients

8 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise

¼ cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp. thyme leaves

2 loaves bread (Italian, Pullman, etc.), ends discarded and sliced into 24 ½ inch thick pieces

1 pound sliced provolone

1 pound coarsely shredded Fontina

½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Gently toss the sliced tomatoes with half of the olive oil and salt and pepper, then arrange cut side up on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for about 1.5 hours, then sprinkle with thyme and bake for an additional 30 minutes until very tender.
  2. Increase oven temperature to 375. Brush 16 slices of bread with the remaining olive oil and arrange 8 of them oiled-side down on a baking sheet. Top with provolone and 8 slices of plain, unbrushed bread. Top the plain bread with the Fontina, reserving some of the cheese for later. Add the tomatoes on top of the Fontina, then top with the other 8 slices of oiled bread, oiled side up.
  3. Bake the sandwiches for about 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bread is toasted.
  4. Turn on the broiler. Toss the remaining Fontina with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and sprinkle onto the sandwiches. Broil for approximately one minute, or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

These sandwiches are good all by themselves, or you can serve them with crisp, tangy pickles and crunchy potato chips, or a green salad. Willamette Valley wines, with fruity and floral aromas, complement the rich cheese and sweet tomato flavors to round out the meal.

Fennel Garlic Pork Roast and Pinot Noir

You’ll definitely want to put this on the menu soon. The Mediterranean-inspired dish is delicious, versatile, and the bold flavors of fennel and garlic pair perfectly with a fine Oregon Pinot. Plan ahead, though, as it needs to brine overnight and then absorb the flavors of the rub for a couple of hours after brining.

Oregon Pinot | Rainstorm Wines

 

Brine Ingredients

¼ cup honey

2 tbsp black peppercorns

15 or so fresh bay leaves, or 5 dried

10 sprigs of fresh thyme

10 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley

2 heads garlic, halved horizontally

1 cup kosher salt

3 quarts cold water

4 lb. boneless pork loin

 

Rub ingredients

2 tbsp chopped fennel seeds

1 tsp crushed red pepper

6 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp lemon zest

Pinch of salt

¼ cup olive oil

2 tbsp canola oil

 

Steps

  1. Make the brine by combining the honey, peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, garlic and salt with 1 quart of water in a small saucepan. Stir to dissolve the salt, and then bring the mixture to a boil. Pour into a bowl and let cool. Add the remaining 2 quarts of water, add the pork loin, and refrigerate for 12 to 18 hours.
  2. Pull out your food processor or go old school with a mortar and pestle. Combine fennel seeds, red pepper, garlic, lemon zest and salt. Form a paste. Add the olive oil, stirring to combine. Rub half of the paste onto the lean side of the pork and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, heat the canola oil. When hot, add the pork, fat side down, searing for about 5 minutes or until browned. Transfer the pork to a baking pan with a rack, placing it fat side up. Slather on the remaining rub and roast for about 1 hour, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 140 to 145 degrees.  

Serve this tender and flavorful pork roast with some roasted or mashed potatoes, fresh green salad and crusty rolls. For a wine pairing, the earthy and complex flavor profile of a Rainstorm Pinot Noir is a perfect accompaniment.