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!

Did You Know These 5 Things About the Oregon Trail?

Fantastic Oregon wine is not this region’s only claim to fame. The Oregon Trail was, of course, the “Gateway to the West” — and, if you’re the right age, a thrilling computer game! But the legendary route holds some surprises, even nearly two centuries later. Did you know:

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  • The Oregon Trail meandered. This wasn’t an interstate! The original route led pioneers through Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, and Oregon. But as people trekked through the frontier, they spanned out to hunt or find land to graze their animals. Some also went “off road” to cut new trails.
  • Pioneers used “prairie schooners.” Most people think of the famed Conestoga wagon when they imagine the Oregon Trail. But these beasts were more like the 18-wheelers of today. They could carry in excess of 6 tons of freight. For faster (and we use that term loosely) travel, pioneers opted for the smaller “schooner,” which could cover 15-20 miles a day.
  • Not the bacon! Money-grubbing opportunists often conned pioneers into over-buying for the 5 month trek. As a result, they had to offload supplies en route. Legend has it that during the Gold Rush, pioneers left behind 20,000 pounds of bacon. The horror!
  • Disease was the enemy. Disease killed far more people (20,000) than attacks by Native Americans (about 400). “Indians” were far more likely to be allies on the journey, not adversaries.
  • The Oregon Trail left an indelible mark. Literally and figuratively. The importance of this route on American history cannot be over-emphasized. Pioneers made their mark – you can still see the ruts from the wagons in all six states.

Pioneers embody the bold spirit of the United States; they struck out, searching for better lives. This thirst for adventure and improvement drives us today.

And if you’re still sad about all that wasted bacon, serve up scrumptious bacon-and goat-cheese stuffed mushrooms with a glass of bold Rainstorm Pinot Noir. Ok, maybe it’s not what the settlers would have eaten, but we think they’d pull up a feed bag and dig in with us!

10 Animals You Can Expect to See in the Pacific Northwest

Behold the wonder that is the Pacific Northwest. Not only is the climate and topography ideal for growing delicious, dynamic Rainstorm wines, but it also makes the region an advantageous home to a variety of animals. While you’re out and about, be prepared to encounter these wild residents:

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  • Burrowing Owl. These wise old owls, weighing in at just 6 ounces, make their home in burrows dug by squirrels and other critters. Each nest houses a breeding pair who produce 7-10 owlets. Pocket-sized cuteness!


  • Sea Otter. Always a crowd-pleaser, these furry water-dwellers are a “keystone species.” They have a significant impact on the ecosystem and many other species depend on them for survival.


  • Gray Fox. These foxy creatures are actually quite shy. Keep your eyes open and you may spot one while it’s foraging for food – which can be anything from fruit and nuts to grasshoppers and carrion.


  • Bald Eagle. If you’re around large bodies of water, look out for these majestic hunters. When you see the signature white head and tail, you know it’s a mature eagle.


  • Black Bear. Solitary black bears prefer to roam wide tracts of wooded land as they “hunt” for fruits, nuts, berries, and small game. They mate in summer, so be wary; males can be aggressive. Best to stay well away!


  • Gray Wolf. Gray wolves form tight packs, and these families can survive and thrive virtually anywhere. The Pacific Northwest is hospitable in that it provides a diet of hoofed animals and plenty of space to roam.


  • Cougar. Count yourself lucky if you see one of these big cats; they prefer to avoid people – and each other! Quite solitary, their beauty is unparalleled.


  • Beaver. The general contractor of the wild, beavers are Oregon’s state animal. The largest member of the rodent family, they create important habitats for themselves and other animals.


  • Roosevelt Elk. Named after a famous Teddy, this subspecies has the longest antlers of any elk. There are over 5000 in the biggest unmanaged herd, located in Washington.


  • Sasquatch. Just a myth, a legend, a tall tale? Or perhaps Bigfoot is real. There are a lot of wild acres in the Pacific Northwest…. Maybe he’s hiding out there with the cougars!  Well, you may not be able to find the Sasquatch, but you can certainly find terrific Pacific Northwest wines to liven up your dinner conversation

Who is your favorite PNW native?


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?

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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.