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!

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!

Smallest Park in the World: Portland, OR

What do you think of when you hear the word “park”? Do you picture acres and acres of greenery? Maybe some benches and fountains, or playground equipment for the kids? Enjoying a picnic with some fine Oregon wine perhaps?

Smallest Park| Oregon Wine | Rainstorm

How about 452 square inches of land, complete with a tree and some ground cover? For reference, that’s roughly the size of a large manhole cover. And that’s exactly how big Portland’s Mill Ends Park — aka the smallest park in the world  — is.

Mill Ends came about almost by accident. The site, located across from legendary columnist Dick Fagan’s office, was originally intended to house a light pole.  As Fagan told it, he looked out the window one day and saw a leprechaun.

Ah, the luck of the Irish!

The newspaperman ran outside to catch the elusive sprite, and when he did, he was granted one wish. Fagan wished for a park of his own. But since he failed to specify the size, the leprechaun gifted him the 452 square inch hole in the ground. Fagan accepted this and planted the park’s first flowers. Two years later, on St. Patrick’s Day 1948, the site was dedicated as a park and became known as the “only Leprechaun colony west of Ireland.”

Today, the small park with the big reputation remains a local treasure among Portlanders. Mill Ends is located in the median of SW Naito Parkway, so it’s not exactly the most relaxing park to hang out in, but that hasn’t stopped visitors from popping by to take a picture or leave a memento. A swimming pool for butterflies has been added, complete with a diving board, and annual events, such as a St. Patrick’s Day celebration recognizing the park’s leprechaun colony, are popular draws.

If you’re ever in Portland, take the time to stop by Mill Ends. You can take a picture of this infamous Portland gem, or even have a mini picnic with a bottle of Rainstorm Pinot Gris. And maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of one of the resident leprechauns.

Summer Adventuring with Rainstorm Pinot Gris

Everyone knows that summertime is the best time to go adventuring. The sun is out, the weather is warm, and the opportunities for outdoor (and indoor) fun are plentiful. Grab a glass of Rainstorm Pinot Gris or another fine Oregon wine, and start planning your own adventure! Need some ideas? We’ve got you covered!

Rainstorm Pinot Gris | Rainstorm Wines

  • Go hiking: Grab your pack, head to your closest national or state park, and hit the trail. Hiking is an excellent way to get in tune with nature, and you’re guaranteed to witness some amazing sights and scenic vistas. Stash a bottle of Oregon wine in your pack for a top-of-the-trail treat.
  • Take a stay-cation: Being a tourist in your own city is underrated. When you take a stay-cation, you get the chance to look at your home with a whole new perspective. Do some research online for the most ‘tourist-y’ things to do, and enjoy!
  • Jump out of an airplane: Send your adrenaline skyrocketing by booking a tandem skydiving session. If free falling isn’t your thing, a white water rafting trip or a visit to your nearest zip line park will get your heart pounding.
  • Hit up an outdoor music festival: Summer is THE time for partying at a music fest. If there’s not one in your town, no problem. Gather up a few friends and make a road trip out of it! Because road trips + music festivals = unforgettable summer adventure.
  • Venture to wine country: No, we’re not talking about Napa Valley! Oregon boasts its own premier wineries, and the scenery in our fine state is second to none. A delightfully crisp Rainstorm Pinot Gris will have you convinced of this in no time.

When it comes to adventures, there’s no time like the present.  We may be halfway through July, but that’s okay – there’s still plenty of time for you to plan an adventure or two before autumn comes!