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?

Oregon Win | Rainstorm Pinot Gris

 

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.

Don’t Miss the Festival of Lights at the Grotto!

Oregon is home to many year-round, world-famous festivals. This corner of the Pacific Northwest is a hub for foodies, Oregon wine enthusiasts, and powder-chasers alike. One must-see attraction this Christmas season is the famous Festival of Lights at the Grotto in Portland. It is known as the largest Christmas choral festival in the world! Do not miss this!

Wines from the Pacific Northwest | Rainstorm

The Grotto is well known for its gardens and gorgeous masses. This popular festival includes about 160 choral concerts, caroling, petting zoos (we all want to see the new baby camel coming this year, am I right!) and much more!

During the holidays, it can be hard to keep the true meaning of Christmas alive. The holidays can become more about frantically shopping and stress-eating gingerbread cookies than about shared quality time. The Festival of Lights is a wonderful activity that highlights the wonder of Christmas. Whether you’re beholding the wonder with children, family, friends, or strolling through for some peace and solitude, you’ll be delighted.

With 600-seat chapels that produce chilling acoustics, family-oriented activities, and gorgeous scenic walks to enjoy, it would be difficult to be a Grinch this Christmas after enjoying the Festival of Lights. It is the type of wondrous experience that stays with you throughout the season.

The spirit of of the season comes alive when the Festival opens the day after Thanksgiving, and it continues until December 30. It is located right in Portland– great for those vacationing to the area. It is conveniently close to the local vineyards that Portland natives and tourists love.

Experiencing wines from the pacific northwest is another vacation must-do; the varying climate conditions create diverse selections of grapes. Before filling up on the holiday-themed food and drink at the Festival of Lights, be sure to check out the vast selection of Oregon wine to enjoy during your seasonal festivities.

10 Parks to See Foliage in the Fall

The best part of autumn is seeing green leaves change into brilliant shades of scarlet and gold. Oregon is one of the best places in the U.S. to see this annual transformation, and nothing beats a foliage excursion capped with a picnic featuring fine Oregon wine. Ten parks to make the most of beautiful fall colors:

Oregon Wine | Rainstorm Wines

  1. Mt. Hood Scenic Loop: At 146 miles, this scenic drive provides plenty of autumnal viewing options. The Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood may be the focal points of the trip, but the abundant trees with their stunning fall colors are the real stars of the show.
  2. Forest Park - Just west of downtown Portland, Forest Park is home to an extraordinary amount of flaming maple trees. The Maple Trail Loop Hike is the best way to enjoy the splendor, so strap on some comfy hiking shoes.
  3. McKenzie River - Here, you can enjoy the fall foliage on foot or by car. Hiking trails along the riverfront are the perfect place to take in the warm fall colors. For those who prefer to enjoy the scenery from their vehicle, the McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway winds around colorful aspen stands that will give you a brand new appreciation for the season.
  4. Washington Park – Right in the heart of downtown Portland, Washington Park may not be your first guess for amazing fall foliage, but you’d be making a mistake to skip this one. Between the trees at the Hoyt Arboretum and the Portland Japanese Garden, you’ve got a feast of autumn color to enjoy.
  5. Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway - The 172-mile route hugs the Upper Rogue and North Umpqua Rivers, both of which are lined with beautiful trees dressed in their autumn best.
  6. Drake Park - This Bend, OR park is a fall must. Mirror Pond holds true to its name, reflecting the brilliant colors of the maples and willows that fill the park and giving you double the beauty.
  7. Lithia Park – Lithia Park covers 93 acres in Ashland. In addition to the “usual suspects,” like maples and aspen, you’ll see some different species, like the Japanese snowbell and European beech.
  8. Upper Klamath Basin - The oaks are the real stars here. Other autumn performers include maple, aspen, and red alder.
  9. Silver Falls State Park – The Trail of Ten Falls is the spot to be, and hiking along this path will introduce you to color like you’ve never seen before.
  10. Willamette Valley, aka Wine Country – People don’t normally associate fall foliage with wine country, but Oregon’s Willamette Valley is still host to some of the season’s most phenomenal color shows. While the stands of white oak have given way to vineyards, the warm browns and yellows of the season can still be found throughout the Valley – along with delectable Rainstorm wines.

Autumn’s dry, crisp, dynamic flavor pairs perfectly with complex, diverse, and “colorful” taste of a great Oregon wine. Enjoy.

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!