When to Do Oregon Wine Country

Want to plan the perfect wine vacation? Oregon wine country is beautiful and exciting just about any time of the year. But we must say, there are certainly some prime times to visit. With the exception of winter, when most wineries close their doors to visitors, each season has something great to offer.

Oregon Wine Country | Rainstorm Wines

Spring

Put a spring in your step with a relaxed, crowd-free setting. While the weather is busy trying to decide if it should be cold or warm, wineries open their doors and welcome the year’s first visitors. Cool and rainy days dominate the season, but this means that crowds are thinner and wineries are quieter and bit more peaceful.

Summer

Tasting goes full throttle during the summer months in Oregon wine country, as the weather is gorgeous and everyone wants to enjoy every second. Many of the state’s 400+ wineries host events and festivals during this season. If you want to get in on this action, the time to go is between the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. Everything from tastings, including our own Rainstorm wines, to vineyard tours to special goody giveaways await.

Fall

Fall is a busy time for vintners in our fair state. This is harvest season, so it’s a mad dash to make sure the grapes  – pinot noir, riesling, cab, and more – are harvested at the peak of ripeness. From there, the transformation from fruit to wine begins. For those who want a more hands-on experience with their wine tasting, autumn is a good time to visit. Many wineries offer activities like grape picking and stomping.

Just about any time of the year is the right time to visit Oregon wine country. You may even find a few wineries that are open in winter, but be sure to call ahead to check the hours before making the journey. And don’t forget: Rainstorm wines can be enjoyed anytime – anywhere!

Wine Country Weekend in Oregon

There’s nothing quite like springtime in Oregon. With cold weather giving way to warmer temperatures and plenty of flowers, it’s an ideal time to be outdoors and enjoy nature’s show (but be sure to keep an umbrella handy, just in case). It’s also a great time to plan your Wine Country Weekend and sample delicious Willamette Valley wines.

Oregon Wine Country Weekend Willamette Valley Wines | Rainstorm Wines

May Is Oregon Wine Month

Mark your calendars: May is Oregon Wine Month, with special events planned throughout the state for 31 glorious days. From tastings to educational experiences, every weekend in May can be a Wine Country Weekend. Start off on May 5 with the Umpqua Valley Winegrowers Barrel Tour, where you and your friends can tour wineries in the area by bus.

The following weekend, the Dundee Hills Winegrowers host a tasting event with several Dundee Hills wineries, each with its own featured wine.

Drink Willamette Valley Wines

And you definitely don’t want to miss out on the wine event on Memorial Day weekend. Sponsored by the Willamette Valley Wineries Association, this wine party includes more than 150 participating wineries and is one of the longest-running events in the region. This is your chance to stoke the fires of your love affair with wine!

There are six wine loops to choose from, including the Portland to Willamette loop where you’ll enjoy a variety of Willamette Valley wines, and the McMinnville walking loop located in the heart of Oregon wine country. With all the participating wineries, you’re guaranteed to find a new summer favorite, like a wonderfully balanced rosé or a refreshing pinot gris. So kick off the summer the right way and plan to attend!

Spring and early summer are the perfect seasons for a Wine Country Weekend in Oregon. Whether you live in-state or will be traveling to get here, we’re ready to share some our finest Rainstorm wines with you.

Columbia Gorge Wine Tasting Experience Comes to Portland

Busy on Thursday, April 12? You are now! That’s when the Columbia Gorge Winegrowers are coming to town. Dubbed the Portland Grand Tasting, this is a can’t-miss event that both wine enthusiasts and casual imbibers will enjoy for its educational and social opportunities – and of course, the many fabulous Willamette Valley wines.

Willamette Valley Wines | Rainstorm Wines

This tasting event will feature unique tastes from all over the Valley, with offerings from more than 20 vintners, including Rainstorm wines. Merlot’s, pinot grigios, chardonnays, rosés – they’ll be there, along with all your other favorites.

Each winery will be showcasing its finest varietals and vintages, and this means smooth, delicious wine galore. Whether you just like wine or you’re in full-blown love with it, this is your chance to develop your relationship with the grape even further through education and ample tasting opportunities. It is a love affair worth nurturing, after all.

Your ticket to the Portland Grand Tasting will include admission to the tasting room where complimentary tastings abound and light snacks are available for nibbling. You’ll also get a cool commemorative wine glass so you can prove to all your friends that you were there.

If you want a next-level experience, opt for the VIP ticket. This will score you early admission to the event, access to the VIP balcony, small bites, special library tastings, and more in-depth wine educational experiences. There are only 70 of these tickets available, though, so if you’re a true VIP, get on it.

Don’t miss out on April 12. If you’re in the Portland area, make plans to sample some of the best Willamette Valley wines there are at the Portland Grand Tasting. Trust us, you don’t want to miss out on this incredible tasting opportunity!

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!

Willamette Valley Wines | Rainstorm Wines

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.

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.

Valentine’s day wine | Rainstorm Wines

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 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:

Pacific Northwest Wines | Rainstorm

 

  • 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?

 

Best Ski & Snowboard Resorts in Oregon

Skiers and snowboarders flock to Oregon to enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and terrific year-round conditions. What will you discover on our snowy peaks?

Wine from Willamette Valley | Rainstorm

Accessible Trails

Powder-chasers wanting to pass on the tradition to their children often choose Oregon, since its variety of mountains range from beginner to expert. At many resorts, children under 5 ski free. This is a great way to introduce the next generation to the addicting sport.

If you have always wanted to try a snow sport but have been too nervous, Oregon is a great entry-level vacation spot where the mood is relaxed and the resorts are easy-going. Lessons are available at many of the resorts if you need an intro or refresher.

Excellent Conditions

Several of Oregon’s most famous ski areas are located on volcano Mount Hood. And with a climate that produces amazing snowfall with mild temperatures, even those who are not cold weather enthusiasts can have a great time.

If you do not have time to visit the popular wine country in Oregon, you can enjoy a little apres ski with local wines from Willamette Valley, which are available near most popular ski resorts, such as Willamette Pass. Bonus: this unique ski and snowboard area boasts one of the steepest runs in the world. Just ski then indulge!

Another favorite way to enjoy the terrain is through night skiing offered at many Oregon resorts. This is a beautiful way to appreciate nature (and squeeze a few more runs into your day). For those of you who might enjoy relaxing in the lodge instead of on the slopes, Oregon is also known for its innovative cuisine. Paired with delicious Rainstorm wines and gorgeous nature scenes, post-ski leisure is just as exciting.

There’s truly something for everybody. After spending the day on the slopes, don’t forget to to sample delectable wines from Willamette Valley and discover more of what Oregon has to offer.

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:

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  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.

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!

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!