Portland, OR Artist Spotlight: with Flora Bowley

Rainstorm Wines loves local flavor. And no one is spicier or hotter than Flora Bowley.

 

Oregon Pinot | Rainstorm Wines

Flora Bowley is a name with which many Portlanders are familiar. Even though this local artist is relatively new to our fair Oregon city, she’s already made a name for herself as a creative, passionate leader who has made it her mission to share her knowledge with others.

But who is Flora? Just one of the most respected and sought-after painters in the PNW — and beyond. She’s a fixture in the Portland art community, regularly painting in workshop sessions, collaborations with other artists, and independently for gallery exhibitions. She also teaches an online class called “Do What You Love”; a fitting name for a class taught by a woman who lives according to that philosophy exactly.

It’s that philosophy that has gotten Flora to where she is today. She’s spent her life doing what she loves, whether it was taking a break from college to go snowboarding or working as a massage therapist or putting students through their paces — and poses — as a yoga instructor.

She’s lived in tents and on the beach, roaming around wherever she felt a calling. In 2005, that calling was New Orleans, where she felt compelled to help after Hurricane Katrina. Flora hitched a ride to the Big Easy and opened a soup kitchen soon after arriving. For five months, she worked in the disaster zone, helping others and sharing her light and positivity.

After leaving New Orleans, Flora came to Portland and quickly embedded herself in the city’s thriving and diverse community of artists. Her work has been widely acclaimed, and the busy artist has still found the time to write a book, curate large art shows, participate in gallery exhibitions, teach courses around the globe, and paint for purely for pleasure.

Flora is one-of-a-kind. Her passion for creativity shines through in everything she does, whether it’s one of her colorful paintings or a community-driven effort to help others. She believes that every person has valuable contribution to share with the world, and she works tirelessly to help others tap into their inner creativity and find their own happiness.

For that, we at Rainstorm wines commend her, and we raise a glass of Oregon Pinot to Flora!

What Makes Willamette Valley Wines So Great?

Willamette Valley has proven to be the “next frontier” for winemakers. Sales are up, investors are buying hefty acreage, and the buzz is spreading internationally (in fact, international wine sales in Willamette Valley increased by 50% in 2014 alone). Several key factors are influencing the growth and popularity of Willamette Valley wines.

Willamette Valley Wines| Rainstorm Wines

Willamette Valley’s reputation for excellence is helped by the proximity to Portland Oregon’s foodie culture. Forty-five minutes from Portland is the home of Rainstorm wines. This popular winery welcomes tourists who travel from Portland for a day trip to the country to explore, and taste! Locals are also taking advantage of the amazing wines in their backyard. Portland’s cultural focus on local, fresh foods creates a blossoming market for equally local, fresh Willamette Valley Wines.  

Another important factor to the popularity of these versatile wines is the land which nurtures the vineyards. The cost of land is relatively cheap compared to surrounding areas. Investors are buying land there, and more competition has created better wines. 

Willamette Valley’s pinot noir production is to its advantage, as well. The obsession with pinot noir over the past few years has proven it is a fad here to stay, and Oregon’s signature wine is the classic pinot noir. In fact, 70% of Oregon’s Willamette Valley winery production went to pinot noir.

Another key factor: Willamette Valley vineyards get outstanding hospitality ratings. Investors are catching on to the area, but for now, more well-known local favorites such as Rainstorm are smaller and more unique than many other vineyards around the country. As a result, these vineyards are extremely welcoming. They are run by locals who are passionate about creating beautiful wines in this beautiful country.

Come and see  for yourself why Rainstorm wines and other varieties from the area are so popular. One sip is all the proof you need.

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival (March-May)

After exhausting your family’s list of winter activities, the spring offers a welcome change. The fresh air invigorates your senses, and nature comes alive! A perfect way to celebrate this time of the year is by checking out the Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest near Mt. Hood in Oregon and learning about Rainstorm Wines.

Willamette Valley Wines | Rainstorm Wines

What can you expect?

This festival is just about 45 minutes from Portland. While the tulips might be the most beautiful part, this festival is by no means only about flowers! People from across the country flock to this festival between March and May to check out the hay rides, wine tastings, and even duck races. Hot air balloon rides are a spectacular way to overlook the tulips! There are also zip lines, bungee jumps, and rock walls for the adventurous members of your family.

Visitors can enjoy local food carts and savor local Willamette Valley wines while they peruse the 40 expansive acres of dazzling tulips. On weekends there is a craft market, pony rides, and a meet-and-greet with Tulip the Cow, the Wooden Shoe Farm’s friendly mascot!

For 21+ family members, a Wine Wagon Farm Tour is a great way to enjoy the Tulip Fest. Enjoy locally-produced Rainstorm wines — made just 45 minutes away from the Wooden Shoe Farm — which have been garnering worldwide attention. The best part? You even get a sippy cup to go, so that you can keep the fun going even after the Wine Wagon Tour. Have a picnic in the beautiful Wooden Shoe vineyards, support local agriculture, and have fun doing it. The whole family, even Fido, can enjoy this festival, since admission hovers around just $20 for a family of five.

Oregon is filled with adventure and beautiful scenic routes at every turn. The Wooden Shoe Tulip festival is definitely in our books for one of the happiest places on Earth and you’ll see why if you ever go!

 

5 Best Places in the World to do Wine Tastings

Planning a vacation to visit one of the world’s greatest wine regions isn’t just for wine aficionados. With a backdrop of stunning scenery and an array of local activities, even the casual wine drinker will enjoy a trip to these gorgeous destinations.

Willamette Valley Wines | Rainstorm Wines

  1. Willamette Valley, Oregon. Willamette Valley wines are among the most vibrant and dynamic in the country, and in the world. The valley produces the grapes from which we make our very own Rainstorm wines. Further, the area covers more than 5,200 square miles, so you can find tastings all over this part of the Pacific Northwest. Prepare to be amazed by the incredible landscape while you’re here, too; forests, mountains, valleys, and rivers converge to create truly breathtaking scenery.  
  2. Sonoma County, California. Sonoma County is just an hour south of San Francisco, and its diverse landscape that includes redwoods and rugged coastline makes it one of the most beautiful places in California wine country. Cool climate wines, such as chardonnays and pinot noirs, are a focal point in Sonoma, but vintners in the area are serving up all varietals and vintages in their tasting rooms. There is something for everyone.
  3. Burgundy, France. The Burgundy region of France is known worldwide as one of the wine industry’s leading producers. The vintages created here feature nuanced flavor profiles that make the trek more than worth it. Make sure you have a reservation before visiting a vineyard, though. Most wineries in Burgundy don’t allow drop-ins, so plan your trip in advance.
  4. La Rioja, Spain. The La Rioja region of northern Spain boasts more than 500 wineries, each pouring fine wines distinctive of the area. The region is known for its full-bodied reds, and robust grapevines and centuries-old winemaking techniques have produced world-class wines. La Rioja is also home to the luxurious Marques de Riscal, the famed vineyard hotel.
  5. Barossa Valley, Australia. Australia’s Barossa Valley, located an hour from Adelaide on the continent’s southern side, is known for its flavorful shiraz wines and rieslings. You’ll feel right at home, welcomed by the open and friendly attitudes of the locals. Visit the country’s oldest, family-run winery of Yalumba, or any of the other many vineyards that offer tastings, tours, and fabulous on-site food.

Wine-centric vacations really are for everyone. The list above showcases just a few of the world’s finest wine regions. Start local with a tasting of Willamette Valley wines; you don’t need to travel across the globe for fabulous wines. But you can!

Oregon Truffle Festival

Are you ready to be seduced?

If so, the Oregon Truffle Festival will scintillate your senses and whet your appetite… for the region’s most delicious treats. No, not Willamette Valley wines – though, we encourage you to imbibe and enjoy the fine Northwestern varieties during the festival. We’re talking about truffles. Oregon is an epicenter for the rare, exquisite treats.

Willamette valley wines and truffle festival in Oregon.

Oregon’s climate is ideal for the growing of delectable truffles and boasts four native species. The area has a growing reputation for locally produced foods and world-class vineyards, including Rainstorm wines. The truffle is an exceedingly special addition to our regional plate. Given their rarity, they can cost as much as $800 per pound – rivaling their French black counterparts.

The annual Oregon Truffle Festival, held in January – when we sorely need a break from dreary winter weather – features several wonderful events. They include educational evenings where you can learn about truffles and taste incomparable samples, tours through truffle and wine country, a Fresh Truffle Marketplace, and sumptuous meal opportunities you do not want to miss.

Events sell out year after year, so be sure to secure yours today. When you visit the Fresh Truffle Marketplace, you will see a cornucopia of Oregon truffles, regional wines, and fresh artisan foods. Take in a truffle cooking demo so you can learn how to prepare these glorious treats at home. It’s best to learn how to store and cook with them from the experts. From creating truffled butter or oil to having it shaved over eggs, scallops, risotto, or pasta, you will make the most of each precious morsel.

You can also learn which of your favorite Rainstorm wines to pair with your truffle creations. A pasta with truffle oil and pinot noir, for example, will be a meal you, and your guests, will never forget.

If you are in the area, look into the Oregon Truffle Festival. It is well worth the price of admission. Purchase tickets here: http://www.oregontrufflefestival.com/tickets/

Wine on Wheels: Great Mobile Wine Trucks

Wine trucks: it’s an idea whose time has come. Food trucks have passed the “trend” stage and have firmly established themselves as a culinary staple. Now, mobile wine bars are driving up to cater to thirsty patrons. Imagine: you take your lamb tandoori kabab and slide over to a mobile wine bar for a glass of chilled-to-perfection Pinot Noir (yes, this is a red you chill!). Ahh, perfect!

Rainstorm Wines lists great mobile wine trucks that offer pinot noir.

A taste of our favorite wine trucks:

Union Wine Co. Tasting Truck

A downtown Portland favorite, the Union Wine Co. wants to make wine more accessible and approachable to people. Owner Ryan Harms says, “We saw a place for wine in Portland’s thriving food-cart scene and are excited to have our trucks join the community.”  As excited are city dwellers and visitors who have the opportunity to taste great regional varieties.

Chai Vin & Cie

Quebec is an enotourism hotspot. Wine lovers flock to the gorgeous province – and those in the know go to Chai Vin & Cie. Once an ice cream truck, it now serves six to eight varieties of wine, mostly locally sourced. They change them regularly, so each trip to the Canadian gem can yield a new experience.

Off the Grid

Located in The Yard, a year-round food village in the San Francisco Giant’s home at AT&T Park, is the fun Off the Grid. The wine bar serves regional wines and “small bites.” Pair the fish tacos with a light, fresh wine, and cheer on your team. (And if your team isn’t playing, just order another taco. And another glass of wine!).

Early Mountain Vineyards Airstream

If you’re in the Virginia/Washington DC area, sample the region’s best at this mobile wine bar. It frequents farmers’ markets, urban festivals, and other events where thirsty people need an infusion of fresh, clean wines.

Honorable wine truck mentions go to Deschutes Brewery’s “Woody,” Potter’s Craft Cider Tasting, and the Bulleit Woody Tailgate Trailer for wonderful wines and experiences. If mobile wine trucks haven’t caught up with your area yet, don’t worry. Rainstorm wines is there, ready to be poured into your waiting glass. Enjoy your favorite flavors with your favorite dishes – anytime.

Food Truck & Wine Pairings

1872. If you love food trucks, that’s a year you want to remember. A Providence vendor parked a covered wagon with pre-cut windows in front of a newspaper office and sold coffee, cold sandwiches, and pies to the press. Today, lines stretch as far as the eye can see for mouth-watering delights, from traditional fare to Korean BBQ, fish tacos, and tandoori chicken. There is something for everyone. The question is: what wine pairs with food trucks?

Rainstorm Wines lists the best food truck and wine pairings.

Pour a glass of your favorite Pinot Noir and start salivating over unique food truck offerings. Today’s trucks offer a global culinary menu, and complex, elegant Noir pairs perfectly with dishes ranging from eggplant and lamb and vegan enchiladas to green curries and gourmet pizzas with toppings such as arugula and mushroom. If your dish contains duck, goose, or chicken, Pinot Noir is a nice accompaniment as well.

If Pinot Gris is your go-to pour, the world is your oyster. And, yes, even oysters pair well with versatile. Find a food truck that serves BBQ, pork, chicken, hot and sour soup, fried and broiled seafood, veggie burgers, chili lime chicken kabobs… In other words, if you’re in doubt when it comes to pairing your food truck score with wine, go with bone-dry, fresh Rainstorm Pinot Gris. It will work for you. It’ll elevate even that hot pretzel with mustard into a culinary masterpiece!

Bright, refreshing, and light Pinot Rose has notes of strawberry, pomegranate, and rose petals. Its refreshing acidity makes it a great complement to a variety of food truck offerings. Try it with your hot sausage grinder, turkey sandwich, fried fish and chips, and pizza. Rose can be as versatile as Pinot Gris. If your local food truck drives up Greek, Mexican, Thai, or Indian, this Pinot Rose should definitely be in your wine rack.

Food trucks and wine: it is a perfect pairing in itself! Choose your favorite dish and pour a glass of refreshing Rainstorm wine to make it complete.

Best Wine Bars in Portland, Oregon

Willamette Valley wines are among the finest in the country; the Northwestern region is home to more than 500 wineries and is renowned for its elegant, complex, and subtle Pinot Noir. As a review in Wine Enthusiast emphasized, the Valley’s “soil and climate give the wines muscle, depth and – at times – super powers.” And, when you know where all of Portland’s best wine bars are, you, too, have superpowers that will amaze – and delight – your friends.

Rainstorm Wines lists the best wine bars in Portland, Oregon.

Our top picks:

Pour Wine Bar and Bistro

If you’re thinking wine bar = pretentious and pricey, Pour is a refreshing answer. Incredibly reasonable (and we mean incredibly, especially during “Poor Hour”), this establishment features an array of gorgeous regional wines paired with simply, and simply delicious, local food. They’re committed to small vineyards, growers, and producers. Wonderful experiences will be had at Pour.

ENSO Urban Winery

With open, lounge-style seating, ENSO is a perfect place to bring friends. It features a wide range of price points, meaning everyone can indulge. If you are a member, you can bring up to four people for a complimentary tasting with each visit. You can also enjoy a free glass of wine on your birthday and $5 dollar delivery in the Portland area. Not a member? It’s still a great wine bar with an urban warehouse industrial yet comfortable vibe going on. Hip and trendy without trying: perfect.

Southeast Wine Collective

This is a bit  more conventional than ENSO or Pour, and that can be exactly what your palate is craving. SE Wine features a cozy atmosphere, select Willamette Valley wines, a barrel room, and production floor. This is the place to go if you want to nibble from “small plates” – or if you want to make a night of it with a multi-course menu expertly paired with local wines.

Portland, Oregon is a wine-lover’s dream. It has a mix of trendy, affordable, high-end, conventional, contemporary, and off-beat wine bars. As wonderful,, spend a night in at your own wine bar. With complex, aromatic, flavorful Rainstorm wines and a great meal, you can transform any evening into a cozy, inviting event.

Why Portland, Oregon is Weird and We Like It (With a Glass of Rainstorm Wine)

Austin, Texas may hold the title as the original “weird” city, but Portland has quickly gained notoriety as the weirdo on the West Coast – and we love it! Portland is home to all sorts of odd and awesome things, from shops and restaurants to local scenery and people. Of course, we’re also known for our fabulous Oregon wines (including Rainstorm wines, naturally), but there’s nothing weird about these – they’re just delicious!

Oregon Wines | Rainstorm Wines

Here’s why we’re okay with that adjective being bestowed on our fair city:

  • The Naked Bike Ride: PDX is one of the few places on Earth where, once a year, you’ll find thousands of people riding their bicycles along a predetermined route WHILE COMPLETELY NAKED. Let us repeat that: everyone is completely naked. As in, zero clothes. On bikes. En mass. ‘Nuff said.
  • The Horse Project: Do you like horses? How about tiny, colorful plastic horses tethered to rings scattered along city sidewalks? Well, we like them in Portland, and this is obvious by the hundreds of maned beauties you’ll find randomly throughout our city. Giddy up!
  • The Giant Paul Bunyan Statue: Because who cares that he’s actually supposed to be from Michigan or Minnesota or some other M state? We love him in Portland!
  • Hardcore Scooter Gangs: The Hells Angels they are not, but it would still take a brave soul to confront one of Portland’s notorious moped gangs. Groups such as the Twist n Play and the Moped Army regularly get together to terrorize the city compare paint jobs and putt around the city at about 43 mph, tops.
  • The Peculiarium: Yes, we actually have an entire museum dedicated to the weird. Packed full of oddities like zombie brains and an alien surgery exhibit, this place is definitely bizarre but in a delightful way. And, it’s only $5 to get in. Unless you’re a dog or wearing a particularly spectacular costume, in which case admission is free!

We told you Portland was weird, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Of course, you’ll have to come out and see for yourself, and don’t forget to sample some delicious Oregon wines while you’re here! Rainstorm wines can be found all over the city, so stop into one of our weird bars or restaurants for a glass or five!

Bring Your Own Rainstorm Wines to Hood River, Oregon

Hood River is one of Oregon’s best-kept secrets. Okay fine, maybe it’s not such a secret, but it’s still pretty spectacular! The area is known for its stunning natural beauty and as a vibrant sports mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s also a great place to enjoy a fantastic Oregon wine, such as a Pinot Rosé.

Pinot Rosé Wine | Rainstorm Wine

That’s the beauty of wine, really – anyone can enjoy it just about anywhere, whether you’re in Hood River or Timbuktu! Here are just a few of the ways you can enjoy some fine Rainstorm wines:

  • Pack it with a picnic: Find a pretty place to spread out a blanket, then get comfy and pop open a bottle. The relaxing setting combined with the smoothness of the wine will melt stress and fill you will all kinds of warm fuzzies.
  • Curl up with a good book: Know what makes reading even more enjoyable? When you do it with a glass of wine! A great book, a cozy spot, and some yummy wine, and you’ve got yourself a perfect night in.
  • Netflix and wine: Yes, we know Netflix and chill is a thing, but so is Netflix and wine – and if it’s not, we’re making it one. Sipping a glass or two (or three, we won’t tell) while you watch something on the tube amounts to another perfect evening.
  • Poolside vino: Fruity drinks with little umbrellas are the usual fare you’ll find people sipping by the pool, but who says you gotta choose a fufu drink when you’re lounging poolside? A glass of Pinot Rosé is a great alternative, and you’ll look chill and sophisticated as you soak up the sun.

An Oregon wine like Rainstorm wines is the perfect accompaniment to your summer in Hood River – or wherever you are! There are lots of opportunities to enjoy it, and some of the best are the low-key ways described above. So crack open your book, start your movie, or get your tan on, and do it with a glass of wine!