Best Getaways in Oregon for Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend: The official start of summer – and the perfect reason to get away. But with so many great spots in Oregon, it can be hard to choose your destination. Head to the coast for a beach adventure, or venture inland to indulge in delicious Willamette Valley wines? Tough choices! 

Willamette Valley Wines | Oregon Pinot | Rainstorm Wines

Here are our favorites getaways:

  1. Brookings: The southernmost city on the Oregon coast, Brookings is a town that comes alive on Memorial Day weekend when the Azalea Festival takes place. This four-day event comes complete with Ferris wheel, parade, car show, and tons of food and craft. Pro tip: End each evening with a glass of Oregon pinot.
  2. Bend: Attention, beer lovers! Bend is home to SMaSH Fest, an annual event featuring local craft beers, music, and much more. Even wine lovers have to admit that the brews are beyond tasty. While you’re there, you can also enjoy some of the local points of interest, like the Desert High Museum or a trail hike.
  3. Willamette Valley: Our local vineyards produce some of the finest wines in the world, like Oregon pinot gris and crisp rosé – perfect for summer. Book a B&B, plan your tasting route, and head to the Valley for a relaxing – and delicious – long weekend packed with Willamette Valley wines.
  4. Portland: Memorial Weekend is the official opening of summer fun at the Mt. Hood Skibowl Adventure Park, where a half-mile, dual-alpine slide snakes down the mountain for adventure-seekers looking for that downhill rush. There’s also a zip line and mini golf, along with other family-friendly activities. Plus, it’s Portland. There’s tons to do there!
  5. Grants Pass: Grants Pass is the place to go if you are looking for a more traditional way to observe Memorial Day. The U.S. Marine Corps holds an Observance Ceremony each year, with a gun salute and speeches from former servicemen and women. More than 1,000 flags line Hillcrest Memorial Park for the event. It’s the perfect way to honor our current and retired veterans and remember those whom we’ve lost.

Don’t spend Memorial Day weekend just wishing you were somewhere else – hit the road and travel to one of these great spots in Oregon! Drink some Willamette Valley wines, reflect on Memorial Day and what it means to you, and start summer off the right way!

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.

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.

Oregon Pinot Cosmic Tubing | Rainstorm

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!

10 Cool and Unusual Things to Do in Oregon in 2018

 

Willamette Valley Wines | Rainstorm Wines

  • 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!

Wine Country Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, start a new tradition. After you’ve stuffed yourself with turkey and pie, let the smorgasbord continue with Willamette Valley’s Wine Country Thanksgiving. Forget Black Friday; this is the way to spend the day after Thanksgiving. And the day after that and the day after that, because this event runs through the whole weekend! It’s the best way to sample some of the best Willamette Valley wines with family and friends who have come together for the holiday.

Willamette Valley Wines | Rainstorm Pinot Noir

What is Wine Country Thanksgiving? It isn’t a new event; in fact, it’s in it’s 35th year.  But every year brings something new, and 2017 will be no different. More than 150 wineries will be participating, each opening their doors and their cellars to the public for an immersive experience that combines education, food and wine pairings, and of course, ample tasting opportunities.

This is a fantastic way to indulge in some (or, better yet, all) of the fine Willamette Valley wines. Sweet whites, medium-bodied reds, dry rosés and everything in between – whatever your tastes are, there’s a wine for you. It’s also the perfect time to try some varietals and vintages you might not have the opportunity to explore normally.

Of course, Thanksgiving weekend isn’t just about wine. It’s also about spending time with the ones you love. That’s what makes Wine Country Thanksgiving so special. It’s not just your average wine festival or tasting event. It’s a way to connect and celebrate with family and friends, and maybe even make some new friends along the way.

So make Wine Country Thanksgiving part of your holiday tradition. Kick off the festivities with a bottle of Rainstorm pinot noir (the unofficial wine of Thanksgiving!), then head out to the wineries of your choice for a tasting extravaganza!  And this year, when Aunt Ethel asks what you’re thankful for, you can proudly declare, “Willamette Valley wines!”

Go Blackberry Picking in Willamette Valley

Stop whatever you’re doing, and head over to gorgeous Willamette Valley. August is berry-picking time, and this 150-mile stretch of Oregon is popping with flavor.

Willamette Valley Wines | Rainstorm Pinot Noir

While Willamette Valley wines are world-renowned and vineyards dot the landscape, the area also boasts acres of farms. These growers and producers help fuel Oregon’s appetite for hyper-local foods. If you are in the mood for blackberries bursting with sweet juice with the slightest hint of sass, go to the nearest U-Pick location (find one here!).

Sure, you can buy berries at farmers’ markets, but there’s just something about picking your own. You get to select the plumpest, blackest berries on the bush and start imagining all the wonderful preserves, desserts, and dishes you will enjoy as the result of your harvest.

Try a spinach, feta, and blackberry salad with a balsamic dressing or whip up a to-die-for blackberry and pinot noir steak sauce. You’ll need:

  • ½ cup Rainstorm Pinot Noir
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • ⅔ cup beef stock
  • ¼ cup fresh blackberries
  • 2 tbsp blackberry preserves
  • 1 tbsp butter, cold
  • 2 steaks
  • Fresh rosemary

Sear two steaks with a sprig of rosemary. While those are resting on a plate tented with tinfoil, make up the sauce. Using the same pan, cook shallots and thyme on medium heat until soft (about 2 minutes). Add the wine, and turn the heat up. Scrape browned bits from the steaks — wonderful flavor!

Reduce the wine by half, which takes about 3 minutes. Add the beef stock, berries, and berry preserves. Mash the whole berries with the back of your spoon. Simmer until the sauce coats the back of your spoon. Remove from heat and add the cold butter. Salt and pepper as desired. Drizzle the sauce over your steak and enjoy.

The possibilities are endless — and delicious. Of course, the berries may be too irresistible to make it all the way home! In that case, get your fruity fix from your favorite Willamette Valley wines.

Triple-Decker Baked Italian Cheese Sandwiches and Oregon Rosé

Some people search for the perfect wine to complement their food. We love to find the right food for our wine! The flowery, fruity notes of Oregon Rosé offer a pleasant flavor that instantly refreshes on those hot summer nights (or cold winter nights! It’s adaptable.) This triple-decker backed Italian cheese sandwich is an ideal accompaniment for a comfort-food indulgence any time of year.

Willamette Valley Wines | Oregon Rosé

Ingredients

8 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise

¼ cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp. thyme leaves

2 loaves bread (Italian, Pullman, etc.), ends discarded and sliced into 24 ½ inch thick pieces

1 pound sliced provolone

1 pound coarsely shredded Fontina

½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Gently toss the sliced tomatoes with half of the olive oil and salt and pepper, then arrange cut side up on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for about 1.5 hours, then sprinkle with thyme and bake for an additional 30 minutes until very tender.
  2. Increase oven temperature to 375. Brush 16 slices of bread with the remaining olive oil and arrange 8 of them oiled-side down on a baking sheet. Top with provolone and 8 slices of plain, unbrushed bread. Top the plain bread with the Fontina, reserving some of the cheese for later. Add the tomatoes on top of the Fontina, then top with the other 8 slices of oiled bread, oiled side up.
  3. Bake the sandwiches for about 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bread is toasted.
  4. Turn on the broiler. Toss the remaining Fontina with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and sprinkle onto the sandwiches. Broil for approximately one minute, or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

These sandwiches are good all by themselves, or you can serve them with crisp, tangy pickles and crunchy potato chips, or a green salad. Willamette Valley wines, with fruity and floral aromas, complement the rich cheese and sweet tomato flavors to round out the meal.

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.