Classic Toasts for All Occasions

There are those people who can stand and give a toast that leaves the entire room in tears. More power to them, but if you’re not one of those people, what can you say? Maybe you’re not a good public speaker, you have social anxiety, or you’re just tired from the work week. Giving toasts doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Keep these classic toasts in the back of your pocket for the next time you raise a glass of Rainstorm pinot with friends and family:

Classic Toasts | Rainstorm Pinot | Rainstorm Wines of Willamette Valley, Oregon

To the next step:

The beauty of this toast is that it’s unique to everyone in the room, and it pays a deep compliment to whoever you’re there to celebrate.

“The next step in life is different for everyone in this room. May we all make it with the same grace and joy as the bride and groom.”

Swap out the “bride and groom” with mom or dad, your friend who took on a new job, or whoever is the center of attention that evening. You get the idea. Or try this version of a classic literature quote:

“We know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, let’s go to it laughing.”

To good health and a happy life:

You’ll never go wrong wishing everyone in the room health and happiness. No grinch is going to be upset that you didn’t wish them sickness and drudgery.

“May everyone celebrating today see health and happiness in their lives, and have the good fortune to share it with each other as we are right now.”

Or try the briefer:

“May you live as long as you like, and have all you like as long as you live.”

To acceptance and love:

You’re always thankful for the people who will be there no matter what. They’ve seen you succeed and they’ve seen you break, and they never felt differently about you in either instant.

“Here’s to those who’ve seen us at our best and seen us at our worst and love us regardless.”

If you want the joke to be on you, you can always try the old-fashioned version:

“Here’s to those who’ve seen us at our best and seen us at our worst and can’t tell the difference.”

What if you forget your toast?

If someone else already stole your classic toasts, or you can’t remember yours, just remember to speak from the heart. You don’t have to be complex or clever. Half of the witty toasts sink like a rock. It’s the heartfelt ones that people remember. You just have to mean it. Take a sip of Rainstorm pinot for bravery and to shake out the nerves, and give it your best shot.

Is Pinot Noir Sweet?

What makes a dry red wine? What’s the difference between dry and sweet? Let’s take the pride and joy of Oregon wine, pinot noir. Red wine like this tastes full of fruit like cherries and sometimes blackberries. So how is it that something with sweet flavors isn’t actually considered sweet? These questions have simpler answers than you think.

Dry Red Wine | Pinot Noir Red Wine | Rainstorm Wines

Why Dry or Sweet?

Wine that’s referred to as dry has less than 5% of residual sugar. More than 5% of residual sugar and the wine is referred to as sweet. Our taste buds obviously pick up on this. A dry red wine like pinot noir will almost always have less than 5% residual sugar. Why not add more? Pinot noir is finely balanced to bring out its fruit flavors in a way that doesn’t overwhelm. As a dry red wine, you can taste its entire flavor profile and enjoy each. As a sweet red wine, these flavors would be overwhelmed, and the textures and tannins that bring them out on your tongue would become lost.

Sweetness with Less Sugar

This doesn’t mean that there’s no sweetness in pinot noir. Red wine doesn’t often need sugar to have a sweet note. Elements like alcohol content, acids, and tannins are just a few that also influence how sweet a wine tastes. Pinot noir’s own flavor profile already features sweetness, so keeping it dry keeps it tasting like a full-bodied wine instead of candy.

How to Ask for Dry Red Wine

Most reds wines are kept dry because of this. It never hurts to ask, but if you’re self-conscious about making sure a red wine is dry, or not wanting as strong a taste of fruit, try asking for one that’s earthy. This is essentially super-secret wine code for a dry red wine that isn’t as fruit-focused in its flavors.

One of the advantages of pinot noir is that many varieties feature a robust and darker fruit focus that has depth beyond simple sweetness, all balanced against with earthy, dry qualities.

What About White Wines?

You may encounter wines with variations on dry and sweet. White wines especially will often be quoted as “medium sweet.” Treat this like it sounds: it’s sweet, but not too sweet. You may encounter wines with almost no sugar whatsoever…or you may encounter incredibly sweet wines with sugar that approaches 20%.

Do you like dry or sweet? There’s no wrong answer when it comes to wine!

Pairing Summer Produce with Pinot

You can’t build a table full of good summer food and wine pairings without Oregon pinot! Whether it’s pinot noir, pinot gris, or you’re blowing everyone’s minds with pinot rosé, there’s a pairing that’s perfect for each tasty treat on your table.

Summer Food and Wine Pairings | Oregon Pinot | Rainstorm Wines

Pinot Noir

Pinot noir is characterized by its versatility. It’s a red that can act like a white wine at times. Garden flavors are its forte. Kale is delicious alongside it, as are pasta dishes that are heavy on the basil. This makes pesto a fantastic choice for pairing.

Because pork is a versatile meat (depending on how you cook it, it takes on characteristics of red or white meat), it pairs beautifully with pinot noir. Venison or elk take on a mouthwatering characteristic as well. Avoid seafood unless it’s a fish with a very strong flavor of its own, such as salmon or trout.

For the best pinot noir wine pairing, look no further than duck. It. Is. Amazing. You can cook the duck with a plum glaze or make a cherry gastrique to make the meal sumptuous.

The best vegetarian pairing is homemade mushroom pizza and the best vegan pairing for pinot noir is a mushroom risotto. Or just cut out the middle man and go straight for a pan of garlic butter mushrooms. There’s something about pinot noir and mushroom dishes that is heavenly.

Pinot Gris

Like its red wine cousin, pinot gris is exceptionally versatile and crosses a lot of red vs. white wine boundaries. It’s full-bodied and helps tropical notes linger by way of an oily mouthfeel.

That means that the more “greasy” the meal is, the more suited it is to go with pinot gris: BBQ, french fries, hot wings, or any kind of fast food or takeout (but especially Chinese).

This doesn’t mean there aren’t healthy pairings as well. In fact, pinot gris finally answers that long-standing impossible question for summer food and wine pairings: what in the world goes with asparagus? The answer is pinot gris.

For the best pinot gris wine pairing, keep it simple and healthy: lemon chicken with a side of asparagus.

For vegetarians and vegans, try asparagus and cauliflower soup before a main course of potato ravioli with caramelized leeks. If you don’t feel like cooking for yourself and want a faster, more adventurous alternative, order meatless hot and sour soup and discover how perfectly it pairs with pinot gris.

Pinot Rosé

Here we get to something a little more unique and lighter. Pinot rosé matches a very bright taste with soft texture. It may be the ultimate summer wine. Pinot rosé matches a number of berry flavors with hints of rosé, pomegranate, and – because it’s an Oregon pinot – an aroma that suggests mountain rains. It’s a very cool and crisp wine, with dry characteristics. Chill it and break it out on your next trip to the beach.

As for pairings, this is a wine made for appetizers. Think goat cheese plates, crab dishes, and rosemary flatbread.

What’s a meal to pair with pinot rosé? Try grilled swordfish with a peach salsa. As an alternative, grilled halibut with a mango salsa is also top-notch. Push taste before spiciness on the salsa front, but don’t be afraid of a little spice. Pinot rosé balances it out nicely.

For vegetarians and vegans, let’s dive into desserts. Does it have fruit in it? Then it probably goes with pinot rosé. Fruit tarts and lemon bars are especially satisfying because of the way tartness plays with sips of crisp, fruity wine. That might be your best bet…unless you like chocolate. Now this is so dangerous a habit that you didn’t hear it from us, but try pairing vegan dark chocolate truffles and pinot rosé.

What’s on your menu this summer?

What Makes Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Unique

Experienced winemakers recognize that one of the grapes that is the most responsive to the conditions it’s grown in is the Pinot noir. Pinot noir is extremely sensitive to variations in the air and soil. It’s been found that some of the highest quality of Pinot noir can be found in Willamette Valley, Oregon. But what makes Willamette Valley Pinot Noir so unique and delicious?

Willamette Valley Pinot Noir | Oregon Wines | Rainstorm Wines

Oregon wines are known throughout the country as being clean, refreshing, and surprisingly complex. One of the reasons is that Oregon enjoys four glorious seasons. The changes in temperature and sunlight allow the soil to help produce grapes that have a depth of flavor that you can’t find in other regions. The time of harvest is also key and is different in Oregon than in other vineyard states, including California.

The soil in the Willamette Valley varies from having marine sediments to decomposed lava. A good amount of it has sandstone and mudstone in it and most have almost no carbonates. This makes it so that the soil drains fairly quickly, which helps the grapes grow and ripen beautifully. Because of it’s short growing season and the fact that it requires a cooler atmosphere, the grapes are able to grow in their optimal condition which makes them ideal for the winemakers.

When you’re looking for Oregon wines, specifically an amazing Pinot Noir, check out the Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. The vineyards are often blended because the sizes are small due to the angled and sloped land.  This blended mixture makes for a deep and rich, full Pinot Noir that you can’t find anywhere else.

How Do You Pick a Good Rosé Wine?

Rosé has long been a summer favorite. It pairs perfectly with sunny days, trips to the beach, backyard barbecues, and chats on the patio. The truth is, though, that rosé wine is essentially a lighter version of red wine. It’s fermented just as red wine is, only for a shorter amount of time. A good rosé wine will have a nice, pink appearance but will have that rich red wine flavor that we all enjoy. It’s perfect to pair with a variety of treats, including Asian food, cheese, fish and even turkey dinner.

Good Rosé Wine | Rosé Wine Brands | Rainstorm Wines of Oregon

How do you select rosé wine brands that will meet your needs – regardless of what season it is?

To begin with, it’s always a smart idea to select your wine from a trusted region. Province, California and – our personal favorite! – Oregon are premier rosé-producing regions.

Should you be concerned with age? Some people believe that the older the vintage, the better the wine. While this holds for some types of wine, it isn’t necessarily true for a good rosé wine. If you want the best rosé wine, look for a fresher vintage. This usually means you’ll have to purchase a wine that was made a year prior to the current year. The fresher the vintage, the more delicious the rosé.

If you would rather have a fruity rosé, look for a darker color. The darker rosé has a more rich mouthfeel and can often be much sweeter than a lighter colored rosé.

The best way to find your favorite is to explore! Why not host your own tasting event with friends? Buy a selection of rosé wine brands, prepare some appetizers, and see which bottle comes out on top. It’s a fun way to discover your new go-to for summer, for picnics, for quiet evenings, and for just about every event you can think of.

What’s So Special About Oregon Pinot Noir?

The pinot noir grape is one of the most commonly grown wine grapes in the world – but the Oregon pinot noir is uncommonly delightful. What makes this grape, and the wine it produces, so special?

The Land is Perfect for Pinot Noir

When it comes to cultivating the pinot noir, Oregon brands have an advantage. Willamette Valley, for example, features a special microclimate that combines intense sun with the cooling effect of Pacific Ocean breezes. This gives the wine produced a perfect blend of fresh “greenness” without a sharp, bitter flavor.

Oregon pinot noir needs little chemical interaction, and winemakers work with nature – instead of against it – to cultivate exceptionally aged wines that are among the finest in the world.

Microclimates Make the Difference

While microclimates give Oregon pinot noir producers an edge, it also gives the region’s wine incredible versatility and diversity. There are differences you can smell, taste, and savor depending on the conditions in which the grapes are grown each  year, and Oregon wine brands have the wisdom to let nature take the wheel with minimal interference. This creates flavors that may be unique to a season, and wine lovers applaud the region’s ability to defy convention – and, of course, craft gorgeous vintages!

Oregon Makes It Special

Oregon hit the wine scene in the 1960s and 1970s when intrepid growers sought to maximize the versatility of the land. While a cooler climate, they worked to make the region not only viable but a world leader. With pinot noir, Oregon brands established themselves as innovators in the field.

Oregon pinot noir is widely acclaimed and enjoys tremendous success. And for good reason. It offers a wonderful taste experience, pairs beautifully with a variety of dishes (making it an excellent fit for our foodie culture), and tastes like… well, home.

5 Tips for a Fun Willamette River Paddling Trip

River paddling has become extremely popular in the last handful of years, and for good reason. There is a river that is perfect for paddlers of every experience level, from novices to experts. The amazing views you’ll find on the Willamette River are ideal if you’re looking for a relaxing paddle that has beautiful, sweeping vistas and all the flora and fauna you could ever want to see. Keep your eyes open and you’ll even find some wildlife using the river for refreshment.

Willamette River | Rainstorm Wines

If you want to try a paddle down the Willamette River, here are five tips that can help to make your trip go smoothly and be enjoyable.

  1. Make sure you pack correctly for an overnight trip. If you plan on paddling down a long stretch, you may want to spend the night camping. Bring everything you’ll need, including a tent, sleeping bag and enough food to ensure you’re comfortable and covered during the nights, which can get cool on the river.
  2. Use a guidebook. Even if you’re someone who has a great deal of experience paddling it’s always a good idea to bring a guidebook with you. Guidebooks will not only help to keep you on the right path, they also help show you when the best float times are so you’ll be able to enjoy a riverside siesta!
  3. Keep your eyes out! There are all sorts of unique sights to see on the Willamette River including petrified wood and agate. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to take home a shiny gemstone as a souvenir.
  4. Bring water! Paddling and soaking up the sun for long periods of time can make you extremely thirsty. Don’t get dehydrated.
  5. Have fun! You may find that you’re tired after paddling a number of hours, or you’re getting warm. The joy should be found in the journey, so slow down if you need to, dip a toe in the water, or stop on the side of the river and enjoy a bottle of Rainstorm wines responsibly.

Are you excited for your next Willamette River paddle?

How Soil Affects the Taste of Wine

Why is the soil in Oregon so special – and how are the best Oregon wines influenced by this exquisite dirt? The famous Willamette area has been both a seabed and a massive lava flow. As the Missoula floods washed Oregon down, complex soils were revealed. It makes for remarkable growing conditions – and some of the best pinot wine in the world.

Pinot Wine | Best Oregon Wines | Rainstorm Wines

Jory Soil

Soil influences how grapes grow and what characteristics they take on. The reddish Jory soil features volcanic elements. It’s high in nutrients, clay, and iron. These soils are excellent dry farming because the soil itself retains so much moisture. This is the go-to soil for growing Oregon pinot wine. Jory gives pinot wines rich cherry and red fruit flavors. These present dynamically with a high acidity and silky tannins that make Oregon pinot perfect for pairing.

Willakenzie Soil

Next are the marine soils, also called Willakenzie. These are very old soils that retain many qualities from when Oregon was a shallow seabed. Oregon’s mountain ranges were formed when tectonic plates ground into each other and pushed the land up over millions of years. This left Willakenzie soil with loam and sandstone.

If you realize that makes for poor soil, you’d be correct. The advantage here is built over years and years. Vines that are well cared for eventually form very deep roots to seek out nutrients and moisture. These vines provide unique flavors to the wine. Flavors like blackberry and black cherry abound. These wines offer require a bit more aging for a perfectly balanced profile.

Loess Soil

Finally, Loess dirt is an extremely soft loam that’s blown in by the wind. It’s often blown out, too, but over centuries it’s formed a good amount of farmable land. This soil needs to be tended very carefully – it erodes with ease. It’s difficult to plant in Loess dirt, but when you can, the reward for all that hard work is worth it. Pinot wine from Loess soil balances three characteristics: red fruit, white pepper, and earthiness. These wines are an achievement of patience and expertise for any vineyard, and they make for a delectable pinot noir that’s unlike any other.

The best Oregon wines have these three soils to thank. They’re a stunning result of the Willamette Valley’s microclimate combined with millions of years of the earth’s geological movement. In many ways, the exposure of these soils in this climate is unique to this era in the planet’s history. Our palates are very thankful for that.

Why Spring and Rosé Wine Trend Together

It’s time to shake off a long, cold winter and soak up the sun! For many of us, the perfect spring tonic involves whipping up a fresh herby salad and pouring a glass of rosé. We think this delicious drink pairs perfectly with all seasons, but it does seem like the perfect complement to long, warm days and relaxing evenings.

Rosé wine trend | Glass of rosé | Rainstorm Wines

The Rosé Wine Trend: Spring Is In

Why are rosé and spring fused together in our minds?

The Color: After months of brown, beige, tan, and white, it’s nice to see some color! From the soft greens of budding trees to pastels blooms, we crave a  new palette. Rosé’s beautiful pink tones are perfect for this time of year.

The Temperature: Late April/May temps hover around 60 – 65 degrees. Ah, lovely! This is also the best temperature at which to serve rosé. It allows the red flavors to enjoy a bit more warmth than when we serve whites (which is best at about 50 degrees).

The Alcohol Content: Summer whites, like Muscadet, Moscato, or Riesling, have an alcohol content of 12% or less. This may be too light for some, but options like Chardonnay, Shiraz, and Pinot Noir, may feel like too much for a temperate spring day. Rosé is a great balance at about 13.5%.

The Food: We tend to turn away from big hearty dishes (roasts, thick soups, etc.) and think about fresh farmer’s market salads, fish, and fruits. Rosé is ideal for these flavors and offers a light, refreshing mouthfeel.

The Celebrations: Does your mood improve in spring? Ours too! Sparkling rosé is the perfect pour for graduations, engagement parties, or Tuesday after a long day at work! This delightful drink can even give champagne a run for its money.

It’s spring, ya’ll! Pour yourself a glass of rosé and savor the flavors of the season.

May Is Oregon Wine Month! Let’s Celebrate

In May, we celebrate a major benefactor of our economy. A bringer of tourists. A creator of jobs. The Oregon wine industry generates $5.6 billion (with a “B”, ya’ll!) in economic activity annually. It’s only fitting we honor our winemakers’ incredible contributions. And what better time than May, when the natural world is reawakening and bursting with beauty – and possibility?

Oregon Wine | Willamette Valley Wine | Rainstorm Wines

A Month of Love for Oregon Wine

Oregon Wine Month is a 31-day love fest that encourages aficionados to taste, learn about, and support their favorite Oregon winemakers. It’s also a great opportunity to dive into the local food scene as nothing pairs with a bottle of delicious Willamette Valley wine quite like farm-to-table selections, whipped up by one of our many excellent eateries – or in your own kitchen.

Our tips for enjoying Oregon Wine Month:

  • Visit a vineyard. Willamette Valley is a prime destination for folks who want to see how their wine is created – and, of course, sample the best the Valley has to offer. Take a tour, indulge in a tasting, and bring a bottle of your favorite varietal home with you.
  • Treat yourself to an excellent meal. As mentioned, our food scene is hot. Ask about great wines to enjoy with your locally-sourced and expertly prepared dishes.
  • Hit Walla Walla Valley Spring Release Weekend. Here, you’ll be able to sample exclusive, newly released wines.
  • Visit Willamette Valley, home of exceptional wines, including one of our claims to fame – Oregon pinot noir.
  • Learn about grape-growing and winemaking from Cascade Foothills Winegrowers. You can also enjoy live music!
  • Tour Umpqua Valley by bus as you sample wines with perfect pairings – and soak in the beautiful spring scenery!
  • Find more great activities and events here.
  • Take the opportunity to chat with fellow wine-lovers, whether they’re connoisseurs or beginners, you’ll be sure to love the conversation and beverages! The wine community is strong in Oregon.
  • Buy a bottle (red, white, and blush – just to cover your bases!) and learn how to pair them with local foods. Cook up a feast, pour wine for friends and family, and savor life.

How are you going to celebrate Oregon Wine Month?