1. Longsword Vineyard, Jacksonville, OR
We initially came here because they are a part of the Harvest Hosts program, in which vineyards and farms allow RVers to boondock (camp without electric/water/sewer hookups) for free. We didn't stay there on this trip, but wanted to scope it out for next time. I enjoyed the red wines and Doug liked the gewurztraminer. The owner/winemaker sat and talked with us for awhile, and we got some quality time with the two ranch dogs - a cattle dog and a very very fluffy aussie. We also watched paragliders take off from the mountains, and the owner explained that his ranch was one of their LZs. I ended up buying a bottle of their Reprise Red Blend - something about fermenting the grapes in the skins of other grapes - whatever, it was really good.
2. Plaisance Ranch, Williams, OR
My favorite, by far. First, we were greeted by Weezie, a 7-month old little rat dog before we even got off the motorcycles. Then, Weezie followed us around and gave us lots of kisses the entire time we were there (except when someone else arrived, then she'd have to go greet them, but she came right back to us). If you have any interest in french wines, read their story on their website - this place is steeped in history. The owner gave me a personal tour of the ranch - from where she hand-dips every bottle in wax, to the barrel room, and out to the livestock fields. I felt like she was a long lost friend - we chatted for a long time while Doug sat in the shade getting Weezie kisses. The wine was good, but nothing that made me want to buy a bottle. I did buy some of their organic, grass-fed, free range, steak from happy cows for Doug's birthday dinner, though. I wish I had taken more pictures of the grounds, because they were beautiful in a very natural, working ranch kind of way!
|He may not have had the wine, but he got everything he needed from Weezie.|
|Oh Weezie, you would have fit so well in one of the saddlebags!|
This was much larger than the other two, and had a little air of commercialism, but it wasn't obnoxious. The grounds were absolutely beautiful, with walking paths and gardens everywhere, a large pond with a dock, and plenty of Adirondack chairs in which to kick back and relax. The reds were very good - especially the Tempranillo. They were all above my price-point, though, so I just immersed myself in the tasting flight and enjoyed the scenery.
|A very generous 6-pour tasting flight - and FREE with the Priority Wine Pass (thanks, Groupon!)|
|What I looked like after that generous 6-pour tasting. Good thing I was just a passenger that day!|
|Perennial and Rose Gardens|
This was probably the best wine I had in the region - and maybe ever. My Priority Pass gave me a free standard tasting, which should have been just 4 pours, but the staff clearly loved their jobs and wanted me to try ALL THE WINES. Doug was sitting in the garden, and I occasionally brought him something to try (including a sweet white that had been fermented with orange skins, and a red desert wine that was as good as any 20-year port I've had. There was only one other person in the place, so I learned a lot about the vineyard and winemaking process they use. They were also having a huge case sale - 75% off the wines they were trying to purge. And guess what? The one red that I absolutely loved was included. Yep, I bought a case (and saved $360!!!) and then had to figure out how to distribute 12 bottles of wine among 2 MC saddlebags. 😏
|Still lots of smoke in the air, but those mountains are beautiful!|
|The gardens out back|
|Walkway to the tasting room.|
5. Del Rio Vineyards, Gold Hill, OR
This was my least favorite. I didn't like the wines or the vibe, and it wasn't included in the Priority Pass - a tasting flight was $10. It was big and commercialized. But, it was 2 miles from our RV park and it had a nice garden out back. I wouldn't go back here.
|Garden out back|
|Gateway to the grapes|