Day 1 – Making my own wine with the Artful Winemaker

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artful 2So, today is the day.  The day that I attempt to use my Christmas gift from my parents to make 12 bottles of my own wine, Pinot Gris to be exact.  The Artful Winemaker is a personal winemaking system, designed to make 12 bottles of selected varieties in your home and so far, it couldn’t be easier.  I’ll give you a brief breakdown of the steps involved and a blow by blow as the next 28 days progresses. Continue reading

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My Family Loves Me – And Wants Me To Be Happy

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I know it, that’s a corny way to start a post but here goes anyway.  There aren’t many easier ways to my heart than food and wine, this shouldn’t be a mystery at this point.  I thought I’d share with everyone what my family decided to bestow upon me this holiday season.

Smokenator 1I’ve talked in very vague terms for several years that it would be cool to get a smoker to supplement my Weber kettle for fun things such as brisket, ribs, pulled pork, sausage, etc.  I’d also resolved that it wasn’t really money I needed to spend so it was a back of the mind dream.  My wife Katie on the other hand is a very clever woman who found a new and intriguing gadget that she presented to me as a Christmas gift this year.  It’s called the Smokenator!  This seemingly simple bit of engineering might just be genius!  It converts your Weber kettle in to a water smoker and I can’t wait to give it a shot soon! Continue reading

New Oregon Wine Resource – Oregon Wine Board Website Redesign

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Oregon Wine BoardThanks to Julia from winejulia.com, a great new resource for Oregon Wine lovers has come to our attention.  The redesign and soft-launch of the Oregon Wine Board’s website has the potential to really be a great source of information, history and ideas on new places to visit.

You can find the new site at http://oregonwine.org/.  Keep an eye out as they complete some of the content over the coming weeks.  I know I will be.

Tasting Preferences – Large Winery vs. Small Winery

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So here’s the thing about wine tasting, it’s a little bit different for everyone.  Some prefer to go hog wild, taste every wine available, pay the tasting fee (if any) and move on.  Some would prefer to taste one or two wines, figure out if they like whats offered and relax with a glass.  Another might taste a flight of a particular varietal, choose a bottle they enjoy and share it with friends.  Our small group fits pretty much all these scenarios.

Today, I ask a question that sits outside those debates.  Do you prefer to taste at small or large wineries?  I mean sure, I enjoyed the hour long tour at King Estates but not the half hour between pours in the tasting room with 712 of my closest friends (yes, you can just feel the sarcasm can’t you?).  I love the wine club pickup parties at Firesteed but again, with so many people about on those particular days, it’s hard to build relationships with anyone, to really get to know the people behind some of the wines you love. Continue reading

Lewman Vineyard

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Katie, Matt, Kelli and I decided that it’d been too long since the four of us did a little exploring, so yesterday we headed out to the Amity AVA.  Using our dangerously good guide book, WineTrails of Oregon, off we go to expand our Oregon wine universe.  We’d decided on our way that we were going to start out day by visiting St. Innocent.  Much to our disappointment (and apparently not the first time that this has happened to Matt and Kelli), the tasting room was closed for an event.  This TICKS ME OFF, if your posted hours say you’re going to be open, BE FRICKIN OPEN!  Okay, enough of that. Continue reading

Marks Ridge Winery

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Marks Ridge is a bit out of the way from your typical trip down the Willamette Valley wine scene.  Off Hwy 20 nearly to Sweet Home, you’ll find this family establishment up in the hills, with some beautiful views.

The vineyard produces Pinot Noir, Riesling and Gewürztraminer and rumor has it that they are going to be bringing in some warm climate grapes to play with this season.

Having only been producing their wines since 2006, you might be surprised to find out that the vineyards have been in place for over 30 years.  Janet and Jay opened their tasting tasting room in 2008 and have since created quite a local following in the mid-valley. Continue reading

Wine/Food Pairing – Art or Whim?

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Generally I take the position that whichever wine tastes good to you, must be a good wine to drink.  While this is certainly the case when you’re just getting home from work and pour a glass to enjoy on the porch, dinner time can present a different challenge.  The real question is, does it really? Continue reading

Emerson Vineyards

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I think for all four of us, Emerson Vineyards is one of our favorite stops.  Located in heart of the Willamette Valley, this family venture creates some wonderful wines and are truly some of the nicest people we’ve met in our wine travels.

Your typical visit to Emerson will begin in the tasting room and a talk with Emerson founder Tom Johns.  A fun loving, witty and sarcastic character, we love the banter that he creates with patrons.  Every once in a while you’ll also get to meet Elliott Johns, his son and winemaker.  He offers a very enjoyable and educational conversation on how the wines are made, how the vineyards are maintained, etc. Continue reading