UPDATED for 2015
Before we were parents, before the mornings of waking up at 3am to our son singing Band on the Run in his underwear after turning on every light in the house, my husband and I took leisurely romantic getaways. Ah, the memories.
Our favorite, perfect Northwest weekend getaway was wine tasting in Oregon’s lush Willamette Valley. And our favorite weekend to do it was Thanksgiving. Seriously, who wants to be waiting in line at a shopping mall when you can be here?
Even the smallest craft wineries with the most relaxed tasting rooms open their doors for this special wine tasting event. From Gaston to Veneta, more than 165 wineries throughout the Willamette Valley will offer tastings from Friday, November 27 to Sunday, November 29, 2015 (though some are closed Sunday). Wineries are open 11am – 5pm unless otherwise noted. Get more info on the Wine Country Thanksgiving celebration here.
Many wineries charge a tasting fee, but the fee is often refunded if you buy a bottle or two of wine. We like to use this opportunity to stock our wine cabinet with lots of different local wines for the upcoming holiday season.
The fertile Willamette Valley is nestled between the Coast Range and the Cascade Range, creating optimum conditions for cool-climate grapes. Pinot Noir is Oregon’s flagship wine, and it is everywhere in the Willamette. You’ll also taste plenty of Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Dry Reisling and Gewurztraminer (one of my favorite varietals to serve for Thanksgiving dinner, by the way.)
If you head to the Willamette Valley for Wine Country Thanksgiving, bring your identification, some cash for tasting fees, and have a designated driver.