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Artisan Oregon Wine & Culinary Travel 2014

Beth Ribblett

Alloro Vineyards, 2013 Tour
Join Swirl Wines and James Moises of Bizou Wines October 8th - 12th  for a unique, hands-on experience of small production, artisanal winemaking at its best!  We'll take you to the stunningly beautiful Pacific Northwest where the lush foothills of Oregon's Willamette Valley await.  Nestled between the Oregon Coast mountain range and the snow-capped Cascades, the many different terroirs and microclimates makes this one of the most distinctive places on earth for grape growing.

On this five day tour you will visit small, off the beaten path wineries and vineyards; meet, taste and dine with winemakers and witness one of the most exciting times of the year in wine country, the harvest!  You will get an exclusive, insiders look into what goes on behind the scenes as you'll have the opportunity to pick grapes, sort fruit and see many aspects of the grape harvest and early stages of production first hand.

Our home away from home for the week will be a lovely bed and breakfast located in the heart of one of the Willamette Valley AVAs.  McMinnville is a beautiful town with treelined streets, restaurants, shops and of course, tasting rooms! Bon Appetit magazine, in its annual feature on Best Foodie Towns in America, rated McMinnville number two giving us many superb restaurants to choose from for both lunch and dinner.  And for breakfast?  We'll take over the entire Tuscan Estates B&B and have our very own French trained chef on site to cook us the most amazing gourmet meals. Our base in McMinnville also puts us in close proximity to Carlton, Yamhill and Eola Hills as well as the new winemaking facility at the Holmes Hill Vineyard site.  

So, have we gotten your attention yet?  Then keep reading and check out the daily itinerary!

Wednesday, October 8 
We will await your arrival at the Portland International Airport and whisk you off down Highway 99 through the heart of the Willamette Valley as we head towards the charming town of McMinnville.   We’ll get you off to a good start as we stop at a surprise winery and make a toast to a fantastic trip.  After checking into the B&B we'll turn you loose to explore the tasting rooms that line the streets.  Eyrie Vineyards, Panther Creek, R. Stuart, Willamette Valley Vineyards and more are all within walking distance and will give you many opportunities to taste a variety of wines from the McMinnville AVA.   Tonight we'll walk to dinner at a local restaurant for our first of four winemaker dinners.  Tonight's guest will be presenting his biodynamic wines to pair with the food.

Thursday, October 9
Following a lovely gourmet breakfast at the B&B we'll meet up with our winemaker from last night again at the old granary where he makes wine and have a lesson in natural and biodynamic winemaking.  Afterwards we’ll drive over to the Yamhill Carlton to a larger producer where you will see their state of the art facility that focuses on gentle winemaking through gravity flow. We’ll tour the winery and vineyards and taste through their lineup of wines.  Next we’re off to the charming community of Carlton where we’ll spend the day exploring, tasting and eating around the town.   After a quick lunch at one of our favorite cafes  we’ll turn you loose on Main Street where you’ll find great tasting rooms and shops to explore at your leisure.  Scott Paul, Ken Wright/Tyrus Evans, Omero Cellars,  WildAire, Carlton Vineyards and more are all within a few blocks.  Just when you think you’ve had your fill, we’ll meet up with one of our winemakers at the Carlton Studios, an eco-friendly, recycled-material-using and cooperative winemaking facility where a group of top-notch Oregon winemakers all share equipment to turn out award winning whites, roses, reds, sparklings and dessert wines. We’ll tour the facility and see what it takes for all of these personalities to exist under one roof!  Tonight will be an early dinner in a wonderful French restaurant in Carlton, accompanied by wines from one of our favorite producers in the Chehalem Mountains presented by the owner of the winery.

Friday, October 10
After our breakfast at the B&B we'll take a beautiful drive to the Chehalem Mountain AVA. With panoramic views of Bald Peak and the sweeping valley below, the producer we will visit is said to have one of the most beautiful views in the entire Willamette Valley. Following our tour and tasting there, we’ll stop at the Red Hills Market for to pick up our picnic lunch while we head into the Dundee Hills AVA to visit a small producer and have lunch on the property. And just to make sure you are getting your fill of Oregon wines, tonight’s dinner will be at the home of a winemaking team located in the Eola-Amity AVA.

Saturday, October 11
After breakfast at the B&B we’ll head over to the Holmes Hill Vineyard where James and his partner/winemaker Mark Wahle have built their new winery. You'll take a tour of the property with James and have the opportunity to spend some time in the vineyards picking grapes.  Weather permitting we'll set up a late lunch in the vineyard where James and winemaker Mark Wahle will treat us to their lovely wines. After lunch we'll head back to McMinnville and  you'll have a little time to yourself before a very special dinner at  a new wine hotspot opened by our friends at Nick’s Italian Cafe, where one of our favorite winemakers will join us for dinner and present his lineup of Chehalem Mountain wines.

Sunday, October 12
Following a hearty send-off breakfast with our French chef at the B&B we’ll pack up and head back to the Portland airport and sadly say good-bye to the beautiful Willamette Valley.

Reservation Information:
Total trip cost is $1700 per person, double occupancy only, and does not include airfare.  Cost include all scheduled meals and tastings as listed above and transportation to and from Portland Airport as well as transportation to all sites listed above. Basically we take care of everything.  The only thing you have to think about is which tasting rooms you want to visit during your free time!

A $500 deposit by cash or check and a completed registration form are required to book your spot.  The balance of $1200 is due 90 days from trip start date.

Our trips book very quickly!  If you are interested in more information, please contact me at 504.304.0635

To view photos from our previous trip:  Artisan Oregon 2013