My very first trip to Oregon was Thanksgiving weekend 2005. My husband and I were looking at a potential relocation to Oregon and thought we should probably visit the place first to see if we even liked it. We spent the weekend exploring Portland’s restaurants, neighborhoods, and scenery, and decided to drive out to the wineries on one of the days.
Now, anybody who knows anything about wineries here in Oregon knows that Thanksgiving weekend is one of the two biggest and craziest wine weekends of the year (followed closely by Memorial Day weekend), with nearly every tasting room in the state offering specials, events, parties, etc. It’s cray cray. We were just naive tourists that had no idea that this was a special weekend. We just thought, wow, these people know how to party. Is every weekend this busy?
Despite the crowds, traffic, and expensive tastings at some wineries (we paid $25/person at one winery just for a tasting), we fell deeply in love. Though this was our first ever visit to Oregon, we immediately decided to move here. We found a realtor that same weekend and started plotting our move. Two months later we bought our house in Portland and officially became Oregonians. That summer I started working at an Oregon winery. The rest is history.
The wine industry here played a huge role in our decision to move to Oregon, and I couldn’t be more supportive of helping to share the news that May is Oregon Wine Month.
Oregon Wine Month
This annual month-long celebration of all things Oregon wine kicked off this past weekend with events throughout the state.
The idea is to honor Oregon’s incredible wine industry through a wide variety of events that celebrate the wines of this region and the people who make them — some of the very people who unknowingly inspired us to move to Oregon.
Within the state there are hundreds of events planned throughout the month, culminating at Memorial Day Weekend, one of the two biggest weekends of the year for wineries throughout the state. If you are out of state, don’t worry; there are still ways to get in on the action!
This past weekend kicked off with an event I am literally kicking myself for missing, the PDX Urban Wine Experience held right here in Portland, but there are still tons of opportunities to get in on the celebration. Here are a few I’m eyeballing. All of these events and dozens more can be found on oregonwinemonth.org.
Mother’s Day Weekend Events
Not sure what to get mom for Mother’s Day?
How about wine? Or better yet, take mom to wine country for the day to one of the many wineries offering Mother’s Day specials and discounts? Heck Yeah! At least, that’s what I (a mom of two rowdy boys) am hoping for (hint hint).
Some of the wineries offering specials include Elizabeth Chambers, Cliff Creek, Keeler Estate Vineyard, Valley View Winery, Youngberg Hill, Apolloni Vineyards (where a glass of bubbles and a mini-massage are offered to moms! Yes please!), and so many more. There are even a few wineries hosting brunch events, like the Sokol Blosser Mother’s Day Brunch (yum).
Portland Tastings & Events
If you’re in Portland you don’t need to travel far to celebrate Oregon Wine Month. Several wine bars, wine shops, and supermarkets are offering in-store tastings.
Taste ROCO Wines at New Seasons Concordia
May 8 @ 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
5320 NE 33rd Ave, Portland, OR 97211
Free in-store tasting of ROCO wines for New Seasons customers.
I (heart) ROCO wines and this is a great opportunity to taste some of their wines while loading up on your groceries for the week.
Anne Amie Tasting at the Pearl District Whole Foods
May 8 @ 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Whole Foods Market, 1210 NW Couch St, Portland, OR 97209
Ditto on Anne Amie. Love their wines (especially their white wines!). They are having an in-store wine tasting at the downtown Whole Foods. Yum.
SE Wine Collective Presents: #Vinlandia
May 23 @ 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm | $20 in advance, $25 at the door.
SE Wine Collective, 2425 SE 35th Place, Portland, 97214
If you haven’t been to SE Wine Collective you’re seriously missing out. This place is rad!
“Join us for the Collective’s exclusive wine tasting event of the spring! #Vinlandia will feature a tasting extravaganza of newly released wine from each of our urban winemakers who share our urban wine space to produce their wines!”
Blind Tasting: Oregon or Import?
May 14 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm | $15
Oregon Wine Education Center, at the Chehalem Valley Chamber of Commerce, 115 N College Street, Newberg, OR 97132
Now this sounds cool!
“Can you tell a Dundee Hills Pinot Noir from a French red Burgundy? Distinguish whether a Syrah is from the Rhone or The Rocks? Celebrate Oregon Wine Month while you test your wits and senses at this fun, light-hearted and fast paced blind tasting. We’ll taste through three rounds of wine pairs, where an Oregon wine is pitted against the same varietal from overseas. When the buzzer buzzes, we’ll reveal which wine was which! Feel free to take part either as a solo taster or a team. Correct guesses will win you prizes, like free tastings around the Willamette Valley. Great wine and scorecards will be provided. We’ll also briefly delve into the wine regions we’re tasting, so bring a notebook if you like to take notes.”
Run for wine?
Grapes of Half and Vineyard Marathon
May 16 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm | $65
Y’all know I’m a runner, so this sounds right up my alley.
“Race through South Willamette Wine Country! 5k, half, and marathon courses traversing the beautiful hills and valleys just outside of Eugene. All finishers receive a glorious commemorative wine glass and much more. Rated in the top 10 wine country runs in the country by Shape Magazine!” More info here.
Seaside, Oregon Spring Downtown Wine Walk
May 16 @ 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Downtown, Seaside, OR
“Twice per year, downtown Seaside, Oregon opens its doors, and its bottles to welcome wine enthusiasts during this door-to-door wine tasting event. The participating wineries, 25 this year, sell unopened bottles, so if you find a new favorite you can take a bottle home with you.”
Memorial Day Weekend
Pretty much every single winery has events or special tastings planned. With 600+ wineries in Oregon now I simply cannot list them all. But you can find a partial list here. You can also find more events on Oregon Wine Press here by searching “Memorial Day Weekend.”
Not in Oregon?
Oregon Wines Month 2015 Sweepstakes
This is your chance to visit! Whether you live in Oregon or one of the other 49 states, you can enter to win an Oregon Wine Country Dream Weekend sponsored by the awesome folks at the Oregon Wine Board. It’s simple to enter and you could win a trip for two to one of these three destinations — The Willamette Valley, the Columbia Gorge, Southern Oregon. Dooooo it! Enter here.
Oregon Wine Flies Free
There are many reasons Alaska Airlines is my favorite airline, and this is one of them. If you are an Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan member you can check one case of wine (up to 12 bottles) for FREE on your return flight departing from one of four Oregon airports, as well as Walla Walla. Do you have any idea how much it costs to ship a case of wine (hint: a lot!). This is your chance to ship it, safely, for FREE. Boom!
*Bonus: visitors can receive complimentary tastings at any of the 300+ participating wineries by showing their Alaska Airlines boarding passes within a week of arrival. (*See the participating wineries, details, and exclusions here.)
Buy Oregon Wine
The easiest way to participate in Oregon Wine Month is to simply buy your favorite Oregon wine at your local wine shop. And if you do, please tell me about it! I’d love to hear what Oregon wines you’re sipping on this month.
Information about all of the above events, and so many more; including winemaker dinners, art events, concerts, and more can be found here.