If there is one thing I love, it's wine. It's even better when I get to enjoy it outside on a gorgeous day with my best friends, which is why I was so happy when my friend Lauren planned a day of wine tasting in the Willamette Valley for her birthday.
We started off at Penner Ash, a gorgeous vineyard in Newberg, Oregon, about 45 minutes from Portland. Penner Ash started in 1998 and was founded by Lynn and Ron Penner-Ash, combining their loves of science and winemaking. The estate features gorgeous views of their vineyards, as well as a lush lawn with shaded picnic areas to enjoy the scenery. We did the tasting tour first, where we learned a lot about the wine-making process, and then sampled the 6 wines on their tasting menu. We all agreed that the 2013 Viognier was our favorite, so we bought a bottle to enjoy with our picnic lunch.
Next we headed to Domaine Serene in Dundee. Arguably my favorite of the wineries we visited, Domaine Serene is set far back from the road and takes advantage of their higher vantage point to provide great views of the Willamette Valley. We had the Estate Taster, and my favorite was their Rose (a summertime specialty). Their pinot noirs were fantastic though, and the man helping us was incredibly knowledgable, generous and funny!
For our last stop we headed to Stoller Family Estate, a short drive from Domaine Serene. We had other plans, but it was nearly 4:30 by the time we were ready to leave Domaine Serene so we decided to go somewhere closer. The building at Stoller had a very cool industrial feeling, with giant garage-style doors overlooking a large, lush hill. There was a lot of outdoor seating, so we shared a bottle of their rose outside and soaked up the sun before our ride back to Portland.
I haven't done as much wine tasting in Oregon as I would like, and my day trip to the Willamette Valley only made me crave the experience more. With over 400 wineries in the area, I know I have so much more to taste!