Friday, December 23, 2011

Touring Wine Country - In Style!

There are many wonderful things to do in Oregon.  We have mountains, ocean beaches, the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, rivers, forests, and - we have our own wine country.  The Willamette River Valley is conducive to growing nearly everything.  And this includes grapes.  They grow in abundance throughout the state.  There are over a hundred wineries concentrated in the fertile farmlands between Portland and Salem.

Time for some wine

As much as I love wine, you'd think I'd be out touring wineries all the time, since they're practically outside my back door.  But no - I'm too busy with my other outdoor pursuits.  I haven't visited an Oregon winery in years.

My limo awaits

But last weekend I got my big chance.  Two friends invited me to join them on a chauffeured limo wine tour.  They'd gotten a good deal via a groupon special and needed six people to fill a limo.  I was more than willing to be their sixth person.

So this is how the 1 percent live!

We met our chariot and driver in the town of Sherwood.  Our group filed into the limo, and celebrated with a champagne toast en route to our first winery. 

Colorful labels at "Hip Chicks do Wine"

Our first stop - Hip Chicks do Wine, located in the beautiful town of Newberg.  The winery was right on the main street, and our driver impressed us with  his parallel parking skills, pulling the limo into a spot right outside their front door.  People on the sidewalk stared at our limo, making us feel like celebrities.  I almost expected to encounter the paparazzi as we exited our ride.


This place was great.  Our host was very knowledgeable about her product.  And the wines were wonderful. 

I need this glass!

They had great gifty items displayed throughout the shop.

Hip Chicks had great labels

I absolutely loved Hip Chick's bottle labels.  And they had some great names for their wines.  I especially liked the "Drop Dead Red" (and it was great wine too!)

DeeAnn and I mug for the camera

There was only one bad thing about Hip Chicks being first on our tour.  Since we had two more wineries yet to visit, my group was conservative and didn't buy much.  As it turned out, they had the best wines by far. After the day was over I was wishing I'd purchased more than one bottle of "Wine Bunny Blush."

Tasting room at Kason Vineyards

Our next stop - Kason Vineyards located in the lovely countryside near Yamhill, Oregon.  At least I think the scenery was lovely.  It was an extremely foggy day, so the views were nil.  But we had wine to taste and that made up for the lack of scenery.

Everyone smell the grapes

Kason Vineyards specializes in pinot noir.  We got to try several different varieties of their pinot.  It didn't take long and they all began to taste the same.  I'm not a huge pinot noir fan, but I have to say, Kason's product was better than most.

Showing the group where they press the grapes

Our wine steward was great.  She let us taste some of their newly pressed chardonnay (so new it hadn't yet been bottled).  She then took us down into the basement and showed us the winery's grape press.

Visiting the wine cellar

We were then led into the wine cellar.  It was so cool to see all of the barrels stacked inside!  Our guide took a glass tube and drew some chardonnay out of one barrel, for a lucky DeeAnn to sample.

The limo ladies

Since pinot noir is not my favorite wine, I didn't buy anything at Kason Vineyards.  But we still had one more place yet to visit, so after a quick photo session in front of our limo, it was back inside our plush ride.

Kerry and Ann enjoy a "winetini"

Our final stop was Mia Sonatina Cellars in the small town of Amity. This winery was run by a husband-wife team.  Vern, the husband, was our host.  He was a fun, personable guy and led us through tasting the different wines on their roster.


The girls and Vern

I liked some of the wines here.  There was a good variety and I even found myself liking a red port desert wine.  I'm usually a Merlot kind of gal, so this was a surprise.  Even more surprising - I ended up buying a bottle of the stuff!

I like this saying!

After a very fun time at Mia Sonatina, it was time to board our limo for the trip home.  But it was a merry atmosphere inside.  Warmed by wine and camaraderie we ladies enjoyed one final ride in the lap of luxury. 

What a great way to tour wine country!  The best part of all - we could sample all the wine our hearts desired and didn't have to worry about driving.  Definitely the way to go.  Too bad I can't afford to do this everyday.

So now that I've rediscovered Oregon's wineries, it's time to plan for trip number two.  Ladies - who's with me?


  1. Love this! You have to head down here and we can tour the Napa and Sonoma Valleys :)

    Limos are such fun!

  2. That looked like a lot of fun. I'm not much of a wine drinker, but it would be fun to see how they are made. Merry Christmas!!!

  3. So much fun! I live close to many wineries too and have never done a winery tour. I better get on that. Glad you had so much fun! Merry Christmas:)

  4. What fun! Thanks for sharing. I'll have to come out and taste wine with you!


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