Willamette Valley Thanksgiving | Willamette Valley | Oregon / by Jade Helm

Jade Helm is the Primary author of Tasting Pour and a freelance contributor to several print and online publications.

Thanksgiving in Oregon is a huge celebration.  Hundreds of wineries participate in a weekend of open houses, library tastings of older vintages, and presentation of new releases.  It is a literal, moving Bacchanalia with offerings of h'ordeuvres, music, and very special wine.  Here’s an insider secret…some wineries are only open to the public two times a year and this is one of those times. Willamette Valley Vineyards Winery Director Christine Collier shared, “It is exciting to hear the buzz” on Thanksgiving weekend.

Estate House Stoller Family Vineyards, Credit Andrea Johnson

Estate House Stoller Family Vineyards, Credit Andrea Johnson

If you live within driving distance, plan to hit the tasting rooms after your traditional celebration.  For a truly memorable Thanksgiving, come to Oregon earlier in the week and take advantage of wine country lodging.

Southeast Wine Collective

Southeast Wine Collective

Do not fret if your Thanksgiving plans will be too far removed to join the festivities.  You can (and should) open a bottle of Willamette Valley Pinot noir for the big meal. Unless you are allergic to red wine (you aren’t, trust me) Willamette Valley Pinot noir is THE best pairing for a traditional Thanksgiving meal. This has been proven through very thorough research.   Now on to the wine events...

In the city at SE Wine Collective

Keep it in the city at Portland’s SE Wine Collective  and taste the whole state without moving your car.  Ten urban wineries, under one roof, sourcing fruit from across the state, offers tasters variety, vintners, and vintage.   Eight wineries will pour 20 wines and turkey nachos by Chef Althea Grey Potter will be served.  The menu at the Collective offers some of the best small plates to be had in Portland.  Featured wineries: Division, Jasper Sisco, James Rahn, Fullerton, Welsh Family, Ore Winery, 51 Weeks, Laelaps.  November 28th 3-6 pm. $25.

Blaze a trail to Hyland Estates

Hyland Estates was an original Oregon Trail homestead property.  On land claimed by Benjamin Hyland some time in the late 1840s, the winery embraces the homestead theme through the weekend with food, wine, and potentially games.  November 27 and 28. $20 11 am - 5 pm.

Stay the Night at Stoller Family Estate

For those planning a family trip for Thanksgiving, consider spending the holiday at Stoller Family Estate.  Unless you already live among 190 acres of vines in Dundee, this will be a better view.  Three lodging options, Estate House, Wine Farm House, and the Cottage, can accommodate families of various sizes in wine country comfort.  Stoller plans the release of their 2013 Single Acre Tempranillo and 2013 Single Acre Syrah this weekend, in addition to tastings through the current releases.  Football will be on the screen and gourmet turkey sliders will be served.  Just like your house, except - and let us just be honest - probably better.  Friday and Saturday November 27 & 28 10 am-5 pm, Sunday November 29 11am-5 pm, Tasting $20; Lunch $12

Gorgeous view of the vines at Left Coast Cellars

Gorgeous view of the vines at Left Coast Cellars

Wine Country Luxury at The Allison Inn and Spa

For the luxury hotel experience treat yourself to the The Allison Inn and Spa in Newberg.  In true Oregon style, this award-winning inn immerses you in a luxurious wine experience while making you feel at home.  Guests of The Allison have easy access to more than 200 neighboring wineries.   The Allison concierge staff can arrange winery visits, and some tasting fees may be waived for Allison guests.  If you book early, guests may borrow a complimentary Lexus (yes, seriously) for half-day wine jaunts.  At The Allison’s JORY Restaurant and Bar (named after Oregon’s state soil) guests dine on local delicacies from the onsite garden and community farmers/ranchers.  The restaurant offers a special Thanksgiving menu - all the traditional favorites, but with a gourmet wine country twist.  Here are just some of the choices; roasted squash soup with charred pear relish, chevre mousse, and espelette-spiced rye croutons; quince-walnut stuffing, brussels sprouts with shallot vinaigrette, cranberry marmalade, natural jus; for dessert pumpkin-bourbon pot de creme.  

Tired of Turkey? Have Pizza at  Left Coast Cellars

Left Coast’s Holiday Open House kicks off with “Noir Friday,” 10% off featured wines, plus additional deals from 10 am-12:30 pm. Sample fabulous wines, all from the beautiful 357-acre estate. Wood-fired pizzas & charcuterie will be available.  Admission is $10 and, includes logo glass.

Bjornson Vineyard

Bjornson Vineyard

Hours: Friday November 26 10 am-5 pm, Saturday & Sunday November 27-28 11 am-5 pm.

Be Part of the Family at Björnson Vineyard

Celebrate with the Björnson family at their Eola-Amity Hill vineyard.  This family is so lovely, if you don’t like yours, just pretend you are a Björnson.  In addition to their own vineyard designates, Mark and Pattie Björnson have welcomed both Helioterra Wines  and Mahonia Vineyard. Taste three wineries in one stop.

Friday and Saturday November 27-28,  11 am- 5 pm, $10

Cannot Wait: Pre-Thanksgiving

Rare Opportunity with Dukes Family Vineyards

Open only twice a year!  Enjoy old and new vintages & hors d’oeuvres in an 1870's barn & on the patio overlooking the gardens, the Dragonfly Reservoir, vineyards & stunning views of the coastal range.

Saturday and Sunday, November 21 and 22, 12 - 5pm, $25.

Wine and Education at Penner-Ash Wine Cellars

Walking tour takes guests through the three separate gravity flow levels of Penner-Ash Wine Cellars, following the path of the grape during harvest.  Begin with white wines and specialty food pairings in the toasty Fireside Room.  Next visit the fermentation deck, speak to experts, and taste single vineyard Pinot noir designates.  Artisanal cheese and specialty food pairings will be available.  End in the barrel room with a comparison of 5 single Pinot noir clones.

November 21, 11 am - 4 pm, $25, reservations recommended 503.554.5545

French Connection at Domaine Divio

Need a little French charm with your wine?  If you can’t go to Burgundy, join Bruno and Isabelle Corneaux at the Grand Opening of Domaine Divio.  Champagne, Pinot noir, and Chardonnay the French way.

Saturday November 21, 2 pm - 5 pm.

Extend the Celebration: Before and After Thanksgiving

Best of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow at  Willamette Valley Vineyards

Known for great tasting events year round, (not to mention easy access with great views), Thanksgiving is a special time to visit Willamette Valley Vineyards. The harvest has just wrapped up and the winemaking team can take a breather to visit with guests, answer questions, and tell stories.  

Visit for a seated tasting of library wines of milestone vintages.  

Saturday and Sunday November 21 & 22, Tasting room open 11 am - 6pm, 45 minute library tastings $10.  

Thanksgiving weekend brings wines paired with seasonally themed dishes.  Guests will have the opportunity to taste pre-released wines and purchase them as futures, at a discount.

Friday - Sunday November 27-29, 11 am - 6 pm, Admission $15, Futures tasting $5

Elizabeth's Reserve Table

Elizabeth's Reserve Table

Living Large at Adelsheim Vineyard

Guests are invited to join David Adelsheim for a special large format event hosted in the new fermentation room.  The winery will pour from magnum and jeroboam bottles of 2014 Cailin’s Reserve Chardonnay, 2012 Elizabeth’s Reserve Pinot Noir, 2013 Boulder Bluff Pinot Noir and 2012 Winderlea Pinot Noir. Following will be a  very special pour from their  double magnum 2010 Winderlea Pinot Noir. Charcuterie plates will be prepared by Hunt & Gather Catering.

Saturday, November 21, 10 am- 3 pm, $25.

Adelsheim is also celebrating Thanksgiving weekend with private seated tastings featuring  limited production wines, including single vineyard and estate Pinot noirs, and may also include library selections and special bottlings.

Friday and Saturday, November 27 and 28,  11 am and 2 pm, $75, reservations required.

New Winery & Tasting Room Celebration at Keeler Estate Vineyard

Two weekends of festivities to show off the new winery and tasting room.  Enjoy estate wines accompanied by tasty bites.

Wines: 2014 Chardonnay, 2014 Rose, 2013 Estate Pinot Noir, 2013 Pinot Noir Reserve

Special: Holiday 6-packs consisting of: 2 each of 2014 Rose, 2013 Pinot Noir Reserve, 2014 Chardonnay

November 20-22, and 27-29 from 11am to 5pm,  $15

Dukes Family Vineyard, Credit Jackie Dukes

Dukes Family Vineyard, Credit Jackie Dukes

Notes and Tips

This just a sampling of options in Willamette Valley and Portland. Southern Oregon and Columbia Gorge also offer Thanksgiving festivities and amazing countryside.  Visitor’s tip… Pick one AVA and spend the day. It isn’t possible to travel all over Oregon in one weekend. By the way, don’t try to taste the whole Willamette Valley in one weekend either.

Willamette Valley Wineries is a good source for events and planning.  Oregon Wine Press offers a listing of events statewide.  Check with wineries for reservation requirements and event updates.  Most tickets are discounted for club members.

Dukes Family Vineyard, Credit Jackie Dukes

Dukes Family Vineyard, Credit Jackie Dukes

And now a silly poem..

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and all through the house

the family is rowdy, both in-laws and spouse

The cranberries are eaten, the turkey picked clean

You could go to Walmart, but that’s a bad scene

It’s time for distraction, something fun and fine

Here’s a solution, go out and taste wine.