When the spring sun pops out, wineries open their doors and the celebration begins. Oregon's spring graces wine country with green vines, wildflowers and baby farm animals. Tasting rooms are joyful hubs of energy brimming with anticipation for the new season. That time is Memorial Day weekend.
1. The Wine
Of course this is obvious — the Willamette Valley is known for its remarkable Pinots. But there are many other enticing varietals to taste from Sauvignon Blanc to the recently notable Gamay. Some wineries choose Memorial Day weekend to offer special tastings or even release new vintages. And you'll have the opportunity to stock your cellar with limited production wines and award-winners sold exclusively at the wineries.
2. Live Music
Oregon Wine County is alive with the sound of music... Most wineries will feature entertainment all weekend long. The variety will range from twangy country to sophisticated jazz and everything in between. Top concert venues often include Silvan Ridge Winery with its natural amphitheater, Sweet Cheeks Winery with its spacious outdoor patio, Bennett Vineyards with its tents and meadow space, and Saginaw Vineyards with its spacious lawns and rustic barn; but you may find music at even the smallest tasting rooms.
3. Wood-fired Pizza & Food Trucks
Memorial Day weekend is traditionally when the wineries fire up their pizza ovens. Benton-Lane Winery has a big pizza oven right on their wine tasting patio. Food trucks and local caterers are brought in to dish up everything from gourmet burgers to street tacos. And of course there are small plates packed with cheese, charcuterie and artisan crackers. The region's farm-to-fork values promise tasting room fare worthy of the wines — so dig in!
4. Scenic Views & Settings
The views from the vineyards are stunning. Patios and pavilions provide lovely vantage points to overlook the vine-covered slopes. Gaze across the valley to neighboring farms, lakes or snow-dusted mountain peaks. King Estate is known for its palatial setting crowning a hilltop while High Pass Winery, Sarver Winery, Sweet Cheeks Winery and Silvan Ridge Winery are among those wineries offering panoramic valley views. Saginaw Vineyard is rustic charm with its red barn and sheep-dotted fields and Abbelone Vineyard offers a sophisticated invitation into a South Eugene family estate.
5. The South Willamette Wine Trail
Taste wine all across the South Willamette Valley by following the South Willamette Wine Trail. Augment your experience with forays to local farms and pick up fresh fruits, cheeses, and artisan preserves. Stop at Camas Country Mill Store for a fresh baked baguette and you'll complete the picnic experience.
Okay, so there’s one more reason to head to Oregon Wine Country this weekend that was just too good to leave out. Although it is not wine related — it is colorful and full of fun! The annual Memorial Day Regatta is at Fern Ridge Reservoir. Come cheer on the Eugene Yacht Club!