It’s wine country time as we wind down and prep to head home. Oregon is famous for Pinot Noirs, one of our favorites, and we didn’t miss the chance to check out a few wineries.
Leaving the coast, we headed to the interior towards Eugene, driving along the beautiful Siuslaw River and then north towards the wine country and eventually, Portland. We took off on one tangent* (in honor of our good friend Jim) to go through Corvallis, the home of Jim and the Oregon State Beavers. From there it was farmlands of golden, and occasionally russet, fields of grain, stacks of baled hay and the occasional flock of sheep. We learned this area is the grass seed capital of the U.S., and we saw endless fields planted with rye, as well as some with radish and pea seeds. Since I can only identify field crops of corn or tobacco you might wonder how I knew this . . . . well, there were a few small signs.
As we started seeing vineyards, we also passed groves of hazelnut trees, another huge crop in Oregon; they vie with turkey as the world’s leading producers.
The area surrounding the small towns of McMinnville, Dundee, Carlton, Yamhill and Newberg is home to hundreds of vineyards and wineries. After studying brochures about dozens of wineries, we selected a couple to visit. First stop, Anne Amie Vineyards. A beautiful setting that turned out to be our favorite Pinot Noir of the day. We also did tastings at Willakenzie Estate and Rex Hill before turning the car towards the imposing Mt. Hood and Portland.
* Only a local will know that, ironically, the town we turned off the I-5 to Corvallis, is Tangent.