• I like different, random, exciting and unpredictableness. I try to bring that to my posts.

    Today I’m going to be different in fact I’m not even gonna be me…

    This post is brought to you by my most excellent sister and fellow oenophile, Sara Hood-Herrera.



    One of the best things about growing up in Southern California was the ability to decide on a whim to drive up the coast and instantly come across some of the most absolutely amazing wines. Okay, maybe some of the time it’s the people working in the vineyard tasting rooms that make the trip worth while, but it doesn’t hurt that the wine is so delectable.

    When my husband and I moved up to Portland, Oregon three years ago, I went into withdrawals. I cringed at the idea of drinking anything North of the California border, all but hissing if someone offered their Oregon selection at a restaurant. I would just keep glaring at them until they took the menu away. It wasn’t until making a few friends whose families just so happen to be Vineyard Owners, that I came across deliciousness. I mean I couldn’t exactly turn down the wine if I’m sitting down to dinner looking out across their vineyard, could I? After these multiple experiences, I swallowed my California pride and allotted that yes, good wine does exist here and could I have another glass.



    Fast forward a few years later and we have been to at least ten vineyards in each Subdivision AVA (American Viticultural Area) of Willamette Valley, within a ninety minute driving distance. Notice I did not say we had gone to all of them, as I would surely be swiftly dying of alcohol poisoning in a semi-comatose state, tangled in a vine, kicking a wheelbarrow full of ripe grapes as a man shouts and points: “Diablo! Diablo!” Alas, in Willamette Valley alone there are well over two hundred vineyards. Maybe living in Portland isn’t so bad.

    This past spring, my husband and I decided to cross the Willamette Valley border into the big unknown. Our normal road trip scant involves a speedy trek from Portland to California, so this was a big step for us to stay within the Oregon burrows what with California so close by.

    We started out with a stay on the Oregon coast in Newport Beach. After stuffing my face with Dungeness Crab (so fresh I swear it just crawled out of the Ocean, across the floor and onto my plate) we began our own version of the Oregon trail.


    We drove through a jaw droppingly beautiful vista, I could have sworn we were in Ireland. Our first stop began with “River’s Edge” a vineyard in the tiny town of Elkton. My favorites consisted of their Barrel Select Pinot Noir 2008 (the owner stated this was a collection of their favorite barrels dumped into one, and well who can argue with that) and the Dry Gewürztraminer 2008 (not sweet).

    I have had a few Vinters tell me that 2008 was the best year for Oregon grapes and anyone that could not make a good wine in 2008 should not be making wine. The weather has been different every year since, so the excitement mounts whenever we can still get our hands on a 2008 (using it as a kind of Litmus test) when we get to compare wines at a tasting room.


    -Sara Hood-Herrera


    She has a fun quirky way of writing. I hope you enjoyed it ’cause the follow up is coming soon!