Maryhill Wines

5 Years

It’s our 5 year wedding anniversary! Woohoo! It’s hard to believe it’s only been 5 years, because in some ways it feels like a lot longer. We’ve had a baby, sold a house, bought a house, moved…lots of big life changes in those 5 years.

Usually for our anniversary we try and go out of town overnight or for the weekend and have my parents babysit Logan to give us a little time away. Because of all the uncertainty with selling our house, we didn’t this year. Which is fine. We have a few vacations planned in a few months, so we can officially celebrate then! But for now, we just did a day trip.

Michael’s mom and stepdad babysat Logan for the day on Saturday. We had breakfast and then headed north to go for a hike, just the two of us.

We did the Whipple Creek Hike. It was a little north of Vancouver, Wa and mainly used for horseback riders, I guess. But it was a very kid-friendly place and we saw some families and we also saw some trail runners.

It’s pretty easy and flat, not much elevation gain. So it’s a good hike to do if you want to just do miles but not elevation (or if you have knee issues).

There are a lot of different trails you can take and none of them are super long, so you can a lot of them if you want.

We saw some horseback riders and saw the stables where there were a lot of horses.

We got to say hi to this beauty!

Even though it was pretty flat and easy and my heart rate never really got over 115, I burned a decent amount of calories! It was a nice little hike. We’d do it again and take Logan with us.

After our hike, we drove to downtown Vancouver and had lunch at Amaro’s Table. Highly recommend! Excellent food!

I had a glass of bubbly to celebrate. There were so many good things on the menu to choose from! I ended up getting the antipasto platter. It was an appetizer but plenty of food for lunch and about 85% on my diet. šŸ˜‰ Not that that was a concern for the day.

Amazing brussels sprouts. Cheese, salami, carrots, chilled zucchini salad and some bread.

Michael got the chicken fried sandwich with homemade chips. The sandwich a zesty sauce and coleslaw. I had a bite. It was very good!

We shared an appetizer of ahi tuna rolls. Also very good! I’ve missed sushi. I would definitely go back to this restaurant. Everything was delicious and reasonably priced.

After lunch we walked around the waterfront of Vancouver.

It was a little bit of a gray day but thankfully it didn’t rain until we got home. The waterfront was super nice! Very clean, walkable, free parking (on weekends), lots of restaurants. It was cool and I’d like to go back and check out one of the waterfront restaurants.

We saw that Maryhill Winery had a tasting room on the waterfront and popped in to share a quick tasting and buy a bottle. I like Maryhill but it’s hard to get out to (it’s about 2+ hours from Portland).

We walked around some more and eventually it was time to head back home and to reality. Lunch was pretty big and filling so dinner was just munchies (leftovers from lunch and some fruit).

It was a really nice day! I’d like to go back to downtown Vancouver and check out some of the other stores and restaurants.

Your Oregon Wine Tasting Guide

I was talking to someone online recently who said they were going to visit Oregon soon and wanted some suggestions on things to do/see and wineries that are a must-try. I gave her a few of my favorites and then got to thinking, I should do a post about some of the best places!

If you are planning on visiting Portland and want to go wine tasting (some of the best in the west!), this post is for you! Also, check out this old post I did about Portland must-see places.

There are a few places in Oregon that have great wine tasting. First up:

Hood River/The Gorge

The great thing about going wine tasting in The Gorge is that you can plan a weekend getaway and stay in this picturesque area of Oregon, or you can easily do a day-trip. Plus there is so much to do! Sightseeing, hiking, windsurfing, biking…you can find all sorts of things to do. Here is a list of the wineries in the area. These are my favorites that I always recommend to people:

Cathedral Ridge

We almost always hit Cathedral Ridge when we are visiting Hood River. It’s one of our favorites. We had a membership there for a little over a year, too.

The wines are nice. We usually focus on the reds here. The whites are hit-or-miss. Lately I’ve been really liking their chardonnay (which I usually don’t like!) so grab a bottle of that if you visit!

The nice thing about Cathedral Ridge is the little yard area. There are tables and benches with views of the vineyards and Mount Hood. It’s a really nice place to just hang out and if you had kids, let them run around in the yard and play.

Marchesi Vineyards

I have mixed feelings about Marchesi. I absolutely LOVE their wines. Most vineyard on this list are places where I enjoy 80-90% of their wines but there are always a few varieties that I’m not a fan of. But with Marchesi I’ve never done a tasting and disliked one of their wines. The tasting room is really nice and there are little private alcoves where you can lounge and have snacks (bread, crackers, cheese and salami) and do a tasting, or you can sit outside at one of the tables. They also have heat lamps outside for colder days.

The downside? The last few times I was there I had a not-so-great experience with someone who worked there and that was a bummer. Good customer service keeps me coming back…but the customer service wasn’t great. Which sucked because we were hoping to become members (and we ended up getting a membership at Cathedral Ridge instead because of the bad experience). I need to go back and give it another try. Hopefully it was just a fluke. This place can also get very crowded, FYI.

Wy’East

The tasting room is really big and open. But there is also a large patio area with tables, covered bistro tables and benches. It’s overlooking the gardens and vineyards. It’s really pretty and relaxing and a nice place to relax and enjoy a sunny day.

They have nice wines here–I tend to prefer their whites to their reds.

Syncline

I LOVE this place! It’s my new favorite winery in the Gorge. The wines are excellent–we both loved all of them! What really makes this place special? The grounds! They have a bunch of covered tables and Adirondack chairs all around for people to lounge. There were a bunch of hammocks, pretty gardens, and cornhole. It was such a cool, fun vibe and someplace I just wanted to hang out at. I really recommend this little gem. FYI – it’s on the Washington side of the Gorge (about 15 minutes from Hood River).

Phelps Creek

This is a nice little place in Hood River. You drive in the countryside, up and down rolling country roads, and when you get to the golf course, you’re there. I’ve always had a good experience at Phelps Creek–the people running the tasting room are really nice, fun, and knowledgeable.

Last time I was there we bought their Cuvee Pinot Noir and their small batch Chardonnay (steel barrel). They were both delicious.

Runner-up: Maryhill

Maryhill is a great place. I’ve been there for concerts and wine tasting. It’s in a gorgeous part of the Gorge (Washington side) with amazing views of the water, the desert, and vineyards. The good: the wine is great, the tasting room is huge, the patio and garden area is gorgeous and perfect for a picnic lunch. The bad: it is SUPER popular and ALWAYS very crowded. That can be frustrating and not the best experience. As a result, it’s been a few years since I’ve been.

If you head out to Maryhill, stop at the StonehengeĀ . Also, there are lots of hiking opportunities on the drive out there.

SkipThe Naked Winery (the wines aren’t very good, it’s just a gimmick); The Gorge White House (very cute, fun place to hang out, see the gardens and get food from the food cart but skip the wine).

McMinnville

Sokol Blosser

ThisĀ might be my new favorite winery. I loved it so much we decided to become members and cancel Cathedral Ridge–nothing against Cathedral Ridge, but Sokol Blosser blew it out of the water in my opinion!

Some friends are members and recently invited us to join them for a mini day trip down to Dundee, Oregon (about 1 hour south of Portland). They are members and that meant free wine tasting for us!

Sokol Blosser has been on my list of places I wanted to check out, for a long time, and finally we made it. The drive was pretty and the grounds were gorgeous. There were tons of outdoor areas to do tastings or having picnics. There was a giant tasting room upstairs and then downstairs there was a Cellar Lounge for members, plus more outdoor picnic areas.

We sat downstairs in the lounge for our tasting. It was comfortable and gorgeous and the architecture was worth a visit in itself. The wines? Outstanding. Plus they have different price points so no one is excluded. The Sokol Blosser Evolution line is cheaper, but still delicious, and I think you can even buy it at Costco. So check it out!

Brooks

We went here for my cousin’s bachelorette Party and I’m itching to return! What a cool tasting room! It’s out in farm country south of Portland. The tasting room is huge, there are couches and chairs inside to lounge at while you taste. There is also a big private room with a huge table where you can do private tastings if you are in a big group. I guess there’s also a downstairs area, but I didn’t see that. The deck area was fantastic. They had heat lamps and tons of blankets (we were there in February). The views were nice, it was peaceful and relaxing.

The wines are excellent and the service was top-notch. I’d go back there in a heartbeat.

 

Other

Kriselle – Medford, Oregon

I wanted to include this one because we really liked the grounds and if you are in the area, check it out! I was pregnant at the time, so didn’t get the opportunity to taste the wines, but Michael liked the reds a lot and we bought a few bottles for gifts.

The outdoor tasting area was spectacular. There were views of the hills, countryside, mountains in the distance, vineyards and animals. The tasting room was huge, the patio outside was huge and had lots of tables and places to hang out. They also had a giant pizza oven (sadly it wasn’t open when we were there!).

If you are noticing a theme, I tend to love the wineries that have excellent outdoor lounge areas. šŸ™‚

Cheers!