Sokol Blosser wines

October Traditions

On Saturday Michael went for a run, I went to the gym and then we headed south to Dundee. We had to pick up our last case of Sokol Blossor wine (I cancelled the membership) and decided to make a day of it.

The hope was that Logan would split his naps into two: it’s 45 minutes from our house so it would be perfect if he could take part of his nap there and back. We recently turned Logan’s carseat around and I had worries that he’d be able to sleep in the car but…

He was so stimulated by pointing out all the cars we saw on the road, he didn’t fall asleep until we were 15 minutes away. Of course!

First stop: lunch!

We went to Red Hills Market for lunch. It had great reviews online. And they were right! The food was excellent. The service? Mixed. You ordered at the counter and then found a table and the line was insane. It was a bit stressful standing in line with a toddler to order a meal but the food actually came out really quickly, so that was good.

Now the food: it was really good! I highly recommend this place. Michael got the steak salad and said it was excellent (I had a bite and agree. The chimichurri dressing was to die for.) I got the soup of the day and a side of egg salad on toast topped with arugula.

It was a small cup but the perfect amount. The butternut squash soup was really good, slightly sweet, and topped with toasted pumpkin seeds. I really liked my lunch. I would definitely go back here.

The next stop was picking up our order at Sokol Blosser and then heading to Heiser Farms for the pumpkin patch! Last year we went to the pumpkin patch in Hood River and it was great fun, so I was expecting Logan to love it even more this year. I love this tradition!

Heiser Farms was about 15 minutes from downtown Dundee in Dayton and it wasn’t crazy busy or crowded. Bonus for us! We went early. 🙂 For $15 we got into the farms and could do a bunch of the activities. There were a few things that were extra money but we didn’t feel like we missed out not doing them.

The first thing was the hay ride to the pumpkin patch. Logan wasn’t quite sure about it but once the tractor started moving he was all about it!

It was a short ride to the pumpkin patch, the right amount of time for a toddler. 😉

The pumpkin patch was pretty big and well maintained. There were pathways and trails covered in hay, which was nice, and there was also a corn maze (we didn’t use it but next year I think Logan will love it).

We didn’t get any pumpkins because they were super huge, but there were a lot of good-looking pumpkins.

We went back to the main farm and checked it out. There was a band playing and they were really good! When we got there, they were playing Johnny Cash. They sounded great! I wish I’d gotten the name.

Next Logan and Michael climbed the hay mountain and went down the slide (I posted some cute videos on my Instagram if you want to see them) and I went down once with Logan. 🙂 And then Logan got to see A REAL fire engine! The expression on his face was absolutely priceless and adorable:

After all the sliding and firetruck investigation, we checked out the petting zoo:

And photo ops:

And then we shared two apple cider donuts–freshly made!

They were good donuts!

It was getting pretty late so we decided it was time to head home. Thankfully Logan fell asleep and got in a good little nap on the drive home!

 

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 Stonehenge . 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

This 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. 🙂

Cheers!