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OREGON’S WILLAMETTE Valley – Flying home Saturday night, readying for a new adventure starting Monday, I’m reflecting on a debriefing session I had last night with the eight participants on my first wine tour.

Our five nights and four days in Oregon’s Willamette Valley were nothing short of spectacular and a rousing success. One member of the group went around the table asking couples on the trip if it had lived up to expectations and each said it was far more than they ever expected. That was rewarding.

What I learned from this group of friends is that I need to emphasize the wonderful food as much as the wine. Instead of Pinot Palooza, how about Drink & Eat Oregon?

I’ve also toyed with the idea of putting together a less costly version of this trip and after the evaluation I’m leaning strongly against it. The experience our group had in Oregon should be duplicated for others and not lessened to save a few hundred bucks a person on cost.

The fabulous Black Walnut Inn is unmatched in hospitality, location, and beauty. The views on top of the hill surrounded by vineyards, and a view of Mt. Hood on a clear day, is where I want to take groups.

The Oregon wine community hospitality was unmatched. The wine’s were off the charts. The food was simply unbelievable.
I’m going to try to get some posts, and a lot of photos, up over the next couple days from more of the trip. Meanwhile, I’m thinking I’ll repeat the trip next June and perhaps set up two trips on back to back weeks. I’ll continue to try to do the trip at 8 people, or four couples. I could do 10 but believe 8 is the perfect number. I’m going to set dates real soon and get that out for folks’ calendars.

And what happens after 2015? How about the trip of a lifetime in 2016 to France’s iconic Burgundy region? I’m also thinking about Paso Robles in the next two years.

Frankly, I couldn’t be more pleased that my first venture into wine tourism went so well!