, , , ,


Grapes are gone this late but we’re hoping to see great fall color.

PORTLAND, OR. – And so the adventure begins. Four wino buddies spending an extended weekend in Oregon’s Willamette Valley tasting, tasting, dining, and then probably tasting some more.

I’m going to journal about these days in Oregon. The idea is to share ideas of cost, planning, and the actual experiences that might provide some wine country touring perspective and maybe advice. So, let’s go:

All four of us live in Central Indiana. All of us flew out of Indianapolis but separately. In this day and age, with frequent flyer miles and bonus points, it’s a great way to travel. The guys who bought tickets paid slightly less than $400 for the round trip. I used flyer miles and paid $11. For the record, I used 32,000 points for my flight.

Interestingly enough, all four of us flew different carriers through different cities to get here. My flight was something of the traditional short hop to Chicago’s O’Hare then straight to Portland. One of our group actually had a connection from Houston. Yes, THAT Houston – as in Texas. I did that once through Dallas – never again.

If you’re flying to the Northwest, several airlines offer good connections going through Chicago, Denver, and Minneapolis.

We’re all staying near the airport since arrivals are late. I booked a Hilton Garden Inn for two of us with Hhonors points. I recall the normal room rate being $229. Obviously, near an airport all hotels are a little pricier but the convenience can be worth it.

The other two guys are just down the road from here. Tomorrow morning I’ll jet back over to the airport and pick up our Alamo Rental car. We have a midsize for Friday through Monday for $180. A tank of gas at the end of the trip and not a bad rental cost.

Friday morning we head to the valley. We’ll stop off and pick up a UPS wine shipping box or two to hold our purchases. Then Monday when we leave the valley we’ll each ship our wine home. I’ll elect UPS Air … so my wine will probably arrive Wednesday or Thursday after I get back Tuesday morning. I forget the exact cost from last trip but a full case by air is going to run $70 or a bit more.

I’ll write about the winery stops each day. We have done some pre-arrangment, maybe 40 to 50 percent of our stops. Friday we start off at Lange Estate Winery. I reached out to Jesse Lange who I’ve met several times and he’s going to join us for the tasting. After that, we head to Bergstrom wines – where we hope to have a little time with Josh Bergstrom. And we’ll cap off our first day winery visits by going to one of the real pioneering wineries, Adelsheim. Dinner for our first night will be at the iconic Nick’s Italian Cafe in McMinnville.

I’ll update Friday night our winery visits, dinner, and a bit about our farmhouse rental near Carlton.

Our Saturday and Sunday plants are a little bit less structured. Friend Patrick and I have been out here numerous time while our other two travelers are making their first visit. We want them to help shape the experience.

So today’s travelogue will be followed by Friday’s real wine geekiness.