Just down the country road, Wine Country Farm has the second-oldest vines on Dundee Hills, planted in 1970. The horse barn is 100 years older, and the restored farmhouse dates to 1906.
It's the perfect spot to spend the night - it's in the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die - owner Joan Davenport gives us a choice and we pick the Willamette (pronounced Will-AM-it, "dammit." the locals say) There are six bedrooms and three suites. The Willamette is spacious but cozy, with a bow window overlooking the vineyard. Lounging on the lawn with a view of the Cascade Mountains on the horizon, I browse restaurant menus.
For dinner, we head to McMinnville, one of the larger towns in the valley, and Joan's recommendation, Golden Valley Brewery & Pub. The wine region also is home to about a dozen beer and ale makers, with craft brewing in McMinnville dating to 1878.
The next morning, Joan greets us with one of her legendary homemade breakfasts. Individual bowls of strawberries topped with whipped cream are a meal in themselves.
"Are these local?" I ask, since they're much sweeter and riper than the ones at home. "Yes, we grow everything here," Joan answers proudly. "We grow more than 300 crops - this is the most prolific valley in the United States. We grow strawberries, marionberries, boysenberries, raspberries, wild blackberries, blueberries, walnuts. We grow 100 percent of the country's hazelnuts. "We grow vegetables, too, even in the winter - cauliflower and broccoli," Joan continues. "We grow 60 percent of the world's grass seed." And she doesn't even mention the five varieties of vines budding outside her kitchen window on her 13-acre estate - pinot noir, chardonnay, riesling muller thurgau and pinot gris. After the strawberries, we dig into platters of three-egg cheese omelets, hash browns, extra-crisp bacon, biscuits and marionberry scones, washed down with fresh-squeezed orange-banana juice, coffee and tea. We won't be eating again till dinner.
Before sending us off, Joan shows us around the grounds. There are nooks and crannies for settling into a chair, opening a bottle of wine, and losing yourself in a book. Or you can tour neighboring wineries on a Tennessee walking horse or in a horse-drawn carriage, guided by stable owner Jake Price or his son, Don.
B & B guests get a free wine tasting so we sample a handful, from pinot noir to ice wine. "We're totally organic," Joan says. The grapes are handpicked, crushed, processed, bottled, and stored on the farm.
We're a boutique winery - we only sell through the tasting room," she says as we buy a bottle of Riesling 2006 Estate for $15 for drinking that night after a day of exploring the Columbia River Gorge.
Article courtesy of:
the Philadelphia Inquirer