Here are some exciting tidbits happening in and around the Willamette Valley:
Remy Wines: Remy Drabkin will open a new tasting room for her eponymous label in July 2017. Set on her Lone Madrone Vineyard property in the Dundee Hills, the bar will feature Remy’s lauded Old World Italian wines in a century-plus old farmhouse amid a garden and resident vines. The original McMinnville tasting room, baR, will remain open.
Domaine Serene: Domaine Serene just opened its much-anticipated clubhouse, its first major addition since the Dundee Hills label launched in 1989. The high-end label has earned multiple awards and looks to expand its reach with new tour and tasting offerings in its 34,000 square-foot new facility, which includes a cobble-adorned wine cave and hand-engraved fireplaces. Special food pairings will be prepared by Jason Kupper, a Thomas Keller-trained chef.
Jackson Family Winery: In the wake of purchasing several plots of planted vineyards in the Willamette Valley, Jackson Family Winery is to debut a McMinnville production facility in time for the 2017 harvest. The California based winery is in the midst of completing a winery near the grounds of the Evergreen Aviation Museum, employing sustainable practices in the construction and planning to produce Pinot noir, Pinot gris and Chardonnay on site. Jackson Family runs some 35 labels, including Gran Moraine, Zena Crown, Willakenzie Estate and Penner-Ash.
Little Wuesten Café: This new cafe in downtown Albany brings the flavors of the Rhine to the mid-Willamette Valley. From-scratch, German-inspired pastries, pretzels and cakes are served alongside coffee from Longbottom Roasters. The perfect start to a day on the wine trail begins at this family-owned bakery. Little Wuesten is serves traditional soups, salads and spaetzle for lunch.
Bells Up Winery: Specialists in micro-batch Pinot noir, Bells Up Winery has completed a stunning porch on its Chehalem Mountain property for appointment-only tastings. The boutique Newberg label produces just 400 cases of wine per year, including a Pinot blanc, Rosé of Pinot noir and Syrah. The porch expansion overlooks arresting views of the northern Willamette Valley and Cascades beyond.
Recipe Re-opening: After a fire claimed the charming Victorian home Recipe used to inhabit, the restaurant has returned with a new venture Recipe, Part Deux. Chef Paul Bachand and Co. have moved into an equally charming, roughly 30-seat downtown Newberg space where they offer seasonal, Mediterranean-inspired fare like slow cooked duck ragout and house made burrata. Recipe’s original location is to re-open toward the end of summer 2017 and will feature a larger kitchen and an expanded, second-floor dining area.
Blizzard Wines: Part of a budding stretch of the northern Valley just 30 minutes from Portland, Blizzard Wines cut the ribbon to a new production facility in April of this year. The contemporary barn-like production facility and tasting room sits within a stone’s throw of the VanSchepen Vineyard, the family estate first planted in 1978.
Highway 99 Bypass: The long-awaited relief route along Highway 99W, wine country’s main thoroughfare, is set to open before the year’s end. Tourists have long wrestled with stifling traffic in and around the central towns of Newberg and Dundee but the Bypass will provide a much-needed alternate route between the two towns, which reside in and around some of the largest concentrations of vineyards and tasting rooms in the Willamette Valley. The estimated $262 million first phase of the project is ahead of schedule, a four-mile stretch including ten bridges and projected by the Oregon Department of Transportation to reduce congestion 20-40%.