We decided this year to do Thanksgiving weekend tastings at wineries that we hadn’t visited before. It was a gamble; they might be extremely crowded. Thanksgiving weekend in Oregon is not just turkey, every winery in the state has an Open House and may be really crowded. We decided to wait for the day after Black Friday and the Civil War football game. Ducks Ruled!
The gamble paid off. We had previously tried to visit two small boutique wineries located in the Monroe, Oregon area. The problem was that we went during harvest and they were closed.
Before visiting these two new tasting rooms, we made a stop at Domaine Meriwether in Veneta. It’s one of our regular stops. Where else do you see the owner driving a tractor to smooth out the driveway for his guests? Eric Norman is a master tractor driver!
We love going there to visit and taste. It is always an enjoyable experience. The staff is knowledgeable, but not rehearsed. You just feel welcome there. Of course Lori Norman has trained them well, embrace every customer like a friend and treat every friend like a member. We can’t wait until January when, a little bird tells us, there may be a big announcement, stay tuned for more news! And by the way, their wine is delicious too!
Now back to the new wineries, first Sweet Earth. The small tasting room was packed, standing room only. Nevertheless, we were immediately greeted with “Welcome, are you here to taste? We can bring it to you.” The young couple, Natalie and Nicholas Payne, were in fact, the new owners. Great enthusiasm and lots of descriptions of the wines we tasted. We asked who their winemaker is and Natalie told us it is Matt Compton of Spindrift Cellars. A Great choice! Matt makes excellent wine in Philomath ,Oregon. We knew right then that the wine was going to great. Check them out as well at Spindrift Cellars.
We then found an open table with four chairs. Another couple came in and we invited them to join us. After a short chat, we found out that Lloyd and Melissa are very close friends with one of our co-workers. They also walk their dogs in our neighborhood. New friends, an immediate bond = great wine tasting and future get-togethers. The experience of great wine, great hosts and great conversation is why we do what we do.
As for the wine, we sampled some wines that weren’t on the tasting menu that were wonderful! The 2013 Riesling was awesome. Then we tried one of my new favorite Pinot Noirs, a 2013 Pinot Noir Hungarian Oak that made us cry when the taste was over. We bought bottles of each and so did our new friends. WE WILL BE BACK!
The party then moved to TeBri Vineyards (named for owners Therese and Brian Schafer). TeBri is located about a quarter mile from Sweet Earth, separated by their vineyards. We decided to walk through the vineyard to TeBri. What a pleasant walk, although it was a bit chilly. We can’t wait to “wander” through the vineyard during the spring blooming season and see the lavender labyrinth.
This was another really super experience at the tasting room. There was a welcoming atmosphere and a great view from the patio. The Schafers know their wine and how to treat guests. We loved their 2011 Ailee’s Pinot Noir Rose and selected a few bottles to take home. I decided to step outside and stand near the fire pit to chat with another couple that had arrived from Sweet Earth. We discussed our visit and started chatting about other wineries to visit.
Less than five minutes later, Alyse came outside and asked me for my wallet. Well, this sounds like we’re buying more than a few bottles. We sure did! Alyse had the opportunity to taste some 2015 Pinot Noir from the barrel that won’t be available unitl May 2017. It was already yummy so she wanted to be sure to be in on it. Hence, credit card and “FUTURES,” a case of this lovely Pinot Noir will be waiting for us in just 18 short months.
This day was filled with meeting new friends, a visit to a tried and true winery and two new wineries that will be part of our regular winery visits.
Join us for our next adventure, and let us know about your winery visits and experiences by commenting below.
Wander on, friends!