One of the highlights of our recent Oregon trip was getting together with relatives to go wine tasting! My sister Mac had won a prize at work the previous year for herself and guests to visit three different wineries in the Umpqua Valley in Oregon for tasting and lunch. So since there were so many relatives coming up to see my other sister (for the record, I have three sisters, all drinking wine in the video!) get married, Mac decided to invite many of us as her guests!
We all met in the parking lot of the Paul O’Brien Winery. There our tour guide, who really did a wonderful job, informed us of the wineries we would be visiting, which up until that point was a surprise!
The first winery we visited was Becker Vineyard. Right away, I was intrigued by the beauty of the vineyards covering the rolling hills nearby. There was a cozy tasting room where they had a wonderful spread of crackers and different kinds of cheese.
The owners, Charlie and Peggy Becker, were there pouring and telling us about their wonderful winery and they had two very large, friendly, furry dogs who loved to lay around while everyone petted them! They started off with whites and I immediately was impressed with the Pinot Gris, which was very refreshing.
The reds were also very tasty, particularly a blend with the somewhat strange name of Dogs Drool that was especially bold. Neek, Sar and I all loved the Pinot Gris, so that’s what we bought a bottle of. Then we all got in our respective cars (I believe there were three cars with a total of twelve people) and caravanned to the next place.
Our second destination was also covered with beautiful rolling hills, Melrose Vineyards. Their tasting room is in a towering rustic wood building that is over 100 years old. As we got out of the car and wandered around the vineyards before going in to taste, we had an incredibly unique aural experience of listening to the shrieking cries of hawks with the occasional loud gunshot going off!
We found out from one of the employees there that those were recordings to scare off birds from eating the grapes, which were hanging ripe on the vines. Then we went into the tasting room and had a marvelous time sipping wine, sharing conversation and enjoying the gorgeous view on the balcony. After tasting wines, we went outside and were served a delicious lunch on the patio.
Lots of scrumptious cold cuts and cheeses for making sandwiches, plus lots of different fruit, olives and other finger foods. I was incredibly relaxed, so relaxed I almost forgot the camera bag! Fortunately we drove back and I found it, then we headed to our next destination.
We ended our trip at the same place we parked our cars at the beginning of the trip, Paul O’Brien Winery. Started by two winemakers with the respective middle names of Paul and O’Brien, this is a winery unique in how they try to impart European traditions on the American public.
The pourers are instructed to serve guests starting with the reds, then the whites. I was particularly wowed by their Tempranillos – there were two on the tasting menu and both of them were strong, smooth and exploding with fruit flavor. They have a really relaxing tasting room where you can just lounge on leather couches and enjoy either your wine, conversation, or both.
So if you happen to visit Umpqua Valley in Oregon, we definitely recommend putting wine tasting on your list of things to do. This was a fantastic trip filled with wonderful memories!
Lex’s sister, Mac won a winery tour package from her workplace and invited us along for the ride. We didn’t know where, who, what, or how but we were told to meet at the parking lot of Paul O’Brien Winery in downtown Roseburg, Oregon. Everyone was already there and it was a pretty big group of Lex’s relatives from California and Oregon. We had all been to his sister’s beautiful wedding the night before.
The tour guide gave us the list of three wineries we would visit and what wines they specialized in. Paul O’Brien where we met would actually be the last to visit. So, we carpooled our way to the first winery, Becker Vineyard.
Visiting Becker Vineyard is like visiting an old friend. Just walking toward the entrance a very big Newfoundland suddenly greets you with his ebony black coat of hair. Muller is definitely one of the mellowest dogs that I have ever met. The tasting room is so inviting and beautifully decorated with wall hangings, paintings and photos of the dogs.
Willow is an irrepressible bloodhound that later came inside to greet us.
Charlie and Peggy Becker are the owners and started their vineyard in 2008. They are the nicest couple! They will take the time to tell you about the wines, grapes, how they got started and why. Even with our large group of people, they were patient and gracious.
You could tell how much they love their dogs by naming some of their wines “Dog Drool” and “Mud Dog”. I really loved their “Muller Thurgau” wine with its tropical fruit notes and their “Pinot Noir” with its aromatic fruit forward aromas. I really enjoyed walking around the vineyard as you can see in our video.
At Melrose Vineyards, we were greeted with the sounds of guns firing and strange bird noises. Wow! This was different. We’ve been to wineries that used owl boxes, colorful streamers, music, and netting to deter birds from pecking the grapes but not this.
Well, we went to the entrance of the wonderful 100 year old barn that Melrose Vineyards renovated to create their tasting room and gift shop when we were greeted by another wine dog. This one was a Labrador who loved to get her belly scratched!
Inside the barn, you could see how high the rafters are and that they kept some of the original timbers to retain the historic value of the structure. Melrose Vineyards has won numerous awards for their delicious red and white wines. I really enjoyed the “Chardonnay” and loved the hints of vanilla among the lively fruit taste.
The gift shop had some very tempting and unique items. The back of the barn was a beautifully manicured wide-open landscape that is used for weddings and events. We had a lovely lunch before heading back to downtown Roseburg and Paul O’Brien Winery.
Opening the door to the production area of Paul O’Brien Winery, you are hit with the heady scent of wine and oak barrels, heavenly! It was an amazing sight to see the huge wooden holding tanks. The winery is located in a building that used to be a Chevrolet building. The name of the winery is a mixture of Dyson “Paul” DeMara and Scott “O’Brien” Kelley names. Very clever!
The tasting room is an expansive, contemporary area. The different wines are on a shelf and there is a refrigerated meats and cheese section also. I have to agree with Lex that their “Tempranillo” was pretty awesome with well balanced tannins. I love the comfortable sitting area to the side where you could take your glass and lounge on the chairs and sofa. To be able to relax with a glass of wine was a sublime conclusion to a fantastic day of fun, family, wine and new experiences.