Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Labor Day at Redhawk

The world outside of the Willamette Valley should know more about the incredible wine industry that flourishes within.  

With over 200 working wineries between Portland to Eugene I wonder if anyone is ever more than 15 minutes from a winery that produces some of the world's best wines.  Impressive, given that wine production in the WV didn't get started until 1960.  

As everyone in the WV knows pinot noir is king, chardonnay is queen and then there's lively, fresh and fruity pinot gris.

Being at the same latitude (45th parallel) as the Burgundy region of France, the WV has a similar climate where the glamorous, fabulous pinot noir grapes thrive. Happily we are becoming highly regarded for our production of truly great pinots.  In fact the prestigious International Pinot Noir Celebration takes place every summer on the Linfield College campus in McMinnville. More than 60 American and international pinot noir producers are on hand at the three day event to celebrate pinot noir and pair it with the absolutely most incredible northwest cuisine.

With Labor Day weekend comes winery events and celebrations all over the valley. This year, we visited Redhawk Vineyard and Winery which is just down the road in West Salem. Oregon wineries are generally unpretentious and laid back and Redhawk is no exception.  The tasting room is pretty casual so that you feel comfortable to drop in for a tasting, a bit of food, relax and enjoy the entertainment.  For $10 Red Hawk offered a generous tasting of 8 different wines plus a surprisingly wonderful barrel tasting of their 2011 estate pinot noir.  It was good!

As has become expected at Oregon wineries, we were serenaded by the toe tapping music of Joni Harms, Female Western Swing Artist of the Year.  And she was great!  

The food was plentiful   -  very tasty smoked sausages, homemade smoked salmon patè and topped off by their signature BBQ tri tip. 
Resident pal at Redhawk

The Redhawk Vineyard and Winery is just outside the city limits of West Salem. Their hilltop setting captures the beauty of the rural Oregon wine country. Although Labor Day was a bit hazy, the views of the valley, the Cascades and Mt. Hood can be spectacular.   John & Betty Pataccoli, who own and run the vineyard and winery, are committed to producing small quantities of high quality, yet affordable wines.

If you would like more information about the Oregon Wine Industry the Oregon Wine Board has a terrific web site:

Life is good - bye for now!  Evelyn

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