You don’t have to be a pinot-phile to enjoy over 200 wineries in Oregon’s Willamette Valley Thanksgiving weekend. You may simply want a trip out to the country with views of the hills, vines and mountains. During annual Wine Country Thanksgiving, many wineries have special offerings and some are open to the public who are usually appointment-only. View the full list of wineries and events at Willamette Wines: Wine Country Thanksgiving
You will see the full gamut of kinds of tasting rooms, from a table next to the barn to European-style villas. Nysa Vineyards isn’t in the brochure, but it is a favorite stop for my wine buddies. Owner Michael Mega offers tastings in the kitchen of his farmhouse at 18655 NE Trunk Rd., Dundee, Oregon. He will be open Friday and Saturday, November 28-29, 2014. His vineyards produce top-quality fruit that is used for exquisite pinot noir by Torii Mor, Ken Wright Cellars, Antica Terra, Scott Paul, While Rose and Chapter 24. His own label, Nysa Vineyards, is delicious pinot noir from two acres of the 35 planted on volcanic Jory soil at 600-720 feet elevation. Each visit has been a pleasant hour talking wine with Michael Mega and savoring the different vintages. He releases them when ready to drink, and currently offers 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 pinot noir and Leda’s Reserve pinot noir.
Maysara Winery & Montazi Vineyard is worth setting your GPS to find at 15765 SW Muddy Valley Road, McMinnville, Oregon. Moe Momtazi built a massive winery/tasting room/event venue snuggled amid his biodynamic vineyard. Oak and stone from the property as well as paneling from wine barrel staves contribute to the organic and sustainable vibe. It’s a family vineyard with mom Flora guiding the hor d’oeuvres that pair with wines crafted by daughter Tahmiene and purveyed by her sisters Naseem and Hanna. The wines include Arsheen pinot gris, Roseena rose, and five different pinot noir. They will be releasing the 2010 Jamsheed pinot noir, 2010 Asha pinot noir and 2011 Cyrus pinot noir. Their Thanksgiving Weekend event is open 11 am – 5 pm November 28-30 with a tasting fee of $20.
One of our favorite wines doesn’t yet have a tasting room. Dusky Goose will be tasting on Friday, November 28 only, from 11 am – 4 pm at 8355 NE Warren Rd., Dundee, Oregon. They will provide you with a hard hat and a glass as you taste on the construction site of their tasting room nestled amongst the vines of the Rambouillet Vineyard. Tasting fee is $20 per person. The wine is crafted by Lynn Penner-Ash and is full, lush and velvety.
On your way through Dundee, don’t miss the newest tasting room adjacent to the only stoplight, Chapter 24 Vineyards. The former gas station now is a modern, bright space for art and wine crafted by winemaker Max Marriott. They will have food trucks on site and will be open Saturday and Sunday 11 am – 5 pm with a tasting fee of $20.
Review: Chapter 24 Vineyards
De Ponte Cellars has two tasting venues, and at each you can enjoy grass-fed Lonesome Rock Ranch beef burgers all weekend. De Ponte Cellars is at 17545 NE Archery Summit Road, Dayton, with grand views of the Yamhill Valley. But be prepared for the rough gravel road! Down in Carlton you can taste at their Lonesome Rock Firehouse at 209 N. Kutch Street. This converted firehouse has a triangular tasting bar and fireplace for cozy sipping. Both tasting rooms are open 11 am – 5 pm, Friday-Sunday Nov. 28-30 with a $20 tasting fee. They are releasing their 2013 Melon de Bourgogne and 2012 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir. Tendril wines will also by pouring at the Lonesome Rock Firehouse.