Functioning as a multifaceted operation, certainly the one thing The Wine Valet knows better than anything else is wine. Part event space, part tasting room, and part tour guide, The Wine Valet hosts one-of-a-kind events for up to 75 and offers tours with transportation that visit local wineries and vineyards. The staff welcomes patrons to sample varietals from different wineries before traveling to Artisanal Wine Cellars to sniff, sip, and listen to vinos. The Wine Valet is so immersed in the regional wine culture that they offer a free Android app for self-guided tours of more than 200 wineries.
For more than four decades, the Ponzi family has used the rich soil of the Willamette Valley to produce lush, sustainable wines. Winemaker Luisa Ponzi worked alongside her father for many years, gaining hands-on experience with viticulture and foots-on experience with grape stomping. She deepened this education in Beaune, France, where she studied Burgundian practices. In 1993, Luisa earned her Brevet Professionnel D’Oenologie et Viticulture certificate, a first for an American woman.
Luisa and her sister Maria carry on the dynasty started by their parents, creating wine varietals suited to the climate with sustainable practices that respect the tradition of winemaking. In addition to stocking the cellar with an award-winning collection of pinot noir, pinot gris, pinot blanc, chardonnay, and white riesling, the Ponzis fill bottles with arneis and dolcetto, two rare Italian varietals.
Of the 60 acres that belong to Gary Davies, 15 are covered in grapes: 3 for Chardonnays, and 12 for Pinot Noirs. Gary doesn't let the fruit go to waste. An avid wine-maker, he's the driving force behind Meier Farms Vineyards, and has been fermenting wines and hosting private tastings since 2001.
An estate house is surrounded by lush gardens, whose steps lead the way to a grass terrace that overlooks working vineyards and a gorgeous valley. Now, add locally made wine, picnics composed of organic fare, and live music. The call of, ?Mon Ami!? may be heard. But no, you have not suddenly turned into a French expat hanging out in Tuscany. This is Garden Vineyards, a family-run vineyard in Hillsboro. (Mon Ami is the family dog.)
Garden Vineyards serves as an afternoon destination for picnics, wine tastings, and festivals. The vineyards' estate house is also available to rent for a weekend getaway or an overnight or extended stay. Visitors who especially love the wine can become members of the wine club,which includes six bottles in the spring and six more in the fall. Visitors can also become members of the vineyards' community-supported agriculture program and receive produce straight from the gardens.
Some of the Current Wines
Urban Wine Works curates wines from across the world to fill the shelves of their shop and slosh into glasses in their tasting room. Frequent events highlight wines from regions such as southern France and southern Oregon or bring live music into the space. Sommeliers at the wooden bar also pour out a themed flight of the week featuring five related wines alongside a cheese plate. In addition, the shop stocks bottles from the owners' winery and vineyard, Bishop Creek Cellars, which grows pinot-noir grapes on pinot-noir rootstock for a purer expression of the grape's flavor.