Sweet Cheeks Winery, composed of a 65-acre estate vineyard and 140 acres of sloping hills, churns out pinot noir, pinot gris, chardonnay, and riesling. The Executive Wine Tasting gives guests the chance to fill their face pouches with up to 14 flights of Sweet Cheeks' full lineup, including all exclusive bottles not released to the general public. Like a blazing barrel of apples, the 2009 Reserve Pinot Gris smells of fruit and has a hint of smoke, while the 2009 Vintage Riesling gives off subtle undertones of honeysuckle paired with the sweet flavors of apricot and peach. The 2009 Rosy Cheeks is a cuvee of tempranillo, pinot noir, and pinot gris, all blended and fermented together until they sprout a beautiful bouquet of strawberries and tickle the tongue with flavory tingles. A cheese board of Oregon artisan cheeses, maple-herb roasted nuts, and crackers is provided to complement Sweet Cheeks' wine; guests may also bring their own picnic basket of goodies and iPods to complete the experience. Sample fine wines from the 7,000 sq. ft. patio that overlooks the vineyard and the gentle, sloping hillside leading down into Briggs Hill Valley.
Nestled in verdant rolling hills, Silvan Ridge Winery complements its grapey varietals with a menu of easily chewable eats. Gourmet cheese plates tickle tongues with a variety of aromatic curds from Spring Valley Dairy in nearby Keizer—including dill havarti, smoked gouda, and brie ($7)—and 8-inch wood-fired pizzas ($6.50–$7.50) and crispy caesar side salads ($4.50) carry hunger away as swiftly as hungry warriors plundering an empty pantry. An outdoor patio and surrounding grassy slopes afford picnickers eyefuls of grapevine-laced hills; inside, the fireside room gives couples an excuse to cozy up next to a wood-burning blaze and share a creamy wedge of cheesecake for two ($4). Complimentary wine tastings greet all visitors of legal age.
Red and blue light filters in through stained-glass windows, splashing across the white tablecloths that dot the wooden floors. Housed within a restored former church, Our Daily Bread pairs the hushed, peaceful feel of the reverent interior with delicious, homestyle meals of almond-encrusted chicken breast, pastrami burgers, and seafood pasta. Diners can swing by in the mornings for filling breakfast of chocolate-chip pancakes, seasonal quiche, or omelets.
At Countryside Pizza & Grill, chefs start each day making two ingredients from scratch: pizza dough and sauce. At the first call, the pizza professors begin to roll the prepped dough with garlic butter, adding layers of sauce, mozzarella, and toppings—including pesto sauce, bacon, and jalapeños—to ensure a savory pie that is as piping hot as it is packed with freshness. But, as the name suggests, there's more to the eatery than food shaped like a 1491 model of earth. The chefs also make calzones, burgers, and steak and seafood entrees such as top sirloin or wild Pacific salmon.
Inside a wheel-less white truck that's tethered to the earth and flanked by picnic tables, Tony’s Bar-B-Que's cooks prepare southern-style barbecue in a custom-made enclosed smoker. They smoke brisket for up to 18 hours, pull pork shoulder into savory shreds, and grill hot links to serve with sides such as candied yams and collard greens.
Axe & Fiddle combines local and regional libations with a straightforward menu of scrumptious pub fare within the inviting and historic Burkholder Woods Building. Chow down on multifaceted spuds with crinkle-cut chips and french-onion dip ($3.50) or garlic cheesy fries ($5) with a side of hollandaise sauce. The organic green salad sends pesticides packing with an extradition notice shaped out of carrots, cabbage, and green onions ($5). Venture across meaty plains with a quarter-pound burger crafted from Knee Deep 100% free-range and grass-fed beef bedecked in condiments, and paired with homefries ($8.50). Beans and greens—slathered in queso fresco, veggies, and served with corn tortillas ($6.50)—sit side by side in a copacetic show of mutual appreciation for each other’s craft.