Much like the wines they produce, Jim and Holly Witte gave their romance ample time to develop—40 years time. Though they met in New York City when Holly was Jim's secretary, it wasn't until a mutual friend reintroduced them decades later that they fell in love. They exchanged vows in Willamette Valley, an area flush with wine grapes, and then began A Blooming Hill Vineyard in nearby Washington County. Their vineyard sits in the hills of the Chehalem Mountains on a basalt range strewn with windblown volcanic soil, protected on three sides by still taller hills and taller yet older brothers. Jim personally walks the vineyards, tending to each vine by hand to create enough breathing room for full clusters to grow.
Visitors can sample the award-winning blends in the onsite tasting room, which plays host to different events each month. To sate people's curiosity, the Wittes share their fermentation process online, and to sate people's appetites, they also share the recipe for the wine-infused cake they served at the vineyard for their wedding-anniversary party.
Árdíri Winery & Vineyards' winemakers John Compagno and Gail Lizak personally tend to each vine on their five-acre vineyard in California's Napa Valley and 15-acre vineyard in Willamette Valley, Oregon. They age each harvest's fruit in French oak, creating complexly flavored whites and reds, such as the 2009 Willamette Valley pinot noir that was named one of Oregon's 50 Best Wines in 2011 and 2012 by Portland Monthly.
John and Gail share their award-winning varietals year round at their open-air tasting facility, where staffers pour samples from behind a black concrete bar and roll-up windowed doors afford stunning views of Mount Hood and the Chehalem Mountains. The boutique winery's dog- and bike-friendly grounds also include a covered flagstone patio, a fire pit, trails through the vineyards, and picnic areas perfect for sighting the rare behatted brown bear.
There's much more to Lake View Farms than just pumpkins and a corn maze. Originally a produce market in the later part of the 80's, the family owners discovered that patrons found more joy exploring the grounds and spending time beneath the evergreen trees than shopping for groceries. The revelation brought about changes to the family-run farm, transforming it from a humble market to a fall family outdoor destination.
Now, families, friends, and groups can partake in a fun fall adventure beside a glistening 17-acre lake before traveling across the waters by paddleboat to pick their own pumpkin in the 15-acre patch. While customers can also take the train to the patch, passengers in paddle boats must brave past two of the farm's more unlikely residents: a lone "shark" and two "Loch Ness Monsters" that rise from the waters to photobomb boaters as they pass. Back on dry land, visitors also find plenty of memory-making opportunities as they explore the twisting 10-acre corn maze or peruse the old cow barn, which has been renovated into a seasonal gift shop.
Sometimes, a simple car ride just isn’t enough. Sometimes, you’re faced with an event so momentous, a party so raucous, or a rendezvous so romantic that a special conveyance is required. On these days, Fiesta Limousine’s fleet of vehicles appears on the horizon, an army of party buses and limousines that escort passengers on unforgettable trips throughout the region. Decked with amenities ranging from quality sound systems and custom bars to neon décor and original Gobots voices, each vehicle is piloted by a chauffeur backed by thorough screening and training. In addition to proms, weddings, and airport pickups, Fiesta’s drivers also lead passengers on wine tours through northwestern vineyards.
As part of its mission to trumpet the joys of natural living and community-fueled sustainability, Common Circle Education conducts a Sustainability in Motion tour, teaming bicyclists up with a like-minded biker gang of 20–40 riders for a scenic week of riding, eating, camping, and learning. Each tour begins with a guide leading the group through bike safety and mechanical fundamentals before escorting them out onto scenic, low-traffic farm roads. Pedal pushers spend the week eating healthy, organic vegan fare, visiting organic farms, and biking anywhere from two to six hours (20–60 miles) every other day. During nonbiking days, the group absorbs the productive philosophies of permaculture, sustainability, and regenerative design via hands-on activities—providing a productive respite from mind-numbing TV shows such as News, Sport, and Louder News.
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.
Cellar Door Wine Tours is located in the heart of the Willamette Valley American Viticultural Area, which encompasses numerous subregions—delineated by climate, soil, and other features—that are known worldwide for their pinot noir. Owners and tour guides Helen Avery and Mark Treick couldn't be more excited about their location, since their relationship is somewhat built on a mutual love of wine: their first date was to a beer and wine festival near Portland, and they moved to Oregon's wine country after their family established their own vineyard. Now, they lead couples and small groups on full-day, half-day, and à la carte tours of boutique wineries, wherein they share their enthusiasm and knowledge of Oregon's wine country and its accompanying food and culture.