The accolades accorded several of LaVelle Vineyards' wines in the pages of Wine Enthusiast magazine serves as evidence of the diligent work of founder Doug LaVelle and his son, Matthew, who tends the vines today. After taking over the winery?then one of the oldest in Southern Willamette Valley?in 1994, Doug took it upon himself to make a number of improvements to its antiquated technology and distribution network. He started the wine club in 1995, and just recently opened a brand new wine bar and tap room off of International Way in Springfield called the LaVelle Tap Room. The tap room serves as an in-town location for wine club members, but also to provide a new wine-bar-meets-tap-room experience with more than 30 wines to choose from and several local beers on tap.
Doug's investments paid off. Today, with Matthew as lead winemaker, the winery ferments grapes both from its original Willamette Valley location and another site in the Columbia Valley in eastern Washington. At the rustic Elmira winery, visitors can recline on the sunny deck, tour the winemaking facilities, or outsmart tipsy minotaurs in the garden's labyrinth.
Hooked for Life Guide Service’s founder and head guide, Jarrod Kelso, caught his first fish at the age of 4 and has adored the sport ever since. As a native Oregonian, Jarrod has developed an intimate understanding of the state’s waters. He puts that knowledge to work during guided trips, some of which track down salmon and steelhead, others of which chase mammoth redband and brown trout up to 15 pounds in size. Jarrod leads fellow anglers into Oregon’s waters aboard his new Willie custom drift boat.
At On the Move Fitness, instructor Lyida Espinoza motivates her students to tone and shape their bodies through the fun, invigorating workouts of Zumba. Combining the infectious rhythms of Latin music with muscle-toning and fat-burning aerobic exercise, Zumba entertains as it slims and strengthens the body.
After sunset in the Willamette Valley, coastal breezes float along the verdant corridor and gently cool the grapes suspended from Namaste Vineyard's 30-year-old vines. These breezes help the fruit maintain vibrant and refreshing acidity, which characterizes the wines from Namaste's six estate vineyards, including pinot noir, chardonnay, and riesling. During harvest time, workers scrutinize each vine and handpick the most promising clusters for the winemaker, who only uses grapes grown in the winery's own vineyards, leaving the remaining grapes to use in jams or to dye the regal capes of the President of Oregon.
Typically featuring the products of 5?10 different bottlings at any given time, the tasting room's selection can include reds and whites as well as a white port made from oak-aged chardonnay and Clear Creek Distillery brandy. The single-vineyard pinot noirs balance their bright berry flavors with slightly peppery finishes, and the off-dry, stainless-steel-aged rieslings reverberate across taste buds with refreshing, pear-tinged acidity.
No strangers to the art of winemaking, the Wetzel family?s roots run deep into the vineyards that surround their winery. For four generations, they have crafted award-winning wines in Germany, and for the last 35, they have called Oregon home. Chateau Bianca Winery peeks out from the Willamette Valley, where pinot noir grapes flourish across the estate vineyards. These carefully cultivated grapes eventually fill bottles with varietals such as the 2009 Chateau Bianca Estate pinot blanc, a dry, clean-finishing wine that makes a refreshing apertif.
Guests visit the tasting room to sample some of Chateau Bianca?s wines, where each day a rotating selection of six bottles are uncorked for swirling and sipping. On days when the summer sun dapples the fields and shimmers playfully off Bacchus?s lampshade hat, sippers relax on the outdoor patio to enjoy a glass or share a bottle while looking out across rows of vines.
As a kid, marine biologist and gray whale researcher Carrie Newell dreamed of working on Jacques Cousteau's team. In 2004, that dream approached reality when Jean-Michel Cousteau, Jacques's son, asked Carrie to contribute her groundbreaking research to The Gray Whale Obstacle Course, an episode in the first season of his PBS series. Carrie continues to share her passion and knowledge for gray whales on daily, year-round trips through Whale Research EcoExcursions. After an educational talk, Carrie invites up to six guests to board a six-person ex-coast guard Zodiac and venture into waters where gray whales swim during summer feasts and winter migrations. Carrie also teaches patrons about marine life through her Whale, Sea Life & Shark Museum, which she stocks with her extensive collection of shark, seabird, sea lion, seal, and gray whale artifacts.