In 1938, women ducked into the Knapp Family Restaurant carrying envelopes of cash. They weren’t looking for family-style eggs and hash, they were paying their gas bill. The restaurateur, Dwight Knapp, had unintentionally set up a second business by installing a propane pipeline underneath his eatery. His little business grew from supplying just a few neighbors to providing propane to the residents and businesses of nine markets in California and Oregon. Today, Blue Star Gas’s team of experts install and service tanks, fit pipes, and help convert cars or robot butlers to run on propane.
In nearby Willamette Valley, a prolific wine-tasting region famous for its production of world-class pinot noirs culled from sloping hillside vineyards, travelers can taste the fruits of family-owned boutique wineries and hip, metropolitan tasting rooms. North of the Estate, Lorane's handcrafted, exotic varietals, including late harvest wines, meads, and ports, dazzle oenophiles. To sip artisan reds, grape grapplers flock to historic downtown Carlton, where a restored 1915 creamery hosts intimate tastings. A 10-minute drive south transports visitors to Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, home to more than 200 aircraft and exhibits including the original Spruce Goose, constructed almost entirely of wood due to a wartime restriction on metals and a surplus of tongue depressors. After sating aviation-based curiosity, sightseers can slip down 10 waterslides in the educational water park, partake in interactive exhibits, or catch flicks at the six-story 3-D IMAX theater.
Yamhill Valley Vineyards is a 100-acre vineyard that nurtures and nourishes pinot noir, pinot blanc, pinot gris, and Riesling grape varieties. These grapes, and these grapes alone (Yamhill does not buy grapes from other areas), wiggle into Yamhill’s bottles to create delicate, light flavors in the 2007 pinot noir Oregon or complex tastes in the 2007 pinot blanc Reserve, which is fermented in oak barrels, not to lend it oaky overtones, but instead a silky, creamy texture and imperviousness to sarcasm. During your six-wine tasting, you’ll sample these two 2007 varietals in addition to 2007’s pinot noir Estate and pinot gris and 2008’s pinot noir Reserve and Riesling.
Myron Redford blazed his own trails while learning to create world-class wines from Willamette Valley-grown grapes. After purchasing a vineyard in 1974, he spent the next two decades adopting innovative methods and pioneering new varietals. In addition to exploring low-sulfite wines and organically grown grapes before many of his peers, Myron also replaced all of his chardonnay vines with pinot blanc and forging wines with gamay noir, a little-used grape among American winemakers. This combination of intuition and experimentation established the winery's reputation for forging distinctive, Old World-style wines with a deft balance of crisp acidity, fine tannins, and rich fruit flavors.
Every year, 15 acres of estate-grown pinot noir, riesling, and pinot blanc ripen on Amity Vineyards' vines, and the head winemaker, Darcy Pendergrass, secures the rest of the grapes from vineyards throughout the northern Willamette Valley. After the tiny fairy on staff juices each individual berry with magic, the staff then allows the concoction to ferment and mature before siphoning the wine into bottles. Visitors can then sample these bottles from the comfort of a tasting room that overlooks the Oregon Coast Range.
Eight vineyards coax fermentation from grapes under the Seufert Winery umbrella, including the certified organic and sustainable Bishop Creek Vineyard, which grows blended pinot noirs in its rich, volcanic soil. A short jaunt up into the Chehalem Mountains reveals the sun-drenched vistas of Hawk’s View Vineyard, where the thin, crisp air and colder soil imbue grapes with floral and berry flavors and the temper of a mountain goat. From their octet of properties, the discerning palates at Seufert Winery’s urban-inspired warehouse collect the best vintages for guests to sample at tastings.
All 12 of the current-release wines—save a single vintage of dolcetto in its final year of production—derive their flavor and essence from the pinot grapes that thrive on the West Coast. The diverse soils of the region imbue distinct idiosyncrasies into the fruit’s ultimate flavor, which can help samplers understand the regional personalities of wines, such as the sweeter profile of those produced in colder climates and the frequent counseling required by those grown in Hollywood.
The Gourmet Man enlivens meals and snacks with signature MSG- and preservative-free gourmet seasonings and dips. With flavors such as Holy Jalapeno, Spunky Spinach, Lobster Lobster, Kickin’ Cajun Shrimp, PartyDipz add zest to dippable edibles from chips and crackers to veggies. The G-Gourmet line of all-natural gourmet dried spices blends natural sea salt with dozens of flavor-packed ingredients, giving pastas, meats, and vegetables a new life without legally changing their names.