Originally established and overseen by a committee of parents, Sip! McMinnville Wine & Food Classic began in 1994 as a small community fundraiser for St. James Catholic School. Today, the annual festival draws nearly 10,000 people to the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, requiring more than 300 volunteers to assemble regional winemakers, culinary masters, and artists. Vintners disclose trade tips as they peddle their ambrosial libations, all of which are ultimately ranked by a panel of professional judges into bronze, silver, gold, and best-of-show tiers. Guests can take wine-tasting classes, which teach sippers how distinguish fruity undertones from a banana hiding in their glass, or glean cooking tips from kitchen demonstrations and food booths. Throughout the weekend-long gathering, artists display their opuses in the form of tangible wares or live music.
Each museum pass includes entrance to the Aviation Museum, the Space Museum, and the Captain Michael King Smith Firearms Collection. A Space Museum ticket includes one free ride on the Evergreen Biplane (a ride for children 24 to 48 inches tall).
Renowned for its artisan wines and pinot noir varietals, Willamette Valley Vineyards whips taste buds into flavorful frenzies with elegant quaffs that highlight the pure grapes of the region. Like the cycles of the moon and broken sundials, reserve tastings rotate monthly, featuring a different lineup of five distinct libations. Tasters can count on three Single Vineyard Designate pinot noirs in the sippable quintet, one of which is the 2008 Estate pinot noir. Blossoming sommeliers step up to their glasses and test their scent-sensors under the guidance of Willamette Valley's professional drink detectives, aiding their efforts to detect the notes of cherry, dark chocolate, and spice laced throughout their beverage. Following their consumption and discussion of their glasses, participants receive two "It's Willamette, Dammit" t-shirts, and are welcome to keep their Riedel logo stemware, ideal for future tastings or trapping fancy tarantulas.
To Justin Doane, there are few things better than being out on the water and breathing in the coastal air. Having spent his youth shuttling between Oregon and Alaska on fishing trips with his father, he now has an in-depth understanding of local ecologies and where the best places are to seek steelhead and chinook, depending on the season. Today, he leads daylong trips out onto the Nestucca, Trask, Wilson, Nehalem, and Salmon Rivers, to name a few, and provides all the equipment necessary for amateur anglers to return home with impressive catches.
As a member of the Northwest Guides service, Bob Rees escorts his charges out onto the region's waterways in pursuit of marine life. Salmon and sturgeon are both common finds, but Rees particularly sets his sights on Oregon's most prized shellfish: the Dungeness crab. He deploys his navigational skills to find promising waters, and once there he helps his guests reel in the catch. While fishing gear is included with the cost of each day trip, make sure to procure a fishing license and affix a sturdy peg leg ahead of time.