Wine bottle door pullsWe like to go wine tasting. We do it a lot. With so many options in the Willamette Valley and Hood River areas, it’s easy to just jump in the car and go. But we have learned from past experience that just jumping in the car and heading out is not the best way to utilize our time or money. Below is how we do it- call it a system if you like.

  • Map it out. Get the lay of the land, figure out where the wineries/tasting rooms are located first then plot your course. This will save time and gas for you.

  • Do your research. Definitely figure out where you are going first.  Find out who is pouring what; what they are charging, and what their hours are. Knowing what a winery is pouring will help you separate the wheat from the chaff. If you don’t like dessert wines and Winery A is pouring 4 wines, 3 being dessert wines, well then that’s not the place for you.

  • If possible share tastings and the driving. It’s a safe way to go and it is a more cost efficient way if you are underemployed like I am.

  • Bring water and food. Besides the obvious benefits of hydration and a full stomach, it can cleanse the palate, enhancing the tasting experience. What we usually do is bring a lunch. Many wineries will boast of their great views and picnic areas so take advantage of those to have a nice lunch. In the Portland area we suggest sandwiches from An Xuyen Bakery on SE Foster Rd. I favor the lemongrass chicken while Michele prefers the tofu. Great stuff.

These are just some basics. It’s not a foolproof system but it works for us. I hope this helps you in your journeys through wine country and enhances your experience.