Now that harvest is finished and the 2012 vintage is quietly resting in barrels for the winter, wineries throughout the Willamette Valley are ready to celebrate the end of another successful crush. Wine tasting over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend has become an important tradition in the past 30 years. The fun kicks off on Friday, November 23 and wraps up Sunday, November 25.

Says Sue Horstmann, Executive Director of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association,

“With the harvest spirit still lingering in cellars and tasting rooms, the charming experience is a nod to the agrarian days of long ago.”

This year, over 150 wineries and tasting rooms have holiday weekend plans. Winemakers throughout the region invite wine lovers to savor their current releases, often with special food pairings, music, older vintages pulled out of the library and even glasses to commemorate the holiday weekend’s festivities. Many wineries that aren’t open to the public will throw their doors open for guests over this very special tasting event.

The holiday weekend celebration began 30 years ago as a way to bring visitors to the few Willamette Valley wineries. Many did not have tasting rooms so winemakers’ children would greet guests as they arrived and tastings were often held in the winery, among the barrels, tanks and winemaking equipment.

Says Susan Sokol Blosser, pioneering founder of Sokol Blosser Winery who planted some of the first vines in the state:

“Fall is about change and there’s a new generation taking over in Oregon wine. The fact that this event is 30 years old shows we have strong roots as a winemaking community and a friendly, familial approach.”

In fact, years ago, Alison and Alex Sokol Blosser were some of those children handing out wine glasses to visitors. Now these siblings have accepted the role of Co-Presidents and are at the helm of Sokol Blosser Winery, started by their parents. Their story is becoming more common as the first generation of pioneering winemakers look toward retirement.

Give thanks this weekend by enjoying all that the Willamette Valley wineries have to offer wine lovers!

Thanksgiving in Wine Country takes place November 23-25, 2012 at over 150 wineries across the Willamette Valley.

For a complete listing of wineries open during Thanksgiving Weekend, along with details about special events and tasting fees, please visit

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