There is a time and a season to sit quietly in reflection over a glass of the latest vintage release and retreat inward, but that time is not now. Summer in the Willamette Valley is made for a party on-the-move, and that goes for wine tasting.
Really, don’t left hands do so much work hoisting that Riedel XL Oregon Pinot noir glass to the mouth? If you think about it, any good owner of a body knows that balancing muscle use on each side of the body makes for great longevity. You can always stand around and chat, or, you can add in some action at the many wineries making the best of the #lawngamelife.
For everyone for whom doing is as important as being, I suggest the following destination wineries with award-winning wine to sip and something to do on-site.
Croquet All Day
So there’s not a lot of wineries with a full-time regulation croquet court. Actually, there’s only one. It’s at Carlton Hill Vineyard, set on a site with views of vineyards, Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson in the distance. There, you can taste three vintages of acclaimed Carlton Hill Vineyard’s estate Pinot noir and master your mallet moves for $50 a person. Stoller Family Estate also hosts an annual Oregon Croquet Classic on the green space behind its tasting room, complete with costume contest (bring your best elevated casual attire), benefiting five local non-profit organizations.
Bouts of Bocce
Many a Portlander’s favorite pit stop on the way to the mid-coast, Red Hills Market also hosts impromptu bocce games alongside its wood-fired pizzas, artisan sandwiches, and excellent wine shop. Or go directly to the source to taste at wineries like Anne Amie, Arcane Cellars, Argyle Winery, Methven Family Vineyards, Cana’s Feast. Show you’re serious by printout out this PDF of the Basic Rules of Bocce to bring with.
Flights of Frisbee Golf Fanfare
With that heavy-ish flat disc in one hand a Pinot gris in the other, the game is on. Stoller Estate Winery might be the best winery for #lawngamelife, with a wide expanse of lawn and its own disc golf course set in a stunning valley location between tasting room and vineyards. This is where I send families who want to wine taste with kids in tow. Bring a soccer ball to kick around, stage your own impromptu kickball game, or borrow discs on-site.
Bags to Riches
We’re not saying you should be the equivalent of a cornhole pool shark, but if you do like to harness your inner undergraduate bean bag toss champion, consider heading to Brooks Winery, where you can sip Pinot as you cream your bestie in the world’s lowest stakes lawn game. Pro tip: Keep that distracting, soul-opening view of the Willamette Valley at your back to distract your opponent. Other wineries with cornhole include Yamhill Valley Vineyards, Hyland Estate Winery, Blakeslee Vineyard, or, if you’re really ready to take it to the next level, pop on over to one of the events held by the Willamette Cornhole Tournaments.
Learn more at VisitMcMinnville.com.