The season of the #lawngamelife is upon us in Oregon wine country

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 AmieArcane CellarsArgyle WineryMethven Family VineyardsCana’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 WineryBlakeslee 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

Create-Your-Own International Pinot Noir Celebration any time of year

The reasons you might not have tickets to IPNC (International Pinot Noir Celebration) are legion, but lack of desire is not one of them. For one week every year, it’s the hottest show in McMinnville, a weekend-long party pulling people from all over the globe to genuflect before the distinct allure of Pinot noir.

Never fear. Though you may not have snagged a ticket (it is a bucket-list item for many attendees), you can recreate the experience for yourself and a group of friends by tasting your way through Oregon Wine Country with a curated IPNC-themed travel itinerary.

Wine Region of the Year: France

The 2018 IPNC hosts several French producers bringing their craft to the Willamette Valley for a signature showcase of French wines. For a chance to explore the best of Burgundy alongside a meal, try Bistro Maison on 3rd Street. Visit some of the wineries shaped by the hands of French winemakers throughout the decades, such as Domaine DrouhinDomaine Nicolas-Jay, and Chapter 24 Vineyards. Or plan a flight of hard-to-find wines at the rare-find-focused specialty shop Woodard Wines, right in downtown McMinnville.

Winery Brunch

We’re sorry. It’s impossible to recreate the surprise winery brunch where the IPNC organizers put you on a bus and don’t tell you which fabulous winery you’re headed to. But it’s still worth trying for others! Invite your friends and don’t tell them where they are going. Go casual at Red Hills Market, or fun and fabulous by staging your own brunch at the Barlow Room in Dayton. Opt for gourmet additions and never-ending romance at The Barberry (think truffle fondito, Wagyu steak and eggs, and oysters on the half shell.

Northwest Salmon Bake

Salmon is a dish best served everywhere around here. Good choices are the pan-fried salmon at La Rambla Restaurant & Bar, grilled salmon at Golden Valley Brewpub, or let chef Gilbert Henry choose for you at the elegant Cuvée in Carlton.

Sparkling Brunch

You could make a whole tour of sparkling producer Argyle Winery in Dundee, or, to pair with bites, head across the street to the Ponzi Bubbles Bar. Just want a unique sparkling you can get nowhere else? Track down a bottle of bubbly by upstart Mellen Meyer to take home with you, and learn to love Oregon’s sparkling revolution.

Passport to Pinot

The idea behind the IPNC’s Passport to Pinot event is to create a one-stop place to explore all of the producers visiting the event this year. We can’t give you the Oregon white oaks in the green space at Linfield College, but we can offer you the variety and the spirit of exploration to be had at the Oregon Wine Village experience, at The Barberry, in downtown Mac, where Chef Jacob Way guides diners through a multi-course meal of locally-sourced menu items paired to perfection with local producers you’ll find nowhere else.

Meet the Makers

Looking for some places where you are more likely to interact directly with the winemaker? They are a lovely lot, obsessed with their grapes, with process and with the places that seep into their wines. Dominio IV’s new tasting room in Carlton is a great bet for commingling with these makers, or try a private tasting at Biggio Hamina Cellars. A stop by the family-run Winter’s Hill Estate in Dayton in always recommended. There, the Gladhart family is often behind the counter,  pouring their flagship Pinot noir alongside Rosé, Pinot gris, and Pinot blanc.

Fore more information on the IPNC, and, perhaps, to get it on your calendar for next year (all events are SOLD OUT for 2018), visit

Read more at Visit McMinnville.

Fall Homecomings mean a return to McMinnville

Homecoming has always been about returning to roots to take stock. It’s a time for noticing how things in a place have changed – and how they’ve stayed the same – while noting those same changes in yourself.

Grape crush, crunch Fall leaves on 3rd Street, Homecoming at Linfield College: If you haven’t been to McMinnville for a while, now is a great time to return to the small Oregon wine country town known for fostering conversations and inviting visitors to enter a slower pace.

For Linfield alumni and students, Homecoming Week offers a great opportunity to reconnect with colleagues and friends in McMinnville, a place that has grown in prominence as one of America’s top small towns. In Linfield as in McMinnville, a culture of smallness pervades community life, allowing conversations and deep connection to thrive over time. It’s worth taking a weekend to recharge and reflect on the value of small communities in maintaining deep connections.

Headed back to McMinnville for Homecoming or for another Fall weekend trip? Here are some tips for places to revisit and reconnect.


Downtown McMinnville with its hand-drawn storefront signs, charming facades, flower basket culture, and enveloping trees, feels familiar whether it’s your first time here or your fiftieth. Take your inner Wildcat for a walk down Third Street, America’s #1 Historic Main Street in America and perhaps the best backdrop for all those fall color photos. Some of the places in town that cater to students these days are Cupcake Couture, a women’s lifestyle boutique, Union Block CoffeeLocal Flow health bar, and The Oak.


Want to feel a place in transition? Discover the big changes afoot in the Pinot Quarter, where Oregon legacy wine producerThe Eyrie Vineyards (the first to plant Pinot noir in the Willamette Valley) sits at the center of an emerging Alpine District. Stop in at Flag + Wire Coffee, a sweet spot for students and professionals alike, grab a brew at Heater Allen or Grain Station Grew Works, snag lunch at Valley CommissaryLinfield College recently added the nation’s first five-year Bachelors and Masters Wine Studies Program, which draws on the rich heritage of the wine industry in and around McMinnville (over 300 Oregon wineries are in Yamhill County).


Overnight options proliferate for out-of-town guests, from swanky digs at downtown 3rd Street Flats and the Douglas on 3rd to the new luxury boutique Atticus Hotela place lauded for its authenticity and celebration of local culture. Country inn options put you out in the landscape with views of vineyards at the Abbey Road Farm, Youngberg Hill Farm Vineyard Inn, or in a sleepy part of town at A Tuscan Estate B&B.

Linfield Meetups

Class reunions for years ending in “8” (‘58, ‘68, ‘78, 88’ ‘98, ‘08)  are happening all around town during homecoming week. For more information see theLinfield events pageWhether or not it’s your year to convene with your classmates, pop in on a visit with new Linfield President Dr. Miles K. Davis, the school’s 11th full-time president and its first-ever African-American in the role. With his welcoming attitude, visionary approach and those stylish socks he wears every day, Dr. Davis has become a veritable celebrity on campus in his first month. The “Meet the President “event is happening on October 6 at 10:30 a.m. at Nicholson Library.


Linfield Wildcats host the Willamette Bearcats for the October 6 at 1:30 p.m. at Maxwell Field for the Homecoming Game.

For more information on Linfield Homecoming Events, click here. For more information about the town go to Visit McMinnville.

Thanksgiving in McMinnville brings plenty of tastings, holiday markets and charm

Wine lovers and visitors to Oregon look forward to Thanksgiving weekend all year round, a time when everyone from the state’s largest producers to the tiniest, by-appointment cellars open their doors for fresh, fun events celebrating the latest releases of the season. But it’s also a time to experience the classic small town charms of McMinnville at events celebrating the spirit of the season.

In other words, come for the dozens of wine country experiences, stay for the delight of experiencing the holidays rife with nostalgia, charm and small town conviviality.

What’s happening at the wineries:

For a full list of happenings at North Willamette Valley producers, pull up the full guide of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association (PDF) here.

Food & Wine

Who is doing food alongside wine? Try paired bites, artfully created hors d’oeuvres, light snacks, cheeses and other bites alongside the latest releases at Antiquum Farm, Beckham Estate VineyardsBella Vida VineyardsBergstrӧm WinesBrooks WineryCana’s Feast WineryDomaine TrouvéreSiltstone WinesLange Estate, Soléna EstateSoter VineyardsMethven Family Vineyards and WineryPenner-Ash Wine Cellars, and Yamhill Valley VineyardsLeft Coast Estate is going big with a culinary experience every day of the weekend at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. Call the wineries

Art & Wine

Give me some eye candy with that stemware. For Thanksgiving weekend, Aramenta Cellars hosts a striking array of metal sculpture, Elk Cove Winery is throwing a reception for Wallow Gallery artists, Trisaetum Winery has an entire on-site art gallery with regular exhibitions. Saffron Fields has a regularly rotating exhibition of contemporary art in a stunning modern setting.


What style of music pairs perfectly with Pinot? All of them. Make it musical at Elizabeth Chambers CellarsFranny BeckFurioso Vineyards, and Stoller Family Estate, recently named the #1 Tasting Room in the U.S. by USAToday.

Holiday Markets

Willakenzie Estate’s beloved holiday market is back while Stoller Estate hosts a market of local vendors at its Thanksgiving celebration. Also, the McMinnville Holiday Market is back at The Bindery with a host of local artisans and vendors selling products you simply can see or purchase anywhere else. New this year is a McMinnville Night Market on Friday November 23, an event with live music, food trucks and drinks in a fun industrial setting.

Many tiny wineries host guests by appointment throughout the year, but Thanksgiving is the time to show up and get cozy. Try Newberg’s boutique Bells Up Winery, tiny Iota Cellars, Martin Woods Winery, open only twice a year. Or, if you want to taste small producers in one spot, head to Dominio IV Winery, where a small producer speakeasy brings together Project M, Matzinger Davies, and Résonance Wines.

Small-town highlight
The annual Tree-lighting Ceremony and Santa’s Parade happens on November 23 this year in downtown McMinnville. The old-fashioned parade travels a route down a star-lit, twinkly-lighted Third Street.

Learn more at Visit McMinnville.

Whatever your foodie style, McMinnville serves up the right dish

Adventure Traveler, Food Truck Chaser, Farm-to-table Fanatic, Picnic Pleasurist, member of the Breakfast Club, or Gluten-free Gourmet — whatever your food style while on the road, McMinnville has an answer. A wine country town that has emerged in the past decade as a destination for epicures of all stripe, McMinnville is always giving new expression to the phrase foodie destination.

Pick your favorite travel type to discover the possibilities:

Farm-to-Table Fanatic

With its prime spot tucked in the Willamette Valley, McMinnville is a place where food never travels far from the source. Try Thistle Restaurant for early 20th century-inspired farm-to-table dishes sourced within 35 miles, James Beard Award-winning Nick’s Italian Cafe for upscale Italian with Pacific Northwest ingredients, or Valley Commissary for elevated lunch with a seasonal, local twist.

Picnic Pleasurist

Want to grab-and-go to your favorite winery destination? The best places to pick up picnic fare near downtown McMinnville are Pierano & Daughters Italian deli (maybe mortadella on fresh bread), Harvest Fresh Grocery (grab-and-go-sandwiches), Local Flow (healthy vegetarian bowls), Valley Commissary (nab some fried chicken), Sandwich Express, or Red Hills Market (fresh salads and sandwiches) if you’re in Dundee.

Food Truck Chaser

When it comes to food trucks in McMinnville, no single food pod captures all of the possibilities, so discovering the options is a trip in itself. Kate’s Thai Cuisine is a fresh and fun option, Omar’s Mediterranean Grill is your go-to for falafel and souvlaki, the cart at Tequila Grill is a local favorite for quick lunch, La Cubanita is the place for home-spun Mexican comfort food, and The Farmer’s Lunchbox has your zesty kimchi dogs and pulled pork

Adventure Traveler

For a quick adventure, try the Native American fry bread at Mom’s Mobile Kitchen, or experience the fresh, briny tastes of the ocean over the mountain with oysters at The Barberry, which can also create a unique multiple-course tasting menu with wine selections. Inventive South American fare brought with fresh flavor combinations is on the menu at Pura Vida Cocina (also great for those with diet restrictions). Or for the ultimate in foodie road trips, do the full prix fixe Mushroom Madness Menu at the Joel Palmer House in nearby Dayton.

Breakfast Club

Sometimes you just need breakfast, and you need it now. Community Plate is where a lot of locals hang out, or surround yourself with the eclectic vibes and dig into giant hotcakes at the Wildwood CafeCrescent Cafe’s homemade bread is legendary, and Morning Thunder will make the kids a funny-faced pancake they’ll remember. The Diner with its four different types of Eggs Benedicts, is always a delight.

Gluten-free Gourmet

Dietary restrictions need not restrict your travel. If you’re traveling GF, dairy free, or grain-free, options abound. On Saturdays, visit the certified GF tasting room of Bierly Brewing for a Felix Pilsner and a home-made GF pretzel, try Pura Vida Cocina for a bevy of GF dishes, or engage the expertise of Deborah Chatelard at Bistro Maison to find the diet-friendly dishes inspired by French cuisine. Local Flow Health Bar is always a good choice in the early hours of the day for a healthy choice.

12 Days of McMinnville Shopping

Each year, the Tiny Traveler sets out to discover what perfect packages can be made in the town of McMinnville, a place where holiday shopping has all the old world charm, good cheer and personal connections that give meaning to the season.

🎶 On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:


Or sketch pads, or coloring books, or paint tubes, or erasers shaped like Japanese pastries (really): The Merri Artist should be on everyone’s list.


Er, I mean salad dressings, at Third Street Oil & Vinegar, a place where you can go fancy and healthy at the same time.


No one ever turned their nose up at a gift of grapes. Take your pick of wines made by local wine companies at Youngberg HillGoodfellow CellarsElizabeth ChambersR. Stuart & Co., and more.


Magpies need search no further than Mes Amies, Accessory AppealYamhill Valley Dry GoodsTimmrick & McNicol Jewelers,  and Cupcake Couture for bangles, dangles and sparklers.


What will you find at shops like Third Time Around Antiques and McMinnville Antique Mall? A different selection of curated decor, art, household goods and collectibles every time.


In an age when we all have too much stuff, seek ye the consumables! Try Peirano & Daughters for Italian specialty items, Harvest Fresh for gift basket-worthy jams, and those amazing Monk-made truffles, or NW Food & Gifts for a giant selection of locally made food products.


That might get you through the holidays, if not, get the subscription, at Flag & Wire Coffee.


Several retailers zany sock selections, but perhaps the most eclectic selection can be found at Many Hands Trading.


Third Street Books may actually be selling the gift of having something relevant to talk about at all those holiday parties.


Come New Year, everyone you know is going to be on a Whole 30 Diet and turning a new leaf on health, so pick up some antioxidants in preparation at the Velvet Monkey Tea.


Pick your favorite restaurant in town and you’ll have the perfect gift certificate every time, maybe think practical and fill up a gift certificate for your favorite child at Local Flow Health Bar.


Type A Press’s McMinnville t-shirts are that rare combination of soft cotton, modern styling, and, dare I say, it, civic pride. A winner every time. Available at La Bella Casa.

Learn more at Visit McMinnville.

Health goals don’t limit restaurant choices

In the past, it’s been difficult to be a traveler and stick to health goals. But if you’re staying true to a New Year’s resolution to make better eating choices for your overall wellness, it’s time to see what the creative chefs and in McMinnville are serving up in 2019.


Wanna know who knows about Keto? Try Jesse Kincheloe of Valley Commissary, chef and owner of an unpretentious, upscale-leaning breakfast and lunch joint in the town’s Alpine District. If you’re bored on Keto then it’s time to meet Kincheloe, whose menu items burst with flavor, interesting pairings, fun textures and freshness.

Standout: Beet salad with avocado mousse, citrus, hazelnuts and chevre.  


Gluten-free living is a rather simple limitation to overcome in McMinnville. The town has two dedicated gluten-free breweries in Bierly Brewing and Evasion, and local chefs work hard to serve the large dedicated gluten-free population in the community. Want a real surprise? Longtime French restaurant Bistro Maison is one of the most accommodating to GF types, with menus options in every category and course for those avoiding gluten. Each day’s menu there includes a gluten-free, dairy-free soup option.

Standout: Moules à la provençale, mussels with rosemary, fennel, tomato, roasted garlic and parsley, served with bistro fries (Bistro Maison).


Not all cleanses and detox programs are created equal, but short-term dietary purges should not prevent you from traveling. Take your choice of ingredients at the salad bar at Harvest Fresh Grocery & Deli, or head to Local Flow, a health bar open for breakfast and lunch. Antioxidant-packed acai smoothie bowls, kombucha, cleansing juices, gluten-free toasts, and rice and quinoa bowls: The list would make any health-conscious traveler feel the abundance.

Standout: Thai Bowl with Quinoa, cabbage, carrots and sesame curry dressing (Local Flow)


Eating locally can be a powerful motivator with strong implications for your health (and the health of the planet). The closer you can consume fruits and produce to their moment of harvest the more nutrients they contain. Many McMinnville Restaurants source ingredients from surrounding farms, standouts being Thistle, a destination farm-to-table dining experience where local is a philosophical obsession.

Standout: Elk with winter squash, kale and huckleberry


If you’re trying to go vegan in 2019, Local Flow has the most options for you in McMinnville for lunch and breakfast. Dinner is the farthest from dicey at La Rambla, a Pacific Northwest and Spanish mashup with enough vegan tapas choices to make food philosophy feel like a party.

Standout: Roasted winter squash with cumin and tahini sauce (La Rambla)

Learn more at Visit McMinnville.

6 tiny tasting rooms big on ideas in and around McMinnville

How tiny can you get? Tiny is as tiny does? Or does the idea of tiny reside in the spirit of the adventure, the act of squeezing in a moment as it is available to you?  Is it a back-room counter with two glasses and a bottle? Is it a smallish tasting room with a personal guide through the latest releases from a micro-winery?

Here’s the real skinny: You know that small often means special, and these six tiny tasting rooms in and around McMinnville are settings for big ideas in Oregon wine, beer and spirits.

Suzor Wines
The newest addition to the world of tiny wine, family-run Suzor just launched a weekly speakeasy out of the back of Yamhill Valley Dry Goods in McMinnville (look for the Oakhill Organics sign). We expect big things from this stylish and distinctive wine duo. Tiny tip: We have put one of their high tea events on our

For years the property in Dundee that Alit calls home was an abandoned gas station primed for reinvention. The world heaved a collective hurrah when that happened. Now, it’s a sweet tasting room hosting a collective of winemakers making naturally fermented, transparently-priced wines in several categories.

Lingua Franca
Sometimes tiny is a room within a larger property. Linga Franca, in the tiny town of Hopewell, a winery known for its sustainable methods and attention to the vineyard’s ecological biome, holds tastings in an on-site yurt.

Ransom Wine Co. & Distillery Tasting Room
Right on Third Street in downtown McMinnville, Ransom Wine Co. & Distillery Tasting Room hosts guests in a shared space with Pierano & Daughters Italian speciality shop. It might be the best meeting of tasting room and food under one roof, a chance for an aperitivo or to choose from a full menu of wines, spirits, grappa, vermouth and specialty cocktails.

R. Stuart & Co. (pictured)
More intimate than tiny, the public-facing location of the of the widely-distributed Big Fire serves a number of tiny-production wines at a lovely tasting space right on Third Street, including its exceptional Autograph, a signature blend of the winery’s best pinot lots, produced at just 100 cases a year.

Siltstone Wines
You could fly right by the Blacktail Vineyard Tasting Room of Siltstone Wines on Hwy 18, but that would be a big mistake. The sweet, vineyard-side tasting room is the perfect drive-by stop on the way to the Oregon Coast and a chance to partake in the Myers family’s decades of experience producing Pinot noir, Pinot gris, and Rose.

Bierly Brewing
Here’s a small tasting room with big prospects. The gluten-free beer brewing operation in a tiny house just off 99W showcases a range of possibilities for the nascent industry. Also, homemade GF baked goods like donuts and pretzels appear like magic doughy life rafts for the spirit every weekend.

Learn more at Visit McMinnville.

What your mom wants for Mother’s Day is to meet in McMinnville

Moms. We’re all different. Some of us want breakfast in bed, some of us want to be taken out on the town. But nearly all moms like a change of pace and scenery. This Mother’s Day, set your compass for McMinnville, not just the place where the grass is always greenest but quite possibly a place tailor-made for Mother’s Day outings.

Brunch Babes

Take your pick of places around town for the upscale brunch. The Barberry has one of the most special, with coffee cake French toast, oysters on the halfshell, and a wild mushroom Benedict on the menu. Valley Commissary runs its brunch menu on Sundays, including its addictive chicken and waffles with fried sage, hot sauce butter and maple syrup. Bistro Maison, the French classic on Third Street, offers a reservation-only, multi-course Mother’s Day menu with seasonally inspired dishes and is truly an event. The Diner, near Evergreen Museum, might have the most exceptional fruit salad you’ve ever ordered (try it alongside one of the Benedicts). There is truly no wrong choice for brunch.   

Mavens of Main Street

In McMinnville, the main shopping avenue can be found in the city’s historic 3rd Street, which Parade magazine once recognized as being the second best Main Street in America. The street brims with shopping. Mes Amies should be your first stop for upscale women’s fineries. Right next door sits Accessory Appeal, home to the best selection of affordable jewelry in town. Yamhill Valley Dry Goods carries several lines of Pacific Northwest-perfect style brands like Toad, Prana and Keen. Dare I say it? There just happens to be a novelty sock out there for every personality, and you’ll find them at Third Street Books and Many Hands Trading. If home goods are more her jam, we love La Bella Casa or Found Objects.

Craft Masters

If you’re mom’s super-crafty, she’ll be very happy at Boersma’s Sewing Center, one of the country’s best quilting shops. New cotton patterns, 30s prints, Moda fabrics, natural-dyed felts, embroidery floss — creativity finds its purchase here. Consider taking a class there (check them out here. Or, if her medium is plants, consider signing her up for a class at Durant Olive Mill: The Mother’s Day Hanging Basket class is coming up!


Coffee and tea truly need no advocates. For single origins and award-winning lattes, head to Flag & Wire, or, if tea is her fancy, get the London Fog, a mixed tea drink with Earl Grey, milk and vanilla. The closest to downtown is Union Block Coffee, though you can also nab an Italian espresso at Pierano & Daughters market. Incahoots  has a great tea selection, metaphysical gift shop and nursery and houseplants galore. In the basement of La Bella Casa, the Velvet Monkey carries a wide range of loose leaf teas, including medicinal teas, as well as Moonstruck chocolates. It’s a nice place to end an afternoon.

Wine Devotees

So let’s be honest here. There are over 300 wineries in the county and picking just a couple is a fool’s errand. Throw a dart at a map and you’ll probably be happy. However, I’ll offer just a few great ones. I like Vista Hills for the ambiance of a porch set amid trees and surrounded by vineyards. Dominio IV is currently my favorite for its exceptional Viognier and modern farmhouse location. I take people to Sokol Blosser if they’re into architecture, and to Van Duzer if they want to pair wine tasting with a hike at Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge. If your mom enjoys wine, the options for crafting the right experience are boundless.

Breakfast in Bed

So here’s a novel idea: Do breakfast in bed: A bed someone else made! Get mom a room at one of McMinnville’s overnight destinations. I like the Atticus Hotel for the complete luxury experience. Plan ahead and reserve the Nick’s room at McMenamin’s Hotel Oregon and then go to Nick’s Italian Cafe and see the man in person (in the backroom bar) for inventive Italian-inspired Pacific Northwest fare. Book her a room at the Victorian on 10th if she wants to pack her pooch, or an entire apartment at 3rd Street Flats if she wants to live like a local on the city’s famed historic 3rd Street. There are options to suit every budget here.

Are you local? What’s your favorite thing to do with your mom in McMinnville? Tell us what you think.

Learn more at Visit McMinnville.

Oregon wine country’s laid-back cellar season has all the right happenings

Novice or maven: The right-sized experience can make all of the difference when you’re planning a wine country escape. And cellar season—those slow, cozy months of quiet activity at the vineyard—might be the best time to visit McMinnville wine country.


  1. Access to winemakers. Try getting time with a winemaker during harvest or any of the big holiday weekends. If you see wine as a story of place, and want to know that story intimately, winter is where it’s at. The best way to ensure that happens is to book a private tasting at the vineyard of your choice.
  2. Menu marvels. Anyone can match summer food to wine. But winter food? That’s an Oregon wine thing. The annual Oregon Dungeness Crab Feed at R. Stuart pairs the silky sweetness of the West’s favorite crustacean with the light acidity of Pinot gris. Or maybe visit three vineyards of the McMinnville AVA in one swoop with a progressive brunch at J. Wrigley, Yamhill Valley Vineyards and Youngberg Hill.
  3. Great events. Some of the best wine country events happen in the slow months. It’s a time for conviviality without distractions. Go small at the weekly Thursday Lunch at Remy Wines (bring your small team!), or big at SIP!, the three-day McMinnville Wine and Food Classic happening at Evergreen Museum March 8-10.
  4. Perfect sizing. Like all the great arts, wine opens up new worlds whatever your sipping experience. Quick dip or deep dive? The choice is yours. If you’re new to wine, try the Brooks 101: See, Smell, Sip experience at Brooks Winery. For a big-picture look at what’s going on among a dozen producers of Oregon wine, the Cuvee Stroll at the Allison Inn & Spa makes for the best walkable date night.
  5. The height of hygge. If you don’t yet know the joy of the Danish art of coziness, you’ll find it during cellar season at tasting rooms warmed by the fire’s glow. If you want nothing else but to warm yourself while sipping, we like the inviting hearth of Soléna Estate, and the hand-crafted mantles at the Atticus Hotel (pop your own cork)
  6. Small crowds. If you’re in line with Sartre’s famous “hell is other people” when it comes to travel, then the intimacy and slower pace of the season should beckon you like none other. Some of our favorite off-the-beaten-path, family-run wineries include Coeur de Terre and Keeler Estate Vineyard.
  7. First sips. Novelty seekers will be well-rewarded with the first releases of 2018 wines. Winter’s Hill is hosting an exclusive, small, seated tasting of new Rose with its winemaker, Russell Gladhart, and has a release party on March 23, and Raptor Ridge has an oyster and Grüner Veltliner party planned for the 24. Check your favorite vineyard for other first release happenings as cellar season draws to a close.

Wherever you go, call ahead to ensure you get a reservation for popular events.