Guests at the Estate in the Salem Hills can now take a seat at the Chef’s Counter for a tasting experience filled with wine, small plates and plenty of conversation. This communal experience offers guests a unique opportunity to interact with our Winery Chef as their food is prepared and plated.
“Guests rarely get a one-on-one interaction with their chef,” Winery Chef Jarred Henry said. “You don’t see that experience at a typical restaurant.”
The Chef's Counter communal experience seats eight guests.
Attendees can also engage with other wine enthusiasts at the eight-person counter nestled in the Estate Tasting Room as they enjoy a four-course small-bites menu. Current pairings include seasonal seafood with elevated wines and a Bananas Foster dessert paired with 2019 Domaine Willamette Brut. Please note substitutions and modifications may not be available.
Reservations are $60 per person or $45 for Owners and Club Members. The Chef’s Counter experience is available Monday through Friday at 2 pm and lasts around an hour and a half.
Your ticket cost will be credited to a 4-bottle purchase of featured wines or a 6-bottle purchase per couple.
What to expect
Chef Jarred said he’s excited for guests to try the unique pairings. The winter menu features Dungeness crab, halibut and more, paired with a mix of bold and lighter wines. The menu will change seasonally.
“I wanted to focus on textures and play on different temperatures of food and wines to create an intriguing movement on the palate,” he said.
Winery Chef Jarred Henry puts the finishing touches on dishes at the Chef's Counter.
The Chef’s Counter will offer an intimate setting for guests to learn more about the food and wine they’re enjoying.
A Winery Ambassador will guide attendees through the tasting experience and share stories about the featured wines. Guests will also have a passport to fill out tasting notes.
“We were looking for a really fun, energetic and engaging experience for our guests to interact with the Chef and Winery Ambassador,” Hospitality & Guest Experience Manager Kaylin Ray said. “It’s intended to spark conversation. I’m excited about the liveliness and energy it’ll bring to the Tasting Room.”
A lasting impact
The Chef’s Counter experience is more than just a tasting — it’s an educational opportunity too. Guests can take what they learn at Willamette with them to their next party or dinner.
“We’re going to walk guests through the pairings and they’ll be able to take that knowledge with them as they pair wines with special dishes at home,” Kaylin said.
The Chef’s Counter is approachable, she added. It’s perfect for both new and experienced wine enthusiasts.
With seasonal and local ingredients at the forefront, guests can also learn how our terroir influences both the dishes and wine.
“You’re not going to get this one-on-one experience anywhere else in the Willamette Valley right now,” Kaylin said. “It’s an opportunity to talk to the Chef, make friends, socialize and learn from top-tier ambassadors.”
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