Over the years we have been dedicated to supporting our community by giving back to numerous non-profits and charities every year. This includes, but not limited to, donating tours and tastings as auction items for local non-profits and working with ¡Salud! to provide access to healthcare for Oregon's seasonal vineyard workers and their families.
Last month, I received an invitation to continue our support of the community by participating in Dancing with the Salem Stars, an annual fundraiser to raise money and awareness for the historic Elsinore Theatre. I must admit, I was a little apprehensive at first, but between my wonderful professional dance partner and the support from Willamette Valley Vineyards staff, family and friends, it became one of my most memorable experiences. On the night of the event, audience members voted for their favorite act and I was honored to be voted first place, winning the coveted Mirrorball Trophy.
Last Thursday, at our "Game of Clones" Pairings Wine Dinner, Lead Winery Ambassador Kacie Copeland unveiled a new display in our Estate Tasting Room prominently featuring the Mirrorball Trophy. Immediately following the unveiling, I surprised guests by performing the winning dance to the Game of Thrones theme song with Executive Director and Owner Mark Lowes of Corvallis-based Utah Ballroom Dance Company. Below you'll find pictures from this memorable event.
I hope you will visit us soon to view the new display in person, and join us for an upcoming Pairings Wine Dinner.
The Roundhouse building in Folsom, California is making beautiful progress and is the future home to Willamette Wineworks — a new food, wine and blending experience by Willamette Valley Vineyards! Located in a beautiful part of the downtown area, the Roundhouse and Willamette Wineworks are expected to finish in the fall.
As of March 20th, all the welding was completed and the interior steel was set, allowing us to move on to the second floor where Willamette Wineworks will live. By late April, we'll be ready for the roof and parapet trusses. We are delighted to watch the progress after kicking off construction with a Roof Raising Celebration on February 17th. More than 300 Owners and wine enthusiasts joined us to toast the new station and take a commemorative photo that captured the historic moment. Being in Folsom, meeting locals and seeing their eagerness for the project, has sparked an incredible enthusiasm to join this vibrant community.
When Founder Jim Bernau learned about the vision for the new Historic District, he knew this was an incredible opportunity to share our story with more wine enthusiasts in California.
"Joining my brother in his Historic Folsom Station development and connecting our family's history to the area is a lifelong dream. We look forward to sharing our wine story through this new experience and being active members of the Folsom community," Jim explained.
Willamette Wineworks will feature our classic Oregon wines and food pairings from a local favorite, Scott's Seafood. They will be relocating to join us in the new Roundhouse building modeled after the original design, which housed trains in the 1800s. The new and unique hands-on wine-blending experience will allow people to learn more about the process of winemaking and enjoy their new wine creation.
Thank you to our Founding Owners for your continued support of Willamette Valley Vineyards and our new projects. We are excited to expand into the town of Folsom and grow our community of wine enthusiasts.
Please enjoy our Pairings - Holiday Food & Wine Entertaining Guide, which is inspired by the food and wine pairings we feature at our Estate Tasting Room. I hope you will share the recipes with your friends and family this holiday season. Our Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs and cool-climate whites are acclaimed for being some of the most versatile food-friendly wines in the world. They enhance meals with their delicate aromas and flavors, refreshing acidity and elegant finishes.
We wanted to make it as easy as possible to order these wines for your table and to purchase as gifts. You will find special savings on wine, holiday gift sets and shipping enclosed. Call 1-800-344-9463 to have a friendly Winery Ambassador assist with your order or shop online.
We are excited to present our new Daily Pairings Menu filled with fresh, local seasonal ingredients that pair perfectly with our latest wine releases. Our Estate Tasting Room is open daily from 11 am - 6 pm. Please join us soon!
Celebrating Halloween is always a scary good time at our Estate, south of Salem. This weekend we enjoyed hosting many of our Wine Club Members and Owners during our annual Murder Mystery Dinner! This year, our members dared to join us at the Mayor's mansion and enjoyed a custom New Orleans inspired menu created by Winery Chef, DJ MacIntyre paired with our latest wine releases. Little did they know, there would be more than wine pouring during their dinner...but maybe even a little blood.
Today, many team members are enjoying the fun of the holiday and dressing up for our guests who join us for a tasting. Introducing our new Tasting Room Associates: Rosie, John Wayne, Elvira, and Ms. Marilyn Monroe. We look forward to seeing all of our ghoulish guests dressed up and enjoying some of our classic Oregon wines!
View of Winery on the eve of the Solar Eclipse
Photo Credit: Janis Miglavs
Guests view the start of the Solar Eclipse. Photo credit: Scott Cassidy
Founder, Jim Bernau with daughter Emi at the admissions booth. Photo credit: Scott Cassidy
Dr. Mark Cheung gives presentation, "The Sun in a New Light." Photo credit: Scott Cassidy
Customers viewing the Solar Eclipse in North Carolina with 2015 Solar Eclipse Pinot Noir.
On Monday August 21st, 2017 over 1,200 guests gathered in the newly constructed Hillyer Amphitheater at the winery, south of Salem to witness the Great American Solar Eclipse as it crossed, in totality over the Willamette Valley.
This was the first coast-to-coast solar eclipse to occur in nearly a century with our vineyard in the direct path, creating an ideal viewing location.
Eclipse viewers filled the amphitheater, toasts of Frizzanté in hand to witness the solar eclipse. As the partial eclipse began at approximately, 9:06 am guests all united in amazement as we reached totality among the vines. Cheers erupted throughout the viewing and at 10:17 am, we all gazed up at the eclipse, which reminded us all at Willamette Valley Vineyards how important the sun is to the growing cycle of our vines.
As the eclipse concluded its path over the Willamette Valley guests celebrated with wine tasting, including sampling the 2015 Solar Eclipse Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, live music, educational seminars hosted by Dr. Mark Cheung, and food pairings.
Our Solar Eclipse Pinot Noir was sourced from the sub-AVAs in the Willamette Valley. Only 615 cases were produced of this bottle-numbered wine. Our Solar Eclipse Chardonnay was sourced from our three estate vineyards in the Willamette Valley. Only 315 cases were produced of this bottle-numbered wine meant to commemorate this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Thank you for making this truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Total Solar Eclipse over the East Block at Willamette Valley Vineyards. Photo credit: Scott Cassidy
Founder, Jim Bernau with the commemorative bottles of the 2015 Solar Eclipse Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Photo credit: Scott Cassidy
We are excited to present our new Daily Pairings Menu filled with fresh, local summer ingredients that pair perfectly with our latest wine releases. Our Estate Tasting Room is now open daily, 11 am - 6 pm and Thursday - Friday, 11 am - 8 pm until September 8th Please join us soon!
Black Garlic Hummus
Fish Street Tacos
Steelhead with Curried Cauliflower
BBQ Bacon Burger
Grilled Lamb Pita
Mason Jar Orange
Pot de Créme
White-crowned Sparrow: 13
American Goldfinch: 6
House Finch: 5
Song Sparrow: 5
Wilson's Warbler: 4
Chipping Sparrow: 4
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon): 4
European Starling: 3
Spotted Towhee: 3
American Crow: 3
Tree Swallow: 3
Turkey Vulture: 2
Violet-green Swallow: 2
Brewer's Blackbird: 2
Bewick's Wren: 2
Anna's Hummingbird: 1
Northern Flicker: 1
American Kestrel: 1
Pacific-slope Flycatcher: 1
Black-capped Chickadee: 1
Chestnut-backed Chickadee: 1
Red-breasted Nuthatch: 1
House Wren: 1
American Robin: 1
Black-throated Gray Warbler: 1
Western Tanager: 1
As the spring sun rises over our Estate vineyard in the Salem Hills, so do 26 different species of wildlife birds! On Sunday, May 7th, the Salem Audubon Society joined us to learn about our sustainability efforts during a Birds & Wine event. Members hiked two miles through the vineyard with Viticulturist, Ashley Lindsay, to identify native species inhabiting our vineyard and our Kestrel nesting boxes. These birds help create a balanced eco-system in our vineyard by controlling pest populations. Each year we introduce new birds from Cascade Raptor Center, which is a nature center and wildlife hospital focused on raptor rehabilitation.
More information regarding our stewardship efforts can be found here.
Years ago, I began experimenting with the variety I love - Pinot Noir. Instead of destemming and crushing the berries, I gently dropped the hand-picked clusters in a chilled fermenter, pushed all the oxygen out with CO2 and sealed the vessel tight. What happened next was magical - the black berries on the stem started swelling up and turning pink. When they burst, they released the most aromatic Pinot Noir.
We were honored when our Whole Cluster Pinot Noir was recognized by Wine Enthusiast Magazine who named our 2015 vintage as Editor's Choice and awarded it with a 90-point rating.
In 2016, we created a new look for Whole Cluster. To celebrate this, our winery's culinary team has created a decadent recipe - Pork Ribs with Whole Cluster Pinot Noir Blackberry Barbecue Sauce - shown here. I encourage you to try this recipe and enjoy it with a glass of Whole Cluster Pinot Noir.
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