Peg and I have found ourselves in this wonderful spot in Oregon. Sutherlin is in the valley between the Cascades to the East and the Front Range to the West, south of Portland and north of Grant’s Pass. As we found out, this is wine country! Totally by accident as we chose the Hi-Way Haven RV Park for it being between Crater Lake NP and the Oregon coast, no idea about the wineries, honest.
We started yesterday at the Sutherlin Blueberry Festival and car show. A small town festival filled with families, neighbors, good food, arts and crafts with about 100 cars on display. Reminded me a lot of the festivals in Central Illinois. It was great to see all the cars, mostly modified and customized although there were a few restored oldies. Peg and I had a good time reminiscing about old times in some of these car models. Peg found herself most intrigued by the mid to late 50’s Chevy’s. For me the 69′ Camaro brought back some fun memories. Then it was off on Ft. McKay hi-way.
Ft. McKay hi-way runs in front of Hi-Way Haven and down the North Umpqua River valley until it joins the South Umpqua River where it turns southeast to Roseburg. Interspersed through out this valley are blueberry farms and vineyards, and one very good bakery.
The Henry Estate Winery had a big festival going on with live music, local foods, and tons of other stuff. We took a pass on the all you can drink $15 ticket, settling for the standard wine tasting. Really good white wines and Pinot Noir. I bought the 2008 vintage Pinot Noir and got a surprise two for the price of one special! Peg got some kind of white wine and we were off having been told the valley was full of wine tasting places.
Our next stop was at the Ruestle Prayer Rock Vineyards. What a great place. If you are ever in the area put this on your must do list. The Ruestle’s started here in 2001 and have built a beautiful facility. Tasting is done in the “cave”, man made structure beautifully finished out. We knew we were in over our head when we were seated in our own private room, provided with food samples designed to bring out the best in the wines being presented, and our own tv showing a movie of the place. Four wines were tasted and the snacks made them shine. I have never had an experience like this before (probably because I drink Bud most of the time). Outside is a wonderful garden area with fountains and flowers with a nice view of the vineyards. One of the neat things in the garden was a low fence that an apple tree had been trained to grow on. I was a little taken aback when I first saw apples seemingly growing out of a wire fence, like they were grapes in a vineyard, incredible. A bottle of Pinot and a bottle of some kind of white stuff were purchased and a maybe to the wine club (free to join but you have to purchase wine 6 times a year).
Our last stop for Saturday was at Misty Oaks. The polar opposite of Ruestle. Quiet, traditional farm atmosphere with tasting done at the bar. Oh, but the wines are superb. I got to talk with the owner, Steve, who was headed out to tend to his 15 acres of grapes. The grapes are getting close to harvest about a month early due to the weather. It is abnormal temps that are driving the harvest and the concern as to when to harvest was evident on Steve’s face. Standing in his driveway we were looking at three independent grower’s vineyards. I wish them all the best with this harvest. All of Misty Oaks wines are top notch. For the wine connoisseurs out here, all three of these wineries make wine only from their own grapes and have websites where you can have any of their vintages shipped to you! Try it, you will like it.
On the other side of things, we are saddened by the loss of Gregg and Carol’s dog Peanut. Peanut was a good friend next to us at Reefpoint Marina in Racine, WI. for many years and will be missed. Our dog, Katie has lost good dog buddies Peanut and Tahoe this year. On the up side Ollie (the big “O”) has joined the family at Ann’s house with Gracie. We are all looking forward to meeting Big O.
Pictures of the Olympic NP, Rainier NP, and Mt. St. Helens are coming soon. Delayed due to a corrupt SD, a small user error on my part and an interior eye inflammation. I think all the pictures are recovered now and on flickr, and the eye is making a slow recovery as expected. I will be following up with the Ophthalmologist early next week.
As usual, enjoy the pictures. Please note that any of my pictures are available on canvas or metal if you are interested email me (large fee required – lol). Be safe out there.