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Having fun in Portland – Oregon wineries and attractions

Having fun in Portland – Oregon wineries and attractions – Brief Article

Chet Klingensmith

Although Portland is known for having the “nation’s largest variety of handcrafted micro-brews,” there’s plenty to do for those with a passion for wine. According to the Oregon Wine Advisory Board, Oregon houses over 195 wineries producing some well-balanced wines that rival those from anywhere else in the country. And the region is growing.

But before venturing out and discovering the region’s wine offerings, you need a place to stay. One option for wine lovers is the centrally located Hotel Vintage Plaza, which offers evening tastings of Oregon’s wines in a rich vineyard ambiance. The booming Willamette Valley–“the heart of the wine country”–is just an hour away. Take the Wheatland ferry across the Willamette River to enter the wine country in style.

Once there, you can choose from dozens of tasting rooms that offer world-class Pinot noir, from Sokol Blosser Winery to Domaine Drouhin, a winery started by one of the most respected negociants in Burgundy. For some variety, try a Chenin blanc, Pinot blanc or Gewurz-traminer from another old guard, Bethel Heights Vineyard. But don’t end your winery tour without visiting the ultra high-tech winery, Archery Summit. Built deep into a hillside, the winery relies on gravity alone to move the wine. This Burgundian method of winemaking is reflected in the wine’s delicate style.

If you are looking for something more in the way of physical activity, try any one of the numerous hikes along the Columbia River Gorge, a mere 30 minutes from downtown. Or go for a tandem bike ride with your favorite companion on the 70 miles of trails around the city.

Speaking of companions, visit the North Park Blocks to view the Portland Dog Bowl, a fountain designed by the famous Weimaraner dog photographer, William Wegman. According to Portland Parks & Recreation, “The cast-bronze bowl, with water burbling up from an underground source, is a doggy version of the Benson Bubbler fountains placed around town in 1912 by philanthropist Simon Benson to dissuade Portlanders from drinking beer.”

Other great activities to keep you busy before the nightlife erupts include the Portland Art museum, the Portland Zoo, the Portland Saturday market, which showcases fresh, locally grown produce, the Portland Classical Chinese Garden and the International Rose Test Garden, which features over 560 varieties of roses and a view of the spectacular snowcapped peaks of Mt. Hood.

In Portland, getting around is easy–the MAX light-rail system is composed of a 38-mile network of rails and is an award-winning way to navigate the city. Trains run east and west from downtown Portland and the Oregon Convention Center all the way to the Portland International Airport.

You’re bound to be hungry after a day of wine tasting and sightseeing. The produce, fresh seafood, local wines and talented chefs guarantee a good night out. Start the evening at Urban Wineworks, a tasting bar that lets you sample many Oregon wines. Enjoy a vertical tasting of the Bishop Creek Cellars Barrel Select Pinot noir and then move to the 1999 Elk Cove Vineyard or the 1999 Patton Valley Pinot noir.

Appease your appetite at the Portland City Grill located on the 30th floor of the Unico U.S. Bank Tower–the view is incredible–or try the local favorite, Jake’s Famous Crawfish, where oysters, crawfish and fish & chips are the specialties.

You can also hop on the free Portland Streetcar and head down to the Pearl District. Once an industrial area, Pearl District is now home to a smorgasbord of restaurants, cafes, spas, brewpubs, jazz clubs and Powell’s City of Books, the largest independent bookstore in the United States.

Another option is restaurant row in the city’s Northwest/Nob Hill area. There’s something for everyone on 21st Avenue, from American to Moroccan. Try them all, as Portland has no sales tax on food.

No matter what culinary adventure you choose, top off the evening with one of the area’s coveted dessert wines like the Willamette Valley Vineyards late-harvest Gewurztraminer.

The secret is out–Portland is no longer overshadowed by Seattle as the only desirable big city in the Northwest to live in. It has been growing rapidly over the past few years and the wine and food scenes have kept up with the pace.

Resources:

Oregon Wine Advisory Board: Phone (503) 228-8336, e-mail wineinfo@oregonwine.org or visit the Web site oregonwine.org.

Portland Oregon’s Visitors Association: Phone (800) 962-3700, e-mail info@pova.com or visit pova.com.

Portland Parks & Recreation: Phone (503) 823-2223 or visit parks.ci.portland.or.us.

Urban Wineworks: Phone (503) 226-9797, e-mail info@urbanwineworks.com or visit urbanwineworks.com.

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