Hi there, this episode is inspired by Spring. In Oregon it rains in Spring but at least you have the beautiful flowers. And Spring signifies new beginnings for two of my favorite industries: Gardening and wine. Garden Centers introduce all the new annual blooms that bring color to our garden beds, pots, and porches, and wineries introduce new flights that include our favorite sipper, Rose.
It dawned on me as I was visiting one of my favorite nurseries, Blooming Junction in Cornelius, OR, that I passed by some pretty great Willamette Valley wineries on the way… On my way home, I was tempted to throw in a spontaneous tasting… But realized that’s not the way we do things anymore. Reservations required. That’s when I knew I must share my revelation with others.
If you live in the city you’re in for a country drive either way, visiting the best nurseries or wineries. Why not make a day of it and do both. I’ve created a couple itineraries that will likely fill your trunk with delectables for your glass and garden.
Is a scoot down hwy 26. Take exit 59 toward Jackson School Rd. You’ll follow a few turns and actually pass the nursery Blooming Junction, but there’s a good reason for this. My recommendation is to visit Montinore Estate for your wine tasting first then work your way back. We don’t want plants wilting in the car if it’s a warm day. Montinore Estate is one of the largest producers of certified organic wines including some fascinating Italian varietals. This place is beautiful. They’ve got a quaint patio next to an iconic instagramable wall of ivy. When you leave this place you’ll be inspired by its landscaping and take note for your purchases at Blooming Junction on your way out of town.
Hwy 99 to Roy Rogers Rd. This one is great. There are so many ways to get to hwy 99, Tigard, Tualatin, Lake Oswego, Beaverton. Heck 10 minutes down I-5 and you on 99. The winery I’m recommending for this itinerary is Alloro Vineyard. It’s a glorious Italian style estate with arbavidas lining the vineyard. The winery makes you feel like you’ve escaped to another country. The wine is just as spectacular as the views. After your relaxing flight on the veranda, Al’s Garden Center is just a stone’s throw away (five minutes down the road). They have the widest selection of plants, a wonderful gift shop with a pretty amazing clothing section, seasonal decor, as well as patio sets and pots. They have it all.
In the mood for a slightly longer drive. Consider stopping at Durant for a flight, followed by a stroll through their nursery, delightful gift shop, Lavender fields. They even have a hiking trail that weaves through the olive groves. Then about 15 minutes down the road is Kraemer’s Garden Inc in McMinnville. They have a wonderful assortment of unique and exotic plants. And a large selection of beautifully glazed ceramic pots.
If gardening isn’t your thing, or you are looking for some landscape inspiration, I’ve included a list of wineries in the notes that have some amazing landscapes. From Japanese koi ponds, rock gardens, flowers, and more. These landscapes add a whole lot of ambiance to your wine tasting experience.
BONUS Itinerary (not on podcast):
Red Berry Barn is just off Hwy 99 past Sherwood. The barn features decor, local market items and homemade items like pies and the worlds best donuts. Then step outside into a beautiful green house full of plants and their specialty, hanging baskets. Then just down Chapman Rd you can enjoy a flight at Blakeslee Vineyard (reservations required). They have a lovely poolside tasting area with stunning landscapes and views.
Great winery gardens to enjoy: