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Buc in Exile

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  1. Been meaning to get to this. I echo everything @Quint says here but want to add my first hand Walla Walla fall experiences (albeit in normal times). I get my syrah grapes from over the border in Milton-Freewater. Since it's an overnight trip anyway I try to get to the vineyard to drop off my transport bins in the early afternoon and then do some "competitor analysis" for the rest of the day. I head back to the Willamette Valley the next morning after they pick my block. I don't think you'll have too many problems with lodging availability unless you're looking at a specific B&B or the Marcus Whitman, but it surely can't hurt to make reservations early if possible. My experience is also that the tasting rooms aren't ridiculously crowded during non-COVID falls and I doubt they will be this year either. Unlike CA, OR does allow walk-ins providing distance requirements are met (I do not know about WA). However, many places are making appointments mandatory so if you have specific spots in mind, call ahead and find out their protocol. Also, we've seen some places reluctant to reopen to visitors at all - some because they have trouble accommodating the distance requirements and some because the owners may be high risk themselves. One of our favorite places to refer people hasn't reopened because the owners are in their late 70s with underlying health conditions, so just keep that in mind. Tangental issue is restaurants. The Portland area restaurant scene is getting decimated and many higher end places have simply folded. It hasn't been quite as bad out my way but again, if you have spots in mind, make reservations early because at best, seating capacity will be limited in the nicer places. I see that Yakima is a hot spot right now - pure speculation on my part but we've seen hot spots here among agricultural worker communities not because of the inherent nature of the work but because they live in very close communities. It wouldn't surprise me if that was happening there. I really hope they get a handle on it soon. Anyway, you should be able to have a great trip with some advance planning, flexibility, and good humor. And if you have specific questions you can always PM me. Cheers!
  2. Nice! As you're coming down the mountain on 219 just turn left on Bell Road before you get to Newberg and my place is a mile down the road. PM me next time you're planning to be in the area - I do all my tastings by appointment so you won't be fighting crowds. Mo Ayoub is quite a character. Makes great wine and does his tastings in his kitchen - definitely my kind of vibe.
  3. Yep - my Chehalem Mountain tasting room looks south so Hood views aren't an option but Parrett Mountain, Dundee Hills, and the Coastal Range are right in your face, and even South Sister and the Eola/Amity Hills are visible on a clear day. Can't beat the Willamette Valley for the sheer volume of rustic destination wine spots.
  4. I'd throw a flag on this even if I weren't in the business. Most Washington grapes come from the east side of the Cascades where it's too hot for pinot but can ripen the big reds. Most Oregon grapes come from the west side and the opposite is true (southern Oregon and the Columbia Gorge are improving on big reds but not up to Washington quality just yet). I just don't think we can really compare the wines against each other and in fact they compliment each other very well - I'd prefer to say both of us are better than California at doing what we do well. 😉
  5. Phil gets an attaboy from me. If you've done your job correctly in the cellar, filtering should only be necessary on wines with residual sugar and that ain't gonna happen on a well made Cab. One of these years I'm going to get the stones to leave my whites and Rose unfiltered as well. Oh yeah, you'll get a crystal clear wine - and kill about half of the flavor in the filtering process.
  6. This is my place: https://bellsupwinery.com/ I'm by appointment because I'm such a tiny producer but I live on site so I'm real flexible on when I can take appointments - shoot me a PM or email and let me know when you want to stop by and we'll make it work!
  7. You imagine correctly. There are a lot of farming livelihoods on the line in the Gorge. We've had some ash falling in the Willamette Valley and smoky skies - biggest adjustment I've had to make is moving all tastings inside the barrel room due to air quality but obviously that's nothing compared to what they're facing over there. Latest forecast I've seen is that it's supposed to start improving later today through tomorrow but we'll see.
  8. Well, I'm a little 400 case winery so I don't use distributors but I do ship when the weather allows. Web site is www.bellsupwinery.com for a list of what I currently have in stock and you can drop me an email under the "Contact" tab or a PM if you're interested in ordering. Those 2014 reds will be released in spring once bottle shock has subsided a bit.
  9. If you like the style of the 2012 pinots, you'll love the 2015s. I'm scheduled to bottle my 2014 reds on Friday if my label printer can get their act together. Probably my favorite Oregon pinot noir vintage to date - has all the richness of a warm weather year with the textured layers of a cool weather year. No excuses for not making great pinot from that harvest. Strongly advise letting them sit for awhile because just about every producer will be releasing them way too early (myself included I'm afraid) - it will be well worth the wait.
  10. Still filling, organizing, etc. But here's the current state of things http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5563/14430234754_4d6f10c172_b.jpg http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5534/14430236664_8e96cf660f_b.jpg http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3926/14431363055_6c3d1c3a3c_b.jpg Wow - most impressive! Forgive a construction newbie's question - how are seams between the glass panes treated? I can't make it out from the pix.
  11. Awesomeness. Just got an email that we are picking our allocation on Feb 3 for the spring release. have you been to their new facility at The Barlow yet? No. I have a ten month old son at home. That and the run up of nine months of my wife not drinking because she was pregnant put a serious damper on my wine trips. Our first wine trip out will be the World of Pinot Noir next month. WOPN looks like a blast. seems like all the big boys/girls of Pinot Noir will be there. if you're looking to find some under-the-radar producers, be sure to taste Cargarsacchi Wines (Peter is kick in the ###) and Romillily Wines. both are small-production, high quality wineries. i'd also stop at the Red Car table, even though Parker #### all over them in the latest WA issue. their Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is top-notch. and you should have a great time at the KB pick-up event. their new spot is one of the more impressive production facilities i've ever seen. Any last minute suggestions anyone recommends for wineries to visit that aren't well known? http://www.worldofpinotnoir.com/participants.php Crap - sorry I missed this back when you posted it as I could have given you some good leads on the Oregon side. The good news on our project is that we finally got our building permits approved for the tasting room renovation and we have our first 2 pinot blocks planted. We MIGHT be able to begin the renovation next month. The bad news is that our federal winery app has been in the queue for 3 months and hasn't even been picked up yet. Still hoping to open next year but at this rate who the hell knows.
  12. Pulling the trigger on a 2006 Adelsheim Temperance Hill pinot for the SB. Carried it 5+ years - time to reap the rewards.