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Eugene Weekly : Coverstory : 5.21.2009

Uncorked 2009

Wine, Food, Sun Pony up for pinot

A Memorable Memorial Day Lane County destinations

Taking Flight Jumping headfirst into the world of wine

Tiny Bubbles Pretty Pages, Prettier Drinks

Passion for Pinot Homegrown Voyages

Too Rich for Our Blood? Our wine man revels in recession-proof pricing

 

A Memorable Memorial Day

Lane County destinations

by Jessica Hirst

Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching, and perhaps you’ve been envisioning using the extra time to kick back in a verdant, rustic setting sipping a chardonnay and nibbling on herb-coated sheep’s cheese. Problem is, you can’t quite justify a trip to Provence or the Napa Valley. 

In case you’re thinking of settling for staying in and renting Sideways, take heart. Lane County has more than 14 wineries within about 20 minutes of Eugene, and most host special tastings and festivities during Memorial Day weekend in honor of the beginning of Oregon’s wine tasting season. 

The festivities vary from winery to winery and include complimentary wine tastings and hors d’oeuvres, wine sales, art, games and enough live music to let you kick up your heels if you’re in the mood. 

Even better, rural Lane County offers a resplendent setting for wine tasting, whether you head south to the Lorane Valley, north to the Cheshire area or somewhere in between. From the old farmhouses nestled into the green hills to the sweet, earthy smell in the air, you’ll forget you’re just a few minutes from home. 

Here are some of the events going on at a sampling of local wineries. For hours, directions and more information, visit www.wineriesoflanecounty.com and, of course, remember to take along a designated driver!

Chateau Lorane

Located on Lake Louise, Chateau Lorane hosts its Fine Art & Wine Festival every year on Memorial Day weekend. This year, the festival will include art and book signings by local artists and authors, live music, food and door prizes. 

LaVelle

LaVelle’s Great American Picnic includes live music; grilled hamburgers, Polish sausages, hot dogs and veggie burgers; and lawn games such as bocce ball, horseshoes and badminton. 

Sweet Cheeks

The outdoor terrace at Sweet Cheeks is a fine spot for soaking up the sun and the views. For the holiday weekend, Sweet Cheeks is hosting an open house that includes live music and an art festival. 

RainSong

Memorial Day weekend is one of the only times of the year when this small, family-run winery opens its doors to the public. If you’re looking for a friendly, intimate tasting experience, now is the time to seize the moment. RainSong is offering free tastings for Memorial Day.