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Juicin’ for the Planet Memorial Day tastings benefit Ecotrust
Juicin’ for the Planet
Memorial Day tastings benefit Ecotrust
by Suzi Steffen
What would we do Memorial Day weekend if it weren’t for the hundreds of wineries near Eugene? You can stay local with Lane County wineries (see the list at www.wineriesoflanecounty.com) or even stay in town with places like Territorial and LaVelle. But if you want to venture farther afield, many of the Willamette Valley’s wineries take time over Memorial Day weekend to give back to the planet that grows the grapes and promote farm-to-school ventures in Oregon.
Using the list at www.willamettewines.com/memorialday.shtml to plan (there’s a beautifully convenient and varied list of wine-tasting routes on the site, or directly at http://wkly.ws/jz), you can hit up wineries that give some of their proceeds to Ecotrust’s Farm to School program (and you can read more about that program here: http://wkly.ws/k0).
Almost all wineries in the valley are open 11 am-5 pm during the weekend, with regular hours and tasting fees on Monday. Here are a few of our favorites up-valley, in a roughly N-S order from the Eug, out of the list of wineries donating to Ecotrust:
Van Duzer Vineyards We once tasted a corked Van Duzer and were relieved to move on to the next bottle, which was simply excellent. (Hint: You can’t always judge a winery by one experience!) This winery in Dallas practices sustainable farming and offers “a bounty of local artisan foods” along with new wine releases at its $10 tasting. 11975 Smithfield Road, Dallas. 503-623-6420.
Bethel Heights Vineyard, which was a pioneer of the salmon-safe SAVE program for wineries, near Salem. Music, a $10 tasting fee for couscous, salad and of course some of that safe salmon. 6060 Bethel Heights Road NW, Salem. 503-581-2262.
Cana’s Feast Winery, in a lovely building near Carlton (which has become an epicenter for wine production and consumption, not to mention cute restaurants and antique shops). $15 fee includes tasting and “hearty antipasti tables.” Open until 4 pm Sat and Sun; tasting room open Monday. 750 West Lincoln Street, Carlton. 503-852-0002.
Laurel Ridge Winery, also right in Yamhill County, where at every turn in every gravel road you’ll find 12 more signs for wineries. $10 for six new releases, with “light kibbles and bits” to accompany the wine. 13301 NE Kuehne Road, Carlton. 503-852-7050.
Panther Creek Cellars, about which all we can say is mmmmmmm. (We’d put in more mmmmmms, but you might think we’re exaggerating about the tastiness of the wines we’ve had from there. We’re not.) They’ll be pouring some newly released 2007 pinots, among other wines. $10 tasting fee includes appetizers on Sat & Sun. 455 NE Irvine, McMinnville. 503-472-8080.
Don’t forget a designated driver so your salmon-safe travels are also as human-safe as they can be! Enjoy the wine, the weekend and helping school kids get food directly from local farms. Now that is a Eugene tradition.