WILLAMETTE VALLEY IMMERSION
Wine and food tour with Jason and Angela Kallsen
April 13-19, 2020
UPDATE JANUARY 2020: Two seats left!
This is going to be a memorable and amazing week in Portland and Willamette Valley, with the kinds of experiences tourists rarely get to have. Lunches and dinners with winemakers, personal tours of the vineyards, seminars in winemaking and vineyard management, a wood-fired pizza cooking class, and time on your own to explore and enjoy both Portland and the town of McMinnville, in the heart of wine country.
And of course, lots and lots (and lots) of wine tasting!
Trip outline, subject to tweaking and adjustment
Arrive in Portland on the flight of your choosing, and check into the Mark Spencer Hotel. This is one of our favorite hotels in Portland due to the walkability of the surrounding neighborhood, including Powell’s World of Books, the greatest bookstore in the world (honestly, if you enjoy bookstores, you’ll want to budget a few hours at this destination). Nearby are incredible restaurants including Clyde Common at the Ace Hotel.
Casual group gathering, optional, on this first night.
Our hotel for the first and last night of the trip, the Mark Spencer Hotel, located in the heart of our favorite part of downtown Portland.
Powell’s Bookstore, which takes up an entire city block with four levels of amazing selections, is within easy walking distance of the Mark Spencer Hotel.
Following breakfast at the hotel (included), a private charter coach picks up the group in the late morning, and we head into the Willamette Valley!
The first stop is Argyle Winery for a “Master of Sparkling” seminar with the most award-winning sparkling wine house in the world. Learn all about triage, dosage, disgorgement, riddling, and more as we taste through the best wines produced by this legendary house. A catered lunch at the winery will allow us to leisurely enjoy the early afternoon.
Then we’ll load into the coach and do a meandering tour of northern Willamette Valley with Jason highlighting key wineries and terroirs while you have a map in hand. This journey will help orient your understanding of the valley and get your head wrapped around the particular terroir of the sub-regions.
Then we will head into McMinnville for arrival at our hotel, the beautiful and boutique Atticus Hotel, one of the best hotels around. After checking in and freshening up, we’ll do a catered group dinner with special wines at 7 pm, with a discussion about the week and details on who we are meeting and where we are touring (lots of maps included!).
The Argyle Masters of Sparkling Wine Workshop is one of the top wine education experiences in the country, with immersive learning about all aspects of sparkling wine productions (while tasting incredible wines, of course).
Our accommodations for the week in McMinnville is the awesome boutique and independent Atticus Hotel. Elegant, beyond comfortable, perfectly located, and with top-level service.
During our time at the Atticus Hotel, breakfast will be on your own (some of us want an omelet, some just a bagel and coffee, some want to go for a walk in the morning). Many choices are available within easy walking distance.
Then it’s onto the coach for our visits for the day:
Domaine Drouhin Oregon – full tour and tasting of this Burgundy-connected property, learning about the similarities and differences between winemaking in Burgundy and Willamette Valley. If it’s a clear day, we can see three snow-capped mountains from this elevated property.
Knudsen Vineyards, including lunch amongst the vines! See the second oldest Pinot Noir vineyard in Willamette Valley, planted by Cal Knudsen and Dick Erath in 1972. Includes catered lunch, a vineyard tour, and tasting of the reserve level wines, plus an extensive education on the Dundee Hills and what makes these Pinot Noirs distinctive.
ROCO Winery – Founded by Rollin Soles, the original founder and winemaker at Argyle and one of the living legends of Willamette Valley. Learn about Rollin’s very specific winemaking techniques and what they bring to his distinctive and personality-filled wines.
Then we’ll return to McMinnville for a restful evening, with dinner on your own (we’ll have loads of suggestions for you).
We’ll enjoy the incredible views from Domaine Drouhin Oregon
An unforgettable tour, tasting, and lunch at Knudsen Vineyards will be a highlight for many!
Our tour and tasting at ROCO will include a behind-the-scenes look at their winemaking and production facilities.
After breakfast on your own, we’ll gather for a journey to the town of Carlton for a special tour and tasting at the Carlton Winemaker’s Studio, an incubator of sorts that collectively house some of the best boutique producers of the valley. We’ll see the co-operative winemaking facility and taste a range of wines from different producers, examining what winemaker influence does to the wine.
Then a fancy lunch at one of the top restaurants in Carlton, with a special guest winemaker and their wines!
A bit of time to wander and enjoy after lunch will allow you to explore this cute as can be town, full of boutiques, gift shops, tasting rooms, and cafes.
Upon reloading onto our bus, we’ll head back into McMinnville for a very special visit to the winery that started it all: The Eyrie Vineyards. Founded by David and Diana Lett in 1966, The Eyrie Vineyards was the first to plant Pinot Noir in the valley. We’ll taste a wide range of wines including the coveted Original Vines Pinot Noir, and tour the barrel rooms where David Lett made the first Pinot Noirs of Willamette Valley.
Walking or taking rideshares back to the hotel, we’ll have time to freshen up before a group dinner at local institution Bistro Maison, with a special guest winemaker.
David Lett, in the cellar with some of the first Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs, in the 1970s. We will enjoy a full tour of the facility, including a visit to this special room.
We’ll walk to a winemaker dinner at the legendary Bistro Maison, a restaurant cherished by the locals in the Willamette Valley
Friday is all about the Eola-Amity Hills, located just south of McMinnville.
After breakfast on your own, we have an early departure to drive to Björnson Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills. Here we’ll learn how the proprietors, Mark and Pattie Björnson, met at the Carlson School of Management in Minnesota and eventually established one of the great vineyards of the Willamette Valley. Following an extensive tasting, it’s time to get our boots dirty with a tour through the vineyards to discuss trellising, pruning, vineyard maintenance, sustainable farming, and what leads a vine to make amazing wine.
By this time hunger will kick in, and we have just the solution. We’ll head to Left Coast Cellars on the Amity Valley floor where we’ll have a wood-fired pizza making class while sipping on their fantastic wines. If the weather is good, we’ll eat our creations on the patio amongst the vines while contemplating the science of Pinot and pizza pairing.
After lunch, we return to the hills for a visit to the historic Bethel Heights estate, one of the pioneering wineries in this part of Willamette Valley. Special focus will be put on the range of Pinot Noirs from Bethel Heights and the impact of the Van Duzer corridor on the final product.
Returning to our hotel, you can decompress after a long day with dinner on your own. An informal gathering of our group might happen in the backroom of Nick’s Italian Cafe, a local institution for burgers, fried chicken, and a beer (after a long day of tasting wine, a pint of suds hits the spot).
Exclusive tour and tasting at the Björnson Vineyard, with a special emphasis on vineyard management, pruning, sustainable farming, and more.
What could be better than a winery visit combined with a wood-fired pizza making seminar?
No visit to Willamette is complete without a pilgrimage to Bethel Heights.
Breakfast on your own, pack up, we’re hitting the road! The bus will pick us up in the morning and take us to one last stop in Willamette Valley: the legendary Adelshiem Winery. David Adelsheim literally wrote the laws of the land when it comes to Oregon wines, and this property, along with our previous visits to Eyrie, Domaine Drouhin, Knudsen, and Bethel Heights, makes for a complete experience into the history of Willamette Valley.
After our tour and tasting at Adelsheim, our bus will bring us back to Portland. But we’re not done yet! Portland has experienced a boom of urban wineries, and one of the best is run by our friend Anne Husbach at Heiloterra. Here we will taste Anne’s amazing wines and ciders and enjoy lunch at her new facility.
After lunch, we return to the Mark Spencer Hotel, and if you wish you’ll have enough time to freshen up and again explore Powell’s World of Books (to pick up that book you saw earlier in the week and have been thinking about ever since) ahead of a final group dinner at Jake’s Famous Crawfish, considered by many one of the top seafood restaurants in the world.
Enjoy a private tour and tasting at the legendary Adelsheim winery.
Anne Husbach, founder of Helioterra Winery.
Our final group dinner to cap off the week will be at the legendary Jake’s Famous Crawfish, right next door to our hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel (included), then depart for PDX airport and flights home.
Note: Included in your tour is a twelve-bottle wine shipping box to help bring home your treasures. This is a great way to check-in wine purchases to bring home.
Double occupancy: $3985 per person
Single occupancy: $4740 per person
$500 deposit due with registration, balance due by February 1st.Registration for the Willamette Valley Immersion Tour, April 2020
Included in the tour package
Eleven winery visits and tastings
All transportation, via private coach, to activities in the itinerary
Two nights at the Mark Spencer Hotel in Portland
Four nights at the boutique Atticus Hotel in Willamette Valley
Five fantastic lunches (four at wineries, plus one with a winemaker)
Three unforgettable dinners (including one with a guest winemaker)
Twelve bottle shipping box for bringing wine home
Deep wine education, maps, tour packets
A lifetime of memories
Non-inclusions, but can be easily arranged
Pre and post-trip additions
For this trip, we are working with the experts at Travel Leaders, which is handling all organization, deposits, and payments.
We hope you can join us for our first ever Willamette Valley Immersion Tour!