Post By: Lydel Matthews
Photo By: Brigadoon Wine Company

July has certainly been a hot one this year! With heat advisories blanketing the valley from the coastal mountains to the Cascade foothills, most vineyards are expecting an early harvest. For the thirsty oenophiles of South Willamette Valley, however, this month calls for a roundup of Refreshing Summer Whites.

It is no coincidence that Oregonians take their wine so seriously. Providing an ideal balance of temperature, humidity, and soil, the Willamette Valley is home to numerous white varietals. Several of the more coveted ones are Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Muscat, and Gewürztraminer.

Whether you find yourself road trippin’ to the coast with a carload of old friends or you’ve been tasked to prepare a weekend survival kit for the visiting in-laws, the pioneering vintners of Oregon wine country have got you covered.

Along the Northern route of South Willamette Valley sits Brigadoon Wine Company, a family operated 66-acre farm. Brigadoon’s 2014 Pinot Blanc presents flavors ranging from melon to tropical fruits with a zippy citrus note and bright acidity. We hear it pairs delectably with seared scallops on the BBQ! And if you prefer to take your time winding down the Territorial Highway after work, don’t fret – because Brigadoon is staying open late on Saturdays so guests can enjoy the majestic sunsets from the hillside picnic area.

Just 8-miles down the road is Pfeiffer Vineyards, the first solar-powered winery in South Willamette Valley and the perfect location for an afternoon outing. Here you can relax by the Water Garden with a chilled thirst-quenching bottle of Grey Cat, a delightful blend of Muscat and Pinot Gris. Bring a friend, or come by yourself and pick up a copy of “Chiseled – A Memoir of Identity, Duplicity, and Divine Wine”, authored by Mrs. Danuta Pfeiffer herself.

Along the Southern route in Cottage Grove, blueberries and marion berries are ripe for pickin’ at Saginaw Vineyard! Bring your own containers to fill with berries that you hand-select right off the bush. These twenty year old plants produce some of the most flavorful berries around and make a great treat to enjoy in the rustic, 100-year old farmstead barn tasting room. Don’t worry if you manage to break a sweat or get rosy cheeks from too much berry picking because Saginaw has cold bottles of 2013 Chardonnay and 2014 Riesling to reward you for a job well done.

If you’re looking for an even more intimate vineyard experience, be sure to check out Stanton Vineyards. With a special emphasis on clonal diversity and hands-on TLC, Stanton Vineyard occupies a small scale, uber boutique 5-acre plot in the Southernmost tip of the Willamette Valley. Currently, the vineyard produces approximately 250 cases a year and although there is no tasting room facility, the owner Charlie Stanton is happy to provide a guided tour through the vineyard and share the fruits of their labor with groups of 6-8 people. Give Charlie a call at (541) 554-1852 to schedule a viewing appointment today.

At this time of year the vines are quickly filling in as the roots dig deeper into the Willakenzie and Jory soils — and even though the grape clusters are still small, we swear you can almost see the leaves growing overnight! So grab a blanket, find a cool and shady spot, and uncork your bottles of refreshing summer whites. Cheers to summer in Oregon!