May 22, 2015

Posted by in Articles, Events, Featured | Comments Off on Memorial Weekend at the Wineries: The Official Kick-Off to Summer

Memorial Weekend at the Wineries: The Official Kick-Off to Summer

Local wineries will be swinging their doors open for one of the South Willamette Valley’s most celebrated three day weekends: Memorial Day Weekend.  Winery Open Houses will be happening throughout the valley, it’s the official kick-off to the summer season.  Featuring special releases, barrel tastings, library wines, live music, artisan treats and an endless flow of the areas hand crafted wine, from Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris to Brut Rosé and Chardonnay, each winery entices us to head their way for a number of reasons.

mem wren with fog beautiful

A foggy Wren | photo: Dai Crisp

With three (sometimes four) days of events going on at the wineries and tasting rooms, this is a weekend packed with countless wine-centric events.  It’s truly the ultimate way to kick-off a summer-long celebration of Oregon wine.  But, know this: before I blow off the dust that’s collected on my flip flops and sun-glasses, and unpack the boxes that have housed my favorite tank tops and shorts for the last 8 months, I’ll take a moment to remember those who have fallen in battle fulfilling their obligation to the great country in which I live.

Pruning completed at Wren | photo: Dai Crisp

Pruning completed at Wren | photo: Dai Crisp

The freedoms that I enjoy everyday are protected and ensured by men and women who have put their lives on the line to protect my country and what it stands for.  After a moment of silence and heartfelt gratitude so deserving of our military (and lighting a special lumineer at Domaine Meriwether for my late father and hero, Colonel Maurice H. Leiser, USMA Class of ’54), I’ll be ready to swirl, sip, and savor all that our stellar local wineries have to offer, and I will absolutely raise a glass to our American heroes.

The inviting "Little Cabin" tasting room at Wren

The inviting “Little Cabin” tasting room at Wren | photo: Dai Crisp

Aside from visiting Domaine Meriwether, where am I heading this Memorial weekend?  I’ll be heading up to the Philomath area, to “the best little tasting room in Oregon,” located on Wren Vineyard and farmed since the mid ’80s by winemaker and co-owner of Lumos Wine Company, Dai Crisp.  I’ve been a fan of the talented Dai, knowing that he is the General Manager of my favorite vineyard site in the state: Temperance Hill.  Not only does Dai use fruit from Temperance Hill for many of the incredible Lumos wines, but much of the fruit is sourced to other wineries throughout the state, and it never fails, no matter who makes a Pinot Noir from Temperance Hill, I’m head over heels for it.

mem lumos julia

The 2014 Lumos “Julia” produced from fruit grown on my favorite Oregon vineyard” Temperance Hill | photo: Dai Crisp

The original Lumos tasting room is located on the Crisp family farm in Wren, OR – just 16 miles west of Corvallis and forty miles east of the coast.  The 80-acre farm is what is left of the H bar H Dude Ranch which flourished in the 1940’s.  The Ranch was originally a one square mile section and provided lodging in the main farm house (burned down in 1976) and in three small guest cabins.  There was a restaurant and bar in the large barn where performers regularly entertained and where we now hold our larger tasting events (The Big ol’ Barn).  Two of the cabins are left standing above the vineyard and Dai and PK spent the better part of a year resurrecting one of them to be a more intimate and cozy tasting room (Little Cabin).”

The other tasting room at Wren is The Big ol Barn | photo: Dai Crisp

The other tasting room at Wren is The Big ol Barn | photo: Dai Crisp

The Big ol’ Barn and Little Cabin at Wren Vineyard are ONLY open: Memorial Day Weekend – Saturday, Sunday and Monday, May 23 -25, 12-5 pm and Saturday, August 1 (in the Little Cabin) 12-5 pm.

Wren at sunrise | photo: Dai Crisp

Wren at sunrise | photo: Dai Crisp

All of the photos in this piece were taken (and graciously shared) by Dai Crisp.

Memorial Weekend Events at the Wineries:

Domaine Merwiether – May 22-25, Memorial Day Weekend Festival.  Friday night at 6 pm, decorate a Memorial lumineer during Sparkling Nights and a Memorial Lumineer tribute walk through the vineyard will begin at dusk.  Live music and food available from local food trucks all weekend, gates open at 11 am daily.

Capitello Wines – May 22-23, 12-8 pm, May 24 12-5 pm (closed Monday).  Summer in the City with exciting new wine releases, special reserve flights, case deals on the ’13 Sauvignon Blanc and for the first time ever discounted select library wines.

LaVelle Vineyards (Elmira) – May 22, 6-9 pm, Friday Night Flights are back!  May 23-25 Fundrasier for Branches of Valor all three days, live music, food vendors and military vehicles on display.  Food available for purchase from local food truck.

Oregon Wine Lab – May 22 12-10 pm, May 23 12-8 pm, May 23 12-6pm.  Enjoy tastings from local winemakers, live music and local food carts on the outside patio or inside the tasting lounge.

J. Scott Cellars – May 22-24, 12-9 pm (Sunday 1-5 pm) Live music, new releases, light bites and guest wineries (and a cidery) at the Westside Warehouse District.  Food trucks on location.

Noble Estate Vineyard & Winery – May 22-25 (at both the Westside Warehouse District and the vineyard) award winning wines, live music, artisan cheese plates, stunning vineyard views, and more.

Silvan Ridge – May 22-25, 12-5 pm, enjoy live music 1:30-4:30 pm each day, free wine tasting, sale prices on wines and free admission.

Chateau Lorane – May 23-25, 12-5 pm. On the shore of beautiful Lake Louise, sample over 15 different wines for a $5 tasting fee.  Picnic supplies will be available for purchase, or bring your own and enjoy the beautiful lakeside setting.

Sweet Cheeks Winery – May 22-25, 12-9 pm.  Daily wine specials, Oregon Wood Fired Pizza will have their delicious pizzas for sale and the patio will boast various vendors including Sassy Cupcakes, Salinity Salts, Artist Shawna Trumbly and more!  Enjoy live music each day from 2-4.

Iris Vineyards  – May 23-25, 12-6 pm.  Enjoy live music (1:30-4:30) and Oregon Wine Month promos all weekend long including special pricing on three- bottle packs only available in the tasting room.

Brigadoon Wine Co. – May 23-25, 12-5 pm.  Experience the full line of estate crafted wines and some tasty tapas while meeting the family behind the wines.

Benton-Lane Winery – May 23-25, 12-5 pm.  Live music on the Benton-Lane patio with SambaFest! and more.  Good eats, incredible wines, dance-worthy tunes, and on Monday, enjoy fresh homemade gourmet pizzas from their wood fired oven.  Call 541-847-5792 for fees & to reserve your spot.

Pfeiffer Winery – May 23-24.  Great food, wine, new releases & specials, live music and much more.

Sarver Winery – May 22-24, 12-9 pm.  Live music all weekend long and wood fired pizzas from PizzAldos mobile wood fired pizza.  Open 7 days a week starting Memorial Day.

RainSong Vineyard – May 23-25, 10 am-4 pm. Wolf Shadow Artisan Sale.  Juried art, Rainson wines, craft beer, BBQ and music.

Tyee Estate Wine Cellars – May 22-25, 12-5 pm.  Located on the 139 year old Buchanan Family Century Farm, hiking, picnicking, specials and discounts; including, a new release Tyee Estate Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay.  Family friendly live music, gyros and Dim Sum on Monday, May 25.  Portland Monthly named Tyee as having the #1 Best Wine in Oregon.  Celebrating 30 years as a winery & 40 plus years growing Oregon Pinot Noir in Tyee’s Estate Vineyard.  Taste Tyee Estate Wines and enjoy Tyee’s Nature Trails. Contact winery for fees.

Bennet Vineyards and Wine Co. – May 23-25, 12-6 pm.  Live music, food available for purchase and special anniversary treats; as well as, a one year anniversary celebration on Sunday from 3-6 pm.

Harris Bridge Vineyard – May 23-25, 12-5 pm. Specializing in Vermouth, Aperitifs, Dessert Wines and Brandy.  Tastings all weekend; along with, several bands, local foods (Denison farms strawberries and Burnheimer meats), picnicking and lawn games.

If you’re in the area and have a Memorial Weekend event that I missed, please email me at:


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