A SATURDAY IN WINE COUNTRY


Autumn Arrives in Orenco Station

Well, it is here, and with it, rain. Yes the leaves on the trees are officially transforming from their vibrant verdant to crimson, copper, and gold.  This photo was shot this morning before the rain actually started. Well, let me restate that, between showers. I’m not sure I am as happy as I thought I would be, as I virtually missed summer. Because summer decided to take a few alternate courses around the country, smashing into the other states with a mighty large bang. Glad to live in Oregon, on so many levels. Let the rain begin.

Under the Shadow of Charcoal

Yesterday, Lloyd and I drove out to lovely wine country. 15 minutes or so from our house, Maybe a few minutes longer, but not by much. The poor grapes. They are not weeks from being ready to harvest – three weeks behind the regular schedule, according to the wine makers. So sad. And now rain, which is forecast for the entire week. While on this particular day, we were lucky rain is on its way. When Lloyd and I go wine tasting we generally stop by our favorite places. While we did visit one of our favorites, we tried out a new one. This is our Saturday Photo Adventure.

Our first stop was Patton Valley located just outside of the small community of Gaston, Oregon. The sky was screaming of rain but the cries were ignored.

Top row casks

Inside, the small tasting room offered little room to shoot photos unless you were to sneak to the back and snap some photos of the barrel. Each 60 gallon barrel holds approximately 25 cases of some of the finest Pinot Noir in the Valley.

Patton Valley  Barrel Room

Patton Vally proudly offers a nice Chardonnay, light Rose, and five types of Pinot Noir. The lower end – called the declassified, and by no means does lower end and lower price equate to the fantastic quality of the wine – Bargain! This is a fabulous Pinot, drinkable now at a fantastic price – almost a steal. Their flagship wine – the Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is a wonder Pinot with notes of black cherry and leather (which is not a bad thing for wine). The two middle range Pinots include the – the 10-acre block and the the West Block.

I love them both. But, no kidding one day I swear I love the 10-acre, the next I tell you it is the West Block. Both are fabulous and at a very reasonable price for such a high quality pinot. These wines are drinking nicely now, but could be laid down for a couple of years and taste even better.

 

 

Their premier wine is the Lorna Marie. And let me say this wine is outstanding, and a bargain for a mediocre price. This wine could easily lay down for five or so years and still be a knock out. That is if you can wait that long. I will have to say that we have been club members for well 5 years now, and we never manage to have any around to drink – why? Because we drink them nearly as quickly as they arrive at our doorstep, or we drive the 15 miles to Dayton to pick them up.

Loney culster of grapes which are not quite ready for harvest.
Hopefully, the foretasted rain won’t cause to much of a headache for the winemakers and wineries. It is very sad to see people work so hard all season to have crappy weather kill your livelihood and those who love to partake in that livelihood. Grapes Peaking throug the Vines

So if that doesn’t make you want to head out to Patton Valley, I don’t know what will.

Outside the tasting room one can experience an up close and personal look at the vines as they are literally at the edge of the parking lot. Here you can get a personal look at their wonderful purple balls of gold. Slightly unripe, but near perfect purple bunches.

Patton Valley takes a lot of pride in their craft and it shows as their wines compete well with some of the other higher priced wines from some of the other wineries in the area. Because they are small, their wines tend to sell out quickly. So, if you are ever in the area, stop by and be prepared for a pleasant surprise. And if you chill easily, I suggest a sweater as the tasting room is a bit on the chilly side. Especially in winter when it is darn right cold.

After too many glass pours

 

 

 

This is what happens if you have too many glass pours.

 

 

 

I suggest you bring a picnic lunch, purchase a bottle of wine and sit and enjoy the view.

The quaint picnic area just outside the tasting room is perfect for two or a small group.

Remember to say hi to Jenn and or Gretchen in the tasting room for us and tell them we said hi! Or Monte one of the owners if he’s around. But, most of all have a wonderful time enjoying some of the best Pinot Noir in the Valley. And don’t forget to enjoy the view.

 

 

 

 

 

After leaving Patton Valley, Lloyd and I decided to try a winery we had never been before. I am always up for an adventure so off we drove – we ended up at WillaKenzie. I beleive this is one of the oldest wineries in the Willamette Valley, and possibly in all of Oregon. I shook my head – why had I never come here, it is so close, just down the road from Patton Valley, Elk Cove, and a few others.

So what a view?

And yet another fabulous view! WillaKenzie Vineyards

Inside WillaKenzie was as amazing as the view outside. I can’t believe that I only took a few shots inside – this lovely Orchid and the one below it – a beautiful rust colored mum were two of many of the lovely flowers inside.

 

 

 

Orchid

 

Yes, I know I mentioned this already, I can’t get over the fact that I didn’t take more photos inside the winery as the tasting room was gorgeous. These two flower arrangements are the results of my inside tasting experience. I don’t know what I was thinking, then I remembered this:

The lovely mural which set beautifully on the wall of the tasting room with large 25 foot + vaulted ceilings. Stunning painting of the property and all of the vineyards.

I was also pleased with the staff who worked so hard in the tasting room with a full room of customers. The wines were fabulous from the  Pinot Gris to Pinot Noir, along with a wonderful little spread of cheeses, dried fruit, and gluten free crackers.  Yay for gluten free! We will definitely return here, where we will grab a seat outside with a bottle of WillaKenzie wines and relax and enjoy the awesome views with awesome wines.

My eyes wandered the room in awe, at the lighting to the counters of the bar to the immensely spacious the tasting room is. My eyes caught sight of a row of  wine racks rather which were rather uniquely laid out below this mural. I took a couple shots –  the one here is abstract, as I love abstract art.

So this photo, like a matching one I shot in similar fashion, merely forces the viewer (the audience), use their minds and imagination. They must think about what you (me) the artist is trying to portray, and you either will love it immediately or hate it. Almost as quickly.  I love that aspect of abstract art. That, and the fact that it take you outside of the box in terms of traditional photography. I tend to take a lot of abstract shots as my mind drifts that way a lot. I also love to shoot black and white. But, I am generally very picky on my subjects. I can’t plan for it. It either happens or it doesn’t. And when it does I believe it is magical.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to shoot traditional shots as well, but, these two forms of art I believe speak more of who I am as a person and transcends that into who I am as an artist. Many say mish – mash. I hate it. Well it is of course their choice to do so. But I believe they do so because they themselves do not understand how to view it. Therefore they don’t understand nor wish to understand abstract art. I will say some abstract art is way out there. But for the most part good, high quality abstact art achieves the goal of getting the viewer to think outside the box. Its rather like getting an Engineer’s and developers to work outside the box, when dealing with environmental issues. They simply don’t get it. And probably never will. Stepping slowly off the soap box now…..

The next several images from WillaKenzie were from the outside deck which encompasses a large portion of the outer area behind the tasting room. The views were breathtaking, especially with the cloudy skies.

 

The deck where we gazed out at the rolling vineyards.

 

 

 

I still can’t get over the views. How lucky for the staff to come to work and see this everyday. Rough life.

 

This image and the following were  the final images shot from this particular vantage.

 

From here we meandered through the metal chairs to a gas fire pit where the most unique climbing flower was growing, It was practically alien in appearance.

Here it comes, I warn you it is bizarre.

 

 

 

 

Okay this is it! I am completely stumped.

I have no idea what kind of flower this is. If anyone does, please feel free to tell me. So, until I know it is merely known as –

The Alien Flower

 

The trellis serves as the home for which the flower latches its leaves and vine around.  It has some of the features of a Clematis but the flowers are strangely not similar. I have no idea. I would love to know, so if one of my readers who does, would be so kind as to let me know what this flower is you would make my day.

The flower is a vine and grows well on this trellis.

Looking upward from the trellis, is a lovely grass area with elegantly landscaped area overlooking the patio and deck.

 

 

The next few images were taken near the fire pit looking upward from the deck to the upper deck and on the way back to the car. Our experience here at WillaKenzie was fantastic. And I can with all honesty say that we will be back. Firstly they have really great wine, fantastic staff, a fantastic place to sit inside or out to enjoy your wine, they have awesome cheese plates, that do come with a half a loaf of bread; however being someone with Celiac, and cannot consume Gluten, they were able to accommodate me, which is huge coming off the cuff; and finally, this place knows the meaning of the words Customer Service. It isn’t rocket science but to some places it might as well be.

    So as you gaze at the few remaining pictures please put a reminder to stop by both Patton Valley and Willakenzie wineries.  They both make awesome wines and are both cool places to chill out. One is a bit more relaxed the other beautiful, yet not pretentious.

So until next time. Keep clicking.

Louise

 

 

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