August 26, 2012

Bella Vida Vineyards

Bella Vida Vineyards has a new and spectacular building that captures the most amazing views of the Willamette Valley.  It is all just breathtaking, and I believe their wines, views and building showcase some of the best in Oregon's wine country.  I have always loved their wines, so was excited to finally get back there to taste and see the new tasting room. Steven and Allison Whiteside are the owners of Bella Vida Vineyards, and we were graciously welcomed by Allison upon arrival (which is rare to see the owner behind the counter pouring wines!).  Allison explained to us their "Three Winemakers - One Vineyard" model--Bella Vida makes their wines from their estate grapes but uses three different winemakers to make their wines.  So we started with their yummy 2011 Pinot "Gris-Ling,"(blend of Pinot Gris and Reisling), then tasted three 2009 Pinot noirs.  My favorite (and now on my favorite wines list) was the 2009 Tardy Pinot noir (winemaker at Torii Mor made this one), which we bought a bottle, and also a bottle of the Pinot Gris.  The winery was busy, but Allison made you feel like you were the only ones there.  She was warm and hospitable interacting with all of us, and sharing some personal stories of her own.  Make sure this is a must stop while you are here in Oregon's wine country. You won't be disappointed.  I hope they update their website soon with photos to reflect just how beautiful and wonderful it all is!   Kristen & Dan


Van Duzer Vineyards

Beautiful winery with miles of views to enjoy while sipping wine, Van Duzer Vineyards is about 5 miles outside of Amity heading south on Hwy. 99 to Salem.  They have a wide selection of wines including Pinot noir, Gris, Rose, Rieslings, Port and even a Cabernet.  You can find some of their wines at grocery stores as well.  The wines are exquisite and more expensive, but worth the trip.  So, if you are heading south and you plan to visit Coehlo, Bethel Heights and Left Coast Cellars, make sure you don't miss Van Duzer on this trip.  They are a little more off the beaten path up a long gravel road, but the day we visited the winery was full of club members picking up wine (so they do drive out there to get it!).  So bring a lunch with you, or stop in downtown Amity first to the quaint Amity Food & Coffee house to pick up some edibles to enjoy with a bottle of Van Duzer wine (or any of these wineries mentioned above--Left Coast Cellars also has a cafe inside it).   Kristen & Dan