“To discover Oregon was a revelation, & I haven't stopped telling others.”
A travelled writer shares his Oregon Wine Press Trip experience
On the 1st of May this year, a small group of select UK press and travel journalists arrived in Portland after an easy ten-hour flight. Ahead of them would be three full days of exploring, experiencing and tasting the wonders of Oregon Wine.
One of those journalists was award winning travel writer, Michael Cranmer. A self professed ‘wine beginner’, Michael was excited to learn and explore what Oregon Wine’s true character meant, first hand.
An expert skier, and frequent traveller to mountain regions, Michael was delighted by Portland’s ever present snow-capped Mount Hood in the distance. Things were much milder for our mountaineering writer at Portland’s ground level. May’s spring weather provided perfect conditions for busy days at tastings, picnics and vineyard tours.
While Michael had ‘no preconceptions’ about Oregon before arriving ( admittedly, he had to look at his atlas to find out where it exactly was!) – the seasoned traveller was delighted by the experience: “To discover a whole new area was a revelation.”
We asked Michael a few questions about the press excursion. And no spoilers in saying he signed off his last email to our colleague with “P.S. I'd love to go back!”
Q: On the first day, you explored a few of Portland’s urban wineries and foodie hotspots – what was the highlight of that day for you?
The first day was an eye-opener. Wineries that looked like warehouses from the outside, passionate people doing their thing with style, fun, dedication.
The Stand-out was The Division Wine Co. Kate Norris [uses] responsibly farmed vineyards – many being organic and biodynamic.
I also loved Canard Restaurant, their Baynes Sound oysters paired with a ‘Viper’ cocktail. It’s their take on my favourite, [a] Dirty Dry Vodka Martini. It hit all the right spots!
Q: You had a busy day at three tastings in the Willamette Valley – can you share one of the wines you particularly enjoyed?
On Day three [we went] off to the Land of Milk and Honey, aka the Willamette Valley. It’s unbelievably fertile and beyond beautiful.
At Phelps Creek Vineyard, the Falstaffian 'Captain Bob' Morus entertained us under an ancient oak, with wine after delicious wine. Topping them all with his 2019 'Lynette' Chardonnay, named, quite properly, after his wife.
Q: Environmental preservation is a cornerstone of the Oregon Wine industry – how was this expressed by winemakers and growers?
Everywhere we went, three different areas, many different wineries, the byword was sustainability, environmental awareness, and organic production. To the point where it was accepted as the norm, just what they did without thinking.
Q: Why do you think travelling ‘to the source’ of Oregon Wine culture is so important for UK press and trade?
I'm a wine beginner. My selections are based on wines I've tasted and loved: Burgundy, Douro, Alsace, the Loire. To discover a whole new area was a revelation, and I haven't stopped telling others. I have discovered several wine merchants in the UK that supply Oregon wine at reasonable prices.
Experience the press trip, for yourself!
Find dinner reservations at these Portland locations:
On your way to Oregon Wine’s heartland, stop off at:
Discover Portland’s local tasting rooms:
Winery tours and tastings through the Willamette Valley & Dundee Hills: