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Picture of a bottle and glass of wine

Our Love of Wines, Wine Tasting and Cellaring Wines

Photograph of Grapes hanging on vine.

My wife and I began appreciating finer wines nearly 20 years ago.  We were living in Boulder, Colorado at the time and dropped in weekly at the Boulder Liquor Mart.  The fun was in finding wines we really liked for cheap prices.  We soon learned that good wines, rich in flavor with a lingering finish, need not be expensive.  In 1995 we moved to northern California and began paying visits to Napa and Sonoma Valleys, experiencing tasting wines for the first time.  It's been a love affair ever since.  In 1998 we bought a free-standing chiller unit that held over 300 bottles of wine and our interest in cellaring wines that we enjoyed and would age well.

When we decided to move to Oregon, we specifically choose Yamhill County because of it's abundance of small and medium sized wineries whose reputations for crafting fine wines is expanding rapidly.  With so many wineries making fine wines, my wife and I have signed up for a sommelier course being offered by local winery in March of 2009.  I'll have much to share after that!Picture of methven family vineyard's tasting room.

The various wineries' tasting rooms were almost as interesting and unique as the wines. Many wineries invested what seemed like disproportionate amounts of money in their tasting rooms.  It's obvious that each winery wants their tasting room to create an ambience and impression that conveys quality, appeal, success, attention to detail, pride and desire to maintain an excellent reputation.  Some people are intimidated by a tasting room, especially those visiting for the first time.  In three words, do not be.  It's rare that you will be shoulder to shoulder with a real wine aficionado.  Besides, if they are truly vino-literate, they happily share their knowledge with you.  Wine shobbery is for light-weights who want you to think they are wine heavyweights.

Since we are located in the center of Oregon's wine industry, it only seems natural that we explore the various viticulture regions.  Our section, "Wine Regions of Oregon" page, discusses these regions based on our book knowledge, since we have not had time to explore then all yet.  We are excited about the prospects of seeing, and tasting, for ourselves the best of what each region has to offer.  As we do that, I will happily post updates on the blog and in this section.Picture of a Wine Cellar

Wine Cellars are something I never thought about until we purchased our first self contained chiller/cellar.  The idea of being able to store wines for years and enjoy them when they have matured, reaching their fullest flavor, was appealing.  When we moved to Maui, we had a home built and included a wine cellar/room.  When we moved to our second home on Maui, we built another wine cellar.  When we moved to Oregon, yup, you guessed it, another wine cellar.  Here I discuss some of our experiences after installing three wine cellars in three homes.  Let me warn you, it ain't all pretty.  Finding contractors who know anything about how to frame, insulate and finish out a wine cellar is a challenge.  It is more likely that you and your contractor will be working together, both learning about how the process should be accomplished.  But, I have never regretted building any of them.  To be able to choose among different varietals, different vineyards and different years is a highlight of every day.  It is also a great conversation piece whenever you are entertaining.  I had one friend that, after dinner, insisted that I accompany him into the wine cellar just to sit in there, tasting (or just plain drinking) wines and talking "guy stuff".  I have to say, it was a uniquely relaxing time.  Enjoy your stay...

All photographs and other material © 2008 by Robert Staples