A low leaden sky, clouds scudding off the ocean towards the northeast, the greenish mountains to the east providing a background to a light, persistent rain. This Monday morning was our last full day in Oregon, and it was “wine country” day, as in Willamette Valley vineyards. Would weather conditions be improved east of the Coastal Range mountains?
Magic is a cool, composed, and self-confident canine. He always carries himself with an equilibrium, an inner harmony, an acceptance of whatever comes his way. A simple whisper of “let’s go,” is an immediate response, no leash required. Down several flights of stairs to the parking lot, to the the Scion xB, up into the back. A quick kiss from Magic for me and my sister, Mary, and we’re off. Eastbound on US 26, the Sunset Highway, through the clouds, drizzle, and rain of the Coastal Range. As US 26 straightened and flattened east of the Coastal Range, the clouds were breaking up, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining. Southbound on Oregon-47, through the towns of Banks, Forest Grove, Yamhill. Why so many Sheriff’s Patrol cars lurking on side streets?
Stoller Estate was was our primary destination. A large parking lot, a beautiful modern structure with polished concrete, glass, metal, and wood. Their website mentioned that pets were not allowed, but stainless steel water bowls were observed on expansive outdoor seating area. Yes, dogs are allowed – outside. Comfortable outdoor seating included small tables with four chairs, community seating with large tables, and areas of white Adirondack chairs paired with small tables. The seating area overlooked vineyards and an open grassy area. Sounds of birds in “distress” were soon realized to be recordings of hawks and their “captured” prey – keeps the riff-raff out of the vineyards, I guess.
While we had another winery in mind, after departing Stoller, we ended up on Breyman Orchards Road which turned 90 degrees in front of Durant Vineyards at Red Ridge. My sister, Mary, said, “Let’s go here!”
The atmosphere of Durant Vineyards was very different from Stoller – smaller, a bit more green, a bit more rustic, a bit more gratifying to the soul. Durant was more about connecting with the views of the Willamette Valley and the mountains to the north. From the comfort of Adirondack chairs on a lush lawn, there was quiet contentment, a tranquility that was enhanced by delicious wine and sampler plates.