Chehalem Valley

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So far Chehalem Valley has created 24 blog entries.

The Emerald Palate: Where to Eat, Drink & Do in Oregon’s Willamette Valley


By Adria Saracino
Published in The Emerald Palate, September 12, 2017

“In just a 4 hour drive from Seattle, we were able to explore one of the best regions for pinots in the world. But the Willamette Valley is so much more than just the wine. That’s why I’m outlining not only what to drink, but also what to eat and do between winery visits.”


The Emerald Palate: Where to Eat, Drink & Do in Oregon’s Willamette Valley2019-01-18T16:42:35-08:00

LifeGrid Magazine: Wine Legacy At Knudsen Vineyards


Originally published August 25, 2017 in LifeGrid Magazine

By Karla Erovick

When Cal and Julia Lee Knudsen bought 200 acres of land in 1971 to plant in grapes, they had no idea what was possible. They brought a love of French wines and vision for producing wine in Oregon’s rich soil, that was similar in climate to Burgundy. It was a gamble to plant Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes in Oregon’s Willamette Valley since “the experts” deemed Oregon’s climate to be unsuitable for wine.

The land that was chosen was a former orchard that they hoped would be good for growing grapes and producing wine. We now know these rich, red, Jory soils produce distinct wines and have become a sought-after location for wineries and vineyards.

The entire Knudsen family including Cal and Julia Lee’s four children (Page, Colin, David, Cal) were involved in planting the first 30 acres of vineyards. This made Knudsen the largest vineyard in the Willamette Valley.  In 1975, they added another 30 acres of vineyards, making them the largest vineyard in Oregon. For the family, this created a strong connection to the land and vineyards that continues to this day.

Cal Knudsen formed a partnership with Dick Erath in 1975 to make Knudsen Erath wines. Their winery was the first located in the Dundee Hills. In 1987, a shared love of sparkling wine led Knudsen Vineyards to enter into a long-term arrangement of selling grapes to the start-up, Argyle Winery, to make into sparkling and still wines. The fact that Argyle’s winemaker,  Rollin Soles was a fan of sparkling wine, probably helped in the decision. To this day, Argyle has won more awards for their wine than any other winery in Oregon and they are one of Oregon’s largest producers of sparkling wine.

In 2009, Cal Knudsen passed, leaving the vineyards into his children’s very capable hands. Having grown up in the vineyards there was no doubt that they chose take an active role in managing vineyard operations. They consider themselves to be stewards of the land,  held in trust for future generations of Knudsen’s to continue growing grapes and producing wine. Each has pursued a career in their chosen fields and brings expertise in marketing, finance, and operations to the business of running a vineyard.

One of their biggest decisions was to return to the family’s wine-making roots. They choose a wine-maker they trusted, Nate Klosterman from Argyle, to translate their grapes into a distinct wine that reflected the character of the grapes, the soil, and sustainable farming practices. Their first wines were produced in 2012 and released in 2014.

The Knudsen’s have always had a commitment to sustainable farming practices believing that they are merely stewards of the land, to nurture and protect it for future generations, hopefully of Knudsen’s. They have become both LIVE Certified (Low Impact Viticulture and Enology) and Salmon Safe Certified to this end.

Today they have 130 acres of vines on the property with the oldest vines of Pinot Noir planted in 1974. These vines are old and gnarled with thick trunks that still produce delicious wine. If the vineyards are nourished they produce high-quality grapes that can be made into balanced, beautiful wine. Much of the magic happens in the vineyard with experienced vineyard managers that know how to bring out the best in the grapes. If they have done their job, the winemaker can bring out the nuances and flavors of this vintage of grape, to become a distinct wine. Based on the response that Knudsen Vineyards wine has been receiving in wine ratings they are doing things right.

Knudsen Vineyards produces a limited amount of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir every year, which often sells out. Their wines reflect ripe fruit flavors, earthy, spicy, old vine characteristics.

Their current releases include:

2014 Knudsen Vineyards Pinot Noir-  $55
2014 Knudsen Vineyards Chardonnay – $45
2015 Knudsen Vineyards Chardonnay – $45

LifeGrid Magazine: Wine Legacy At Knudsen Vineyards2017-09-02T14:10:49-07:00
  • Ken and Celia Austin walking a llama through their vineyard.

LifeGrid Magazine: Wine and Llamas at Rain Dance Vineyards


Originally published July 25, 2017 in LifeGrid Magazine
By Karla Erovick

While relatively new to producing wine from the lovely Chehalem Mountains, owners Ken and Celia Austin aren’t new to agriculture. Ken’s family has been involved in Oregon agriculture and hospitality for seven generations. Their purchase of property for Rain Dance Ranch was intended to raise llamas, preserve the land, and grow agricultural crops.

It was 2009 before they decided to plant vineyards and grow grapes. At first, they were content to sell their grapes to other wineries but in 2013 they made the decision to produce their own wine, in part by the encouragement of a winemaker who was making wine from their grapes for another winery. Bryan Weil (from Alexana) put the bug in the Austin’s ear about making their own wine with his help and the rest is history.

The Austin’s consider themselves stewards of the land with a focus on immaculate farming, paying close attention to every detail on their property, gentle winemaking, and agricultural preservation. Today, Rain Dance is home to 120 acres of farmland including 73 under vine, wildlife corridors, preserved native trees and over 100 llamas who add a unique twist to their sustainability program.

Rain Dance Vineyards is a collection of four estate vineyards across 120 acres in the Willamette Valley’s Chehalem Mountains AVA. Each of their four vineyards sites are located on hillsides at varying elevations. These sites are certified through LIVE (Low Impact Viticulture and Enology) and are also Salmon Safe certified, planted in the following varieties: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and Gewürztraminer.

Grapes are dry farmed sustainably using top vineyard practices such as multiple thinning passes to ensure low yields, careful attention to cover cropping, and balanced pruning. Vine by vine composting is one particularly unique approach used to accommodate the Austin family’s insistence on native tree preservation.

The care that they lavish on their land pays off in the quality of the wine. Each of their artisan-crafted wines reflects the vineyard soil, elevation, exposure to sun, and grape characteristics, and when combined with the alchemy of wine-making produces a beautiful, balanced bottle of wine. The wine-making becomes an extension of what happens in the vineyards, bringing out the unique characteristics of the vintage and the grape itself. When you taste one of their wines, you can almost taste the vineyard. In addition to several Pinot Noir’s, the Willamette Valley’s most famous wine, they also make a Rosé of Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Gewürztraminer.

The best way to sample their wines is a visit to their tasting room where you will enjoy homegrown wines and gracious hospitality in an elegant country setting. Not only will you taste wine, experience tranquil views from the covered porch and patio, and browse through a selection of artwork and estate woodwork in their tasting room. You’ll be greeted with gracious hospitality – often by one of the owners, and treated to a tasting at the tasting bar, on the covered porch or outdoor patio. Imagine sipping delicious wine while watching llamas stroll past. Afterward, browse a selection of featured artists and owner, Ken Austin’s fine woodwork from reclaimed estate trees.

They are often asked why they chose the name “Rain Dance” for their winery. The Austin’s had recently returned from attending Sun Dance and were seeking a name for their property. It rains a lot in Oregon, so they selected the name “Rain Dance.” It seems wonderfully appropriate.

You can visit them in their tasting room daily from 11 am – 5 pm. They are located at 26355 NE Bell Road in Newberg, Oregon, just minutes from downtown Newberg. Phone +1 (503) 538-0197.

Their current release wines include:
Rain Dance Estate Pinot Noir ($40)
Rain Dance Estate Reserve Pinot Noir ($60)
Nicholas Vineyard Pinot Noir ($50)
Nicholas Vineyard Rosé of Pinot Noir ($22)
Nicholas Vineyard Chardonnay ($30)
Nicholas Vineyard Riesling ($22)
Nicholas Vineyard Gewürztraminer ($27)

LifeGrid Magazine: Wine and Llamas at Rain Dance Vineyards2017-09-02T14:15:37-07:00

Water Time Outfitters Fishing Tours


Experience our guided fishing tours in the heart of the Chehalem Valley and get connected to nature just a short boat ride away.  In this area rural farmland and vineyards give way to the haunts of some of the biggest river bass in the state.


Water Time Outfitters Fishing Tours2017-07-24T16:27:17-07:00

The Eclipse is coming!


Oregon will be front and center during a “Total Solar Eclipse” on August 21, 2017. During the one minute and 44 seconds of “totality” the world will be dark at approximately 10:15 am. The last time a total eclipse happened in the United States was 1979 and this time Oregon will be the first point that the Eclipse will be observable on land.

These Eclipse events are so rare that “Eclipse Chasers” travel the world to view these rare occurrences. We are expected thousands of visitors to the state to enjoy our beautiful scenery and this phenomenon.

Some of the best views will be in the Willamette Valley from Eugene to Salem and at the Oregon Coast. The first land mass that the Eclipse will be visible from will be the Oregon Coast. To view a map with the path of totality in Oregon, click here.

It is recommended that you arrive wherever you plan to watch the Eclipse hours in advance and that you are not driving during the event.  Many small towns in Oregon have one road in and one road out which are likely to become very congested before, during, and after the Eclipse. We suggest that you arrive early to your destination and plan to stay long after the Eclipse concludes.

Ensure that your vehicle has plenty of fuel; you are well stocked with water and snacks in case it takes much longer to get around. Read more helpful tips here.

Don’t forget to pick up your Eclipse Glasses at a local visitor center before venturing out. You will want to protect your eyes and those of your family.

There are lots of Eclipse activities happening throughout the Willamette Valley; you can read about them here.

To learn more about the Eclipse and where to view it in Oregon, visit the Travel Oregon website.

The Eclipse is coming!2017-06-16T18:09:24-07:00

Get Your Rodeo On


Photo Credit: Bill Lawless

By Karla Erovick

It’s hard to find a better form of entertainment than the St. Paul Rodeo. Every year during the July 4th weekend rodeo enthusiasts descend on the town of St. Paul.  The multi-day event features some of the best competitors on the rodeo circuit due to the large prize money that is available to the winners.

The St. Paul Rodeo is now in its’ 82nd year and that is something to celebrate. This is an event that appeals to all ages and it supplies good, clean family-fun. The drama of the live competitions involving 600 rodeo competitors, and fast horses, bucking bulls, and calves, is thrilling.

Imagine sitting in the grandstand and watching the pageantry of dozens of men and women on horse- back riding into the arena behind a full complement of flags bearers. The national anthem follows, sung by the same soloist (at many performances) for the past 42 years, Mary Ann Zielinski  The opening festivities set a patriotic tone that makes one proud to be an American.

The spectators are treated to a show of the best horse men and women in the business. You can also enjoy tasty food, a Wild West Art Show, and live music.  The historic grandstand is small enough to offer excellent viewing from every reserved seat yet big enough to be serious venue.

The events move quickly and showcase a variety of rodeo competitors and events. Listening to the announcer, a seasoned pro describe the event and the competitors provides a new appreciation for the skill that is involved. It goes so quickly, one event followed by the next, and then the rodeo is winding down.

The evening concludes with an impressive fireworks display each and every night and it is worth sticking around. For adventurous adults, the Tack Room Saloon, the onsite bar is a must-see experience. It was voted “Best Cowboy Bars in the West “by American Cowboy Magazine for being an authentic cowboy bar. Remarkably, it is only open a few days each year and only during the Rodeo.

While there are many activities that happen around the Fourth of July, this event should be on your list.


More information is available at

Tickets are available at or on the day of the event.

Dates: 2017 – June 30 – July 4. Most shows are at 7:30 pm.

Get Your Rodeo On2017-06-16T18:37:45-07:00

Music, Brews & BBQ


Summer is a magical time of year when the weather is nearly perfect to be outdoors to enjoy live music along with local beer and great food. And that means it is time once again for Brews & BBQ held in Newberg on July 21 – 22, 2017. You don’t want to miss the fun: two days of bands, brews, and BBQ!

Listen to live bands, while you sip ice-cold beer and fill-up on BBQ while meeting new friends and catching up with old friends. This is one of Newberg’s favorite summertime events.

It all kicks-off on Friday, July 21 at 4 pm until 10 pm. We’ve got delicious brews including from local favorites Chehalem Valley Brewing Company, Golden Valley Brewing Company, Wolves & People Farmhouse Brewer, and Deception Brewing Company. If your taste runs more towards Coors Light or cider we have that too. And being in wine country, you can also find some nice wine. We aim to please.

There’s something about fresh air, beer, and music that one can really work up an appetite and we have that covered with lots of good Barbeque from Storr’s,  Bert’s Barbeque,  and Burning Boar and even fresh seafood with Pacific Seafood Company, all of which are enhanced by beer or wine.

You can purchase single day event tickets for $5 and VIP pass for both day admission along with a logo, keepsake beer mug for only $15. Children under 12 are free. This is a family-friendly activity, children are allowed until 8 pm.

Summer and music are great pairings. The line-up includes:


Anything Goes – 4:30 – 6 pm

Melody Butchers – 7 – 10 pm


Michelle Drey & The Branded Band – 12 – 3 pm

Rich Layton & The Troublemakers – 3:30 – 6:30 pm

Nobody’s Sweetheart – 7-10 pm


Details: Learn more about the event here

Admission: Tickets are $5 for adults, under 12 are free. Purchase a VIP weekend pass with a logo mug for $15.

Location: 1st and Howard Street in Newberg.

Music, Brews & BBQ2017-06-16T18:41:26-07:00

Culinary Adventures Await at Bounty of Yamhill County


One of the things that make our slice of the Willamette Valley so attractive to visitors (and locals) is the marriage of wine with our farm-fresh agricultural selections. Not only can you find world-class wine but you can also find the food that pairs beautifully, lovingly crafted by our innovative chefs. If you appreciate culinary travel, then you simply must experience Bounty of Yamhill County (BOYC).

This three-day food and wine event showcases top farms, chefs and wineries in Oregon’s Willamette Valley through a variety of activities and events including farm-to table dinners and outdoor adventures like hiking, paddling and hot air ballooning. BOYC was voted Top 10 Best Food Festivals by USA TODAY 10Best and The Culture Trip.  While you’re having fun, you’re also doing good. Proceeds from the events benefit YES, local cultural nonprofit supporting programs in arts, music, education, food, and agriculture.

This year’s lineup offers opportunities to partake in an array of culinary adventures in Oregon wine country. New for 2017 is a farm-to-table dinner at Kookoolan Farms in Yamhill on Saturday, August 26. Farm owners Chrissie and Koorosh Zaepoor will lead guests on a tour of the property, highlighting their organic farming practices and on-site meadery. Chef Paul Losch of Ruddick/Wood in Newberg prepares a four-course dinner crafted from Kookoolan poultry, beef, lamb, and produce raised specifically for the event, paired with estate and single vineyard wines from Erath, Dundee Hills’ first winery.

Two “Grill & Chill” dinners kick off the weekend, Friday, August 25. The casual buffet meals are hosted by WillaKenzie Estate in Yamhill, with a menu from McMinnville’s Valley Commissary, and Dobbes Family Estate in Dundee, with Storrs Smokehouse catering the dinner.

Saturday events include a hot air balloon ride over Yamhill County with Vista Balloon, a vineyard and olive orchard hike at Durant Vineyards/Oregon Olive Mill, followed by lunch prepared by Chef Paul Bachand of Recipe and a food, and wine pairing experience at Soter Vineyards.

Sunday offerings feature Dundee Hills wine tasting by horseback with Equestrian Wine Tours and a guided paddle on the Willamette River with Alder Creek Kayak. Wine country favorite Red Hills Market caters both events.

Finishing off the weekend is BIG NIGHT, Bounty’s signature event at Sokol Blosser Winery, featuring a walk-around feast of seasonal delights, prepared by chefs from 20 county restaurants. Menu items will be created from ingredients provided by 20 county farms and accompanied by selected wines from 25 Yamhill County vintners. Guests can win their favorite Yamhill County wines at the Wall of Wine station.

Tickets range in price from $60 to $225 and must be purchased in advance. Attendees must be 21 and older. Visit for event details and to purchase tickets. Event proceeds benefit the Yamhill Enrichment Society.



Culinary Adventures Await at Bounty of Yamhill County2017-06-16T18:55:10-07:00