This was my first Memorial Day Weekend where I was over the age of 21, which meant I had the pleasure of checking out a few Southern Willamette Wineries. Myself, along with my visiting mother and father, made three stops: first at Domaine Meriwether, second at LaVelle Vineyards, then last at Sweet Cheeks Winery.
My goal for the trip was to soak up the environments of the three wineries so I could get a feel of how the Territorial Wine trail works. Also, pick up additional information through brochures and other booklets. I believe I accomplished all of my goals, which will be evident in the final map.
In the meantime, for all y’all wine tasters out there, I have a review of each of the three wineries I visited over the week. Keep in mind I visited each winery at a different time (duh), so some of the activities of the early wineries I visited weren’t in full bloom yet.
1. Domaine Meriwether: Meriwether is known for its sparkling wines, which is a wine with significant levels of carbon dioxide that makes it fizzy. I am not a fan of sparkling wine (I prefer earthy reds), which means I was not a fan of Meriwether’s different bottles they had to offer. The tasting room was in a giant warehouse, which is unlike any tasting room I’ve seen in the area. I did not like Meriwether’s ticket system for its tasting. I have never seen this sort of tasting system before, and I hope I never do again. It’s a pain. Let’s say I wanted 10 different tastes. I would then need to buy 10 tickets. The plan sounded nice in theory, but after realizing I didn’t like the wine they had to offer, I was stuck with my leftover tickets. Talk about money under the bridge. I ended up giving my leftover tickets to another couple, which they appreciated. Meriwether’s outside sitting area was large and spacious, which made it nice to kick back and chit chat with my parents.
2. LaVelle Vineyards: My favorite part about wine tasting isn’t the wine itself, but the person behind the counter pouring the wine. If this person isn’t good at their job, it can ruin a tasting experience for good. Why would I ever come back to a place where the person behind the counter didn’t keep my attention or teach me anything? Of the three wineries I visited, LaVelle had my favorite stewardess. She was quick on her toes, smart, and most importantly, not overbearing or annoying. The wine at LaVelle was pretty good, but the stewardess often times made me forget about the wine with her charm. The tasting room was classy, decorated with nice oak and tiles. I would come back to LaVelle not because the wine kicked ass, but because the experience was so great.
3. Sweet Cheeks Winery: Wow. That’s the word that best defines my time spent at Sweet Cheeks. “Wow” is usually the word used to describe the nearby Kings Estate Winery because it fits the bill of “fancy winery.” That doesn’t mean Kings Estate is the most fun though. Of all the wineries I have visited over the past nine weeks, Sweet Cheeks is easily my favorite. Great view, great owners and employees, great decorations, fun environment and most importantly, my favorite wine in the Southern Willamette Valley. Sweet Cheeks’ 2010 Merlot was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. Loved the hour I spent here listening to live music. Can’t wait to return!