Hills and Valleys-Pt. 4-Vista Hills Vineyard

{This is part 4 in a series of our visit to the Willamette Valley last summer.}

It can be challenging to visit wineries with a big group. It can be challenging to visit with children. It can be challenging to visit with aging parents (mine, at least.) So, what to do when you check all of those boxes? Ask the experts.

I had been in contact with Emily Petterson through Pinot in the City and she graciously offered to provide contacts or tips for my upcoming visit to the Willamette Valley. I needed an accessible, family friendly winery that could host large groups and children. She offered a previously compiled list and threw out that her husband was a winemaker and GM at Vista Hills Vineyard in Dundee and that they would be happy to host our crew. I had no prior experience with their wines which intrigued and intimidated but one look at their website told me that it was exactly what I was looking for. Emily arranged for us to meet with Tyler in the tasting room and we would go from there.

We could not have made a better decision.

John and Nancy McClintock purchased 20 acres overlooking the Dundee hills in 1995. Using their experience in eco-friendly development, they have expanded to 42 acres of LIVE certified vineyards, farmed with innovative techniques to produce Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir which they both bottle and sell.

 

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We were warmly greeted and shown to a table in the back on the deck below. Plenty of room for the children to run, no stairs to navigate. While the Treehouse Tasting room offers beautiful views of the valley, we had other considerations. Tyler started us off with a bottle each of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.

He gave us time to relax, settle in, making sure we knew he was available when we were ready. We spread out nibbles and enjoy the view while we sampled. While we were there, the Equestrian Wine Tour arrived. The guides allowed the children to approach and pet the horses. The children played soccer ball pool. After an hour or so, the oldest and youngest generations decided to return to our rental house.  At that time, Tyler brought a more detailed tasting to us.

 

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We tasted a total of six Pinot Noir, from a variety of blocks, created by different winemakers. They ranged from classic Burgundian notes to funky, savory and surprising. the 2015 Piedmont Pinot was just my style. Orange peel, stewed cranberry, all spice. Delicious.

In addition, we sampled their Blanc de Noir. This pale pink wine is pressed right away, no skin contact to create a lovely, refreshing quaff. Unripened strawberry and watermelon makes this a versatile appertiv or easily paired. We took home two bottles, the Piedmont, and a Pinot Gris.

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As I’ve always said, the atmosphere and customer service is just as important as the quality of the wines to create a memorable tasting experience. Tyler was warm, friendly, laid-back and knowledgeable. The views were incredible. The space allowed us to relax, room for the children to play. The visit was truly memorable.

Whether you are looking for a date spot, a girls getaway, or a family celebration, Vista Hills should be on your itinerary.

The McClintock commitment to growth does not begin and end with grapes. They mentor and financially support several college students through their Clint Foundation, a program that partially funds and fully supports students furthering their education. For more information on the program, to sample wines at home, or to plan your visit, visit their website.

Many thanks to Emily Petterson for the suggestion and to Tyler for being a gracious host. We all had a day we won’t forget in the Willamette Wine Country.

 

Posted by

Wine lover. Oenophile. Wanna-be-sommelier. Mom. Mommy. MA-MAAAAA!!!!!! Grocery shopper, budding nutritionist, dish scrubber, meat cutter. My love of wine started in my mid-twenties. I have no formal training, just a decent palatte and a desire to learn. And I am pretty good in the kitchen. The more I learn, the greater the desire to educate myself through articles, blogs, travel, and surrounding myself with others who like to discuss wine. When things calm down (what's that?) in my life, I may choose a formal education in the arena, but for now, I will taste, share, and taste some more. My descriptors may or may not be "correct." My pairings may wow, surprise, or may not "work." But, the best learning is through trial and error, right? Especially when the "trial" means drinking more wine. So, if you are up for a little wisdom about wine, and a lot of wine-induced wisdom, come along for the ride

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