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Oregon's Pinot Noir ExperienceMarch 31, 2008 By: Ruthanne Terrero Travel Agent
The new kid on the wine block is all grown up and ready to serve up sophisticated wine-themed vacations
Lush vineyards flourish in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.
If clients need another reason to travel to Oregon to taste its wine, they should consider visiting this summer, when the
Where to Stay
There are many bed-and-breakfast options in the wine region; however, your first-time client to the area may want to stay in Portland, which is a 45-minute to two-hour drive to the Willamette Valley vineyards.
A Starlight Room at The Hotel Vintage Plaza.
The Hotel Vintage Plaza is the ideal place to suggest to clients who want a wine-themed vacation, since the property's aesthetic centers on the Oregon wine story. The key conduit to that strategy is Wine Concierge Cindi Marconi (
Marconi's wine programs at The Hotel Vintage Plaza include a daily complimentary wine tasting in the lobby, as well as a weekly "Wine Wednesday" educational session with local guest winemakers or sommeliers.
King Guest Room at The Hotel Vintage Plaza.
The hotel, which is run by General Manager Jeri Riggs, has also launched a "Pinot in Portland" program, which is a personalized, self-guided wine-immersion package designed to appeal to the consumer as "the urban alternative to a traditional wine-country vacation."
The "Pinot in Portland" experience includes a welcome bottle of the hotel's private-label Pinot Noir (from Oregon, of course), two Riedel Oregon Pinot Noir glasses (these are designed to specifically enhance the aromas, flavors and appearance of Oregon-produced Pinots) and a wine journal.
Clients also get to enjoy an Italian/Oregon Pinot Noir comparison flight at Pazzo Ristorante, adjacent to the Hotel Vintage Plaza. They may also request a private session with Pazzo's wine director, Lemmy Cooper, who will share wine recommendations, pairing advice and suggestions for Portland wine bars.
The program also includes a wine-blending class for two at
Another good option is the venerable
Living area of the Symphony Suite at The Heatman Hotel.
The wine experience here can be savored by booking the "Oregon Wine Tasting" package, which provides "Luxury Deluxe" accommodations, continental breakfast for two, a bottle of organic Oregon Pinot Noir, personal concierge assistance for wine tastings at Willamette Valley wineries and the latest issue of
Portland, meanwhile, will witness a surge of new hotel openings in the near future.
An atrium will provide all of the hotel's 331 rooms with natural light; interior rooms will overlook the glass-roofed lobby area, while the exterior rooms will have city views. The hotel's developer, Sage Hospitality Resources, is seeking LEED Silver Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for the project.
Getting Around Safely:
TourOregonWines.com supplies transportation throughout the region, including luxury stretch-limousine, town-car service, sedans, vans or minibuses. (They even have a Hummer, which can seat 16.)
EcoTours of Oregon:
Eco Tours of Oregon provides a variety of programs throughout the state, including the full-day “Winery Tour of the Oregon Countryside,” which visits at least four wineries at a cost of $55 per person. Clients may customize their day based on what they want to experience. For example, they may want to sample Oregon’s best Pinot Noir or visit wineries with the most beautiful views. They also can request to visit those wineries that are the most affordable, or they can ask to travel to specific areas, such as Dundee Hills, the Carlton area, Eola Hills or Washington County.