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Oregon Wine Month

Dear Wine Lovers,
Welcome back to The Good Drop Wine Shoppe’s wine blog. It’s Katherine here today and I thought I would highlight my experiences with Oregon wine, in honor of May being Oregon Wine Month.

When I was in college, I studied abroad in Tuscany, Italy where I worked for the Consortium of Brunello di Montalcino. It was in Italy that my love for wine blossomed. A few years after my trip to Italy, I started working at Sweet Cheeks Winery, a small family-owned and operated winery and vineyard nestled in the Willamette Valley. I found such a pride for wine when I worked in Oregon wine country, a place where my love for wine and my love for home became intertwined. I found a sense of belonging in the wine experience as my knowledge grew of the the work and emotions put into the fostering of great Oregon wine. While I worked at Sweet Cheeks, I was able to participate in harvest and see all the moving parts of the wine industry. Many people only see the glamor and luxury of the wine experience… but few are fortunate enough to see it in its infantry, to see the tight-knit community of hardworking farmers who bring this dream to life.

I remember while visiting a winery in Tuscany called Col d’Orcia, the winemaker and owner expressed his desire for us students to call him a farmer not a winemaker, as the grapes are the true winemakers. On his property he had goats, lamb, pigs and gardens of vegetables and fruits, and, of course, hectares of vines. At the end of my visit, I was able to taste a bottle of his 100% organic Brunello Riserva 2012 with salami, honey, and cheese that was made and harvested on that plot of land that I had walked. That experience opened my eyes to the wine world in its wholeness and gave me the perspective I needed to embrace wine. The wine industry is certainly newer in Oregon than it is in Italy, but I see so many signs that our state is learning to do more than just make wine. Our state is an agricultural paradise built upon the hard work of loving hands and respect for the Earth’s fruits. I see here the same holistic passion for wine that I saw in Italy, an understanding that to experience wine is to do more than just sip it absentmindedly. Oregon openly bears its soul as an old-world producer would and I’m very excited to see the wine industry grow and thrive in the state. With approximately 790 wineries, Oregon is very quickly becoming a prominent wine region, but don’t let the speed of growth fool you. Oregon wine is made by hands very cognizant of the history and age-old values that first made wine special. With over 50 grape varietals grown, Oregon has been experimenting and collaborating with soil types, climate changes, and perfecting the coveted Pinot Noir. We are sure to see fantastic things come from Oregon wine in the coming future.

We would love to hear your wine journey, comment below or share with us on social media by tagging @gooddropwineshoppe

The Good Drop Girls

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Washington Wine Month and a Little Cab Talk Too!

Hello Wine Lovers,

Welcome to The Good Drop Wine Shoppe’s blog. My name is Katherine and I recently joined the wonderful team of ladies here at The Good Drop. I consider myself an obsessive-amateur when it comes to wine. I love the wine industry because it challenges me in a way that no other industry has before. I have found that right when I think I know a lot about wine, the person next to me could very well know an abundance more. It’s a universal language belonging to no one type of person and I’m always pleasantly surprised to find someone new who can teach me more. I am involved in this industry because I embrace the challenge of learning more about wine, in the many ways a person can do so. Everything I learn can shape me to be the friendly face at The Good Drop who can inspire your love of wine to grow. This blog is where I am going to be posting weekly tastings notes, highlights in the wine industry, and just your average wine camaraderie tales.

So, lets take a trip to the Walla Walla Valley in Washington, the heart of Cabernet Sauvignon territory. I know I take pride in this area because there are a great number of Cabernet Sauvignons that are produced here, making the Pacific Northwest a premier destination for the world’s most popular red grape. Lots of wine educators can tell you what to taste in a Cab Sauv, but I am here to help you feel the wine. The richness in this varietal sometimes gives me an out-of-body experience where I start to imagine the conditions in which this hearty, sometimes smoky, sometimes fruity, grape found its growth. A mentor of mine once told me that in order to be good at tasting wine, you have to be curious about other foods and drinks because that contributes to your sensory experience while tasting wine. Cabernet Sauvignons tend to be complex, dry, medium-full bodied, and the perfect partner for savory and robust dishes.

I want to highlight the Walla Walla Valley because we are currently in the month of April, and as it so happens, this is the Walla Walla Valley Wine Appreciation Month. The floor that dominates the Walla Walla Valley consists of river gravel, loess (fine, wind-blown silt), deep silt, and thin silt with a rocky base. The rocky component of this region mirrors the gravel undertones of the Bordeaux region where Cabernet Sauvignon originates, as a hybrid of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. The complicated topography is what contributes to the uniqueness of this certain varietal. A few fantastic producers of Walla Walla Valley Cab are Leonetti Cellars, Woodward Canyon, and Cougar Crest. If you’d like to take a trip to Walla Walla, call us and we will deliver an assortment of Cabernet Sauvignons to your door here in Bend, OR.

Thanks for reading,

XOXO The Good Drop Girls

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Van Duzer’s corridor lets Zephyr in the Willamette Valley


The Greek god Zephyr appears prominently on every bottle of wine Van Duzer Vineyards produces. That’s a fitting image considering the winery’s namesake – the Van Duzer Corridor – channels the west wind and gives Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs their signature flavor.

Formed more than 50 million years ago when a range of volcanic islands crashed into the mainland, Oregon’s Coastal Range reaches heights of 1,500 to 4,100 feet above sea level as it stretches for 200 miles across the state’s western edge. One of its lowest points is marked by a stretch of State Route 18 about 45 miles west of Salem that’s known as the H.B. Van Duzer Forest State Scenic Corridor.

Named after a former state parks and highway commissioner, the Van Duzer Corridor is a gap in the coastal range where the elevation drops to less than 750 feet above sea level. Cold air from the Pacific Ocean floods into the Willamette Valley through this passageway and causes its temperatures to drop by about 28 degrees each night. Continue reading Van Duzer’s corridor lets Zephyr in the Willamette Valley

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Va Piano Vineyards goes slowly, safely and far


Justin Wylie got the name of his winery from an old Italian proverb, “Chi Va Piano Va Sano e Va Lontano,” which means he who goes slowly goes safely and goes far. He uses that same phrase to describe his philosophy when it comes to making wine.

Located in Walla Walla, Wylie’s Va Piano Vineyards produces five flights of wine that range from every day drinkers like Bruno’s Cabernet Sauvignon and the Ox Red Blend to an estate designated series only members of its wine club can buy.

Wylie drew the inspiration to make these wines from spending his childhood in Walla Walla and watching his hometown blossom into the wine lover’s paradise it is now. He followed this inspiration by learning whatever he could from the region’s wine makers, wine growers and wine connoisseurs. He developed his palate, made wine out of his garage and with help from friends and family members started Va Piano’s first commercial crush in 2003. Continue reading Va Piano Vineyards goes slowly, safely and far

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St. Innocent Winery gets a national spotlight


Mark Vlossak started St. Innocent Winery by making a Chardonnay and a Pinot noir at a south Salem industrial park almost 30 years ago. Both wines have gained Vlossak and his Willamette Valley winery a place in the national spotlight within the past three years.

Vlossak, a wine importer’s son who has been drinking wine since he was seven, decided to get in the winemaking business when he read a Bon Apetit Magazine article where Andre Tshelishev said, “the greatest sparkling wine in America will be made in Oregon, not California, because it is the right place to grow Pinot noir and Chardonnay, the grapes of Champagne.” Continue reading St. Innocent Winery gets a national spotlight