I hope that everyone has had a Happy Thanksgiving. We went to family had had a wonderful time. In fact, the whole week has been wonderful except for emergency purchases of a new washer and computer (all in one week, but in time for Black Friday deals.)
We had two fun trips to Wine Tasting and Olive Oil Tasting at some wonderful vineyards and olive groves right here in Oregon. We are members of a wine club at a local winery, which has wonderful wines. We go there frequently for lunch and wine tasting. The olive grove was new to us. I had frequently thought that olives could grow here, but only recently learned of commercial olive groves nearby. And we did both last weekend.
The Willamette Valley Vineyards are right here in Salem. They sit atop some of the hills on the edge of our town. The vineyards cover the south and western slopes while the winery commands a breathtaking view of the Willamette Valley. The winery hosts wine tasting, lunches and events (like the grape stomp a couple months ago. This time they had wine tasting with some of their best wines. We went for lunch and the wine tasting. Here are a few pictures.
The first image is of wine bottles on one of the tables with rainy vineyards outside. The wine tasting and banquet room were filled with people. Everyone gathered around the wine tasting tables to taste the different wines. My last image from the winery is our own table with the wonderful cheese and fruit plate that we had for lunch. Of course, we took home several bottles of wine, buth for ourselves and to take for Thanksgiving dinner last Thursday.
The following day we went for olive oil tasting about a half hour away at an Olive Grove and olive mill at the Olive Mill at Red Ridge. We got to see the groves and olive oil presses (not at all like the old stone mills) If you think that olive oil all tastes the sam, you are sadly mistaken. Fresh olive oil has a spicy, green taste. We had learned this in Italy last spring. Here, we were offered three different types to taste and each was quite different from the other. Afterward we had the opportunity to have some brochette with tampenade and some wine. Of course, we bought both some olive oil and olive tampenade. (The tampenade is now gone.)
Here are several pictures from the Olive Mill. The olive groves are very young. The oldest trees are only 7 or 8 years old. Still, they have been able to make enough olive oil to sell. They have lost some trees, since olive trees are only moderately hardy to cold. Their trees were developed primarily in Spain, which are a little more cold hardy than those in the Middle East. They showed us the mill and olive production equipment. See the fresh green olives. Next you see the olive press. Next to the tasting room. They laid out tables with the three different types of olive oil available for sampling. The table was lovely. People gathered around to taste the olive oil and to have some olive snacks with brochette and wine. Back at home, we feasted on the olive tampenade topped with more olive oil and some seasoned salt (all of which we purchased at the mill.) I think that we will need to do this again soon.
We loved the olive tampenade, we are ready to go back for more after only one week. The olive oil we bought, is disappearing rather quickly, too.
I hope you have enjoyed this brief visit to these wonderful places. We had a wonderful time and are certain we will go back.