Wine, volcanoes and skinks–Oh My!

Skink tails!  Mt.Adam’s hikes!  Volcanic eruptions!  Oregon’s summers provide the BEST conditions for great conversations. A few fun friends, a fabulous wine ambassador and snacks, made our visit to Montinore awesome!

From Montinore Vineyard, ur wine ambassador, Angela pointed out that we could see a number of mountain off in the distance.  The patchwork of fields and rolling hills with snow capped peaks silhouetted by a blue sky exponentially increased the tasting experience.

Vanessa was raving about her complimentary tasting of L’Orange when we arrived.  This vineyard rewards those who show up on time.  Bright and zesty, this perfectly matches Vanessa’s effervescent personality!   The slight orange color is created when Pinot Gris grapes have contact with skin during the fermentation process.

img_0418Teri loved the sparkling wine with started with.  Simply put, it tasted like summer in a bottle!

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We went on to enjoy an Almost Dry Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pino Rose, Pinot Noir, and a “divine nectar” called Ruby.  Ruby would pair perfectly with Lava Cake topped with fresh raspberries!

Lazy Thursday July afternoons and stunning views provide the perfect soil for conversations that nurture friendships. Our wine ambassador shared that that Mt. Saint Helen’s eruption had covered the property with ash in the 1980s.  Though the land had been farmed since the early 1900s, with the addition of volcanic ash, soil experts encouraged the owners to plant grapes.

Each of us had a memory of what we were doing during the time when St. Helen’s blew. As a middle schooler living in the Cascade Mountain range, I remember being terrified about possible activity nearby.  The Lava Cast forest, Cinder Butte, and Lava River Caves were field trip destinations at one point in my early childhood so I’m sure I knew facts but I had also see the trailer to too many scary B movies that teased my imagination with just enough to make me think of a explosive possibilities.

With a seemingly endless supply of lava rocks, many homes in Central Oregon incorporate lava rocking the landscaping.  During the warm days, lazy lizards (aka skinks) lounge in places that catch the sun but also allow the to be caught by kids.  We had a long discussion about the life expectancy of skinks as Vanessa’s son once told her that it takes seven years for a tail to grow back once lost.

Montinore is a certified organic and biodynamic winery.  In a place that holds sustainable, earth friendly practice in such high regard, it seemed a little naughty to be talking about all of the lizard tails we’d accidentally removed as we tried to catch lizards as kids.

Kids in Oregon, back in the 1900s, could have endless hours of adventure just by exploring Oregon.  Adults in Oregon today, can also have endless hours of adventures just by exploring.  We are made for community so it’s not surprising that on our adventure today we made a new friend.  One of the people we met at the winery shared while she now considered Oregon home, she’d actually grown up in poverty in Missouri and Arkansas.  She qualified that living in poverty meant an outhouse, cooking on a wood burning stove and moving around a lot!  As an adult, she’d come on vacation to the Pacific Northwest and the beauty of the region plus the people made it feel  John Denver’s Coming Home.

Our new friend suggested the Panther Creek hike and Falls Creek Falls hike near Mt Adams in the  Mount Adams Wilderness Area which clearly showed that her love of the area expanded beyond Oregon to Washington state as well.

On our way out, we met a woman who transforms wine bottles into candles. The back of her Subaru was packed with empty bottles.  I love crafting but I’ve been diligently drinking in oder to stock up my cork or empty bottle collection.  Who knew you could just ask for the empties!?!

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Intersting Asides:

Kids?  There was a quiet tween in the tasting room this time.

Pets? While I recently visited with friends, this time my book group READ the sign posted about the number of wild animals on the property that make it unsafe for domestic animals so pets should stay at home.

Restrooms?  The beautifully air conditioned well stocked restrooms are also educational.  There was time in my home when our bathroom had spelling words and maps posted in the restroom so kids could multitask.  In order to grow my vocabulary,  I would like to get a poster like the one displayed in this wonderfully clean restroom.

If you are looking for a special place to grow your relationships, check out Montinore .

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