Those of you who know me will know that I really enjoy wine. And if you follow my other blogs (Swiss Miss Cooks and Swiss Miss Abroad), you will see that there is often wine included in my dinners (sometimes even in the food) and in my trips. I’m including this little side trip in my At Home blog because although we made a weekend out of it, you could easily do this as a day-trip, since Hood River is only an hour up the road.
We hit a decent number of wineries on this trip, including Cor Cellars, Syncline, Viento, and Mt. Hood Winery. I really like full-bodied Italian varietal reds, and the Hood River/Gorge area is great for growing those grapes. It’s also important to me to include wineries with Champagne or nice whites since those are a favorite of one of my traveling companions (love you, Aunt Penny!) and we always make sure there’s something for her.
It was a lot of fun to take this trip, even though Covid-19 was still in effect and there were restrictions. It was interesting to see how the wineries adapted to the restrictions and still enabled us to have a great tasting experience. When we were indoors, masks until seated, and outdoors we did don the masks when they were serving us. And due to the restrictions and social distancing, reservations are pretty much a must.
We started at Cor Cellars on this trip. They actually put us in a private tasting tent. This was really fun and an intimate setting, with a fantastic view! The seating options in the tent were varied, and they do have heaters for when it is colder. The private tents are an alternative to their tasting room and courtyard. And the tastings always start with a nice little glass of bubbly!
Our second stop on this trip was Syncline, and they are just down the road from Cor. We had a fabulous little table outdoors under the trees. It was a bit breezy out, but the sun was shining and no one was complaining! Syncline Winery also has some fantastic bubbles, made in the French tradition. Highly recommend you try if you make the trip out there.
After leaving Syncline, we stopped in Hood River for lunch at a small Mexican restaurant (had to satisfy my love for chile rellenos!) and then continued on to Hood River. We checked into our hotel to drop off our luggage and relax a bit. The hotel was a lot of fund we stayed at the Columbia Gorge Hotel. They had a family room for us where Aunt Penny got her own room, and mom and I stayed in an adjoining room with two beds, and we shared a bathroom between the rooms. This was a really fun option and made the rooms a bit more affordable. In addition, they have a fantastic little bar that offers live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Ted Horowitz entertains on the piano and guitar, and also live-streams on Facebook. And yes, he takes requests! We ate dinner in the bar that night, and they have some tasty salads, sandwiches, potato skins, etc.
The second day we were there we visited Mt. Hood Winery. This is another location with a really nice outdoor patio, and a fantastic view of Mt. Hood. There are some wonderful wines there, and the building is really pretty, too. And I highly recommend a visit to the art gallery in the ladies’ room, if you can swing that. Gentlemen, you’ll have to let me know if they have one in your restroom, too!
We had a very nice tasting at Cathedral Ridge after that, and it was a great experience. Some wonderful, full-bodied red wines, and a great little venue (we were inside for this one since the weather wasn’t great, and I’m glad because it hailed. That would have sucked).
We finished our tasting afternoon at Viento. This is a spot I really enjoy Rich is the winemaker and generally does our tastings, and it is a lot of fun to talk to someone so knowledgeable about the wines and to talk about what I like, what I don’t like, get recommendations… very fun. I highly recommend stopping by and seeing what he has to offer!
We had dinner at the hotel that night, and the food was fabulous. Pair that with the fact that we could hear Mr. Ted Horowitz on the piano in the bar, and it was quite enjoyable! After dinner we moved to the bar for more live music. We headed home the next day after breakfast at Betty’s in Hood River (cinnamon rolls the size of my head. Not kidding.), a little shopping in town, and a stop at Dickey’s Farm Store in Bingen. A really nice weekend, and I restocked my wine collection!
Stay tuned for more adventures in Hood River… I just finished planning another trip for late September with some new wineries added to the itinerary! If you have recommendations for wineries, restaurants, awesome farm stands, great hikes, live music, eclectic art, or anything else I need to see, taste, or do in Hood River, please share!