Finnriver Farm & Cidery Black Currant

by Brett Konen

Finnriver Farm and Cidery’’s Black Currant is a liqueur rooted in brandy, made by a farm-based cidery and masquerading as…


Famous Floridian and celebrated former NFL quarterback Dan Marino is a big fan of Washington wine. A man of many years on the road, Marino came across the Bordeaux-style blends from the state on opposing ends of the country and began to gauge the interest around him for a partner in a Washington winery.

Two generations, two states and two estates—the Fries family first broke ground on their passion for wine in Oregon’s Dundee Hills AVA in 1984. The property transformed over the next few years—with a planting of a 13-acre vineyard to make “house wine” to producing 1,000 cases with the first vintage as Duck Pond Cellars in 1993.

Bend Beer Chase—June 6, Bend, OR || Bar hopping + relay race, throw in a dash of scenic Central Oregon beauty, and you have the basic idea of the Bend Beer Chase. Split up into 12 legs, each leg ranging from 4-6 miles, with each leg spanning the distance between regional breweries. Teams can range from one to six members, depending on how crazy you want to get.

A trip through the Columbia River Gorge for a day of wine tasting usually finds the furthest destination at Maryhill Winery. But the distance hasn’t dismayed thousands of wine lovers from visiting its scenic location every year, helping to make it the 10th largest winery in the state of Washington.

Convenience and scenic beauty—it’s a wonderful combination. Located just 30 miles northeast of Seattle, the Woodinville Wine Country begins right off the highway, and ends in some of the most picturesque images in the world. Over the years, the secret has seeped out, leading Woodinville, Washington to become one of the most visited wine regions in the Pacific Northwest.

Tasting room culture is a complicated thing. In my years of visiting tasting rooms, I’ve seen everything from drunken pregnant women to dude-bros promising to “crush that Cab” to soft-core pornography, plus mention more “Sideways” references than I can possibly count. Okay, so maybe it’s not quite as complicated as that: lots of people like to drink wine, and a whole host of industries have sprung up to facilitate that.

Once a flavoring found only among Italian royalty, balsamic vinegar is today a modern household staple. The dark, sweet and tangy vinegar is revered for its rich color and taste and for its versatility in many dishes. Unfortunately, most of the bottles of balsamic that you’ll find on grocery store shelves aren’t balsamics at all. (If you’re paying under $20 a bottle, it’s probably an imposter.

The concept of orange wine is simple. Through extended skin maceration, in which the juice of the grape has longer contact with the colored skins, the juice takes in some of that color and flavor with it when pressed off. A simple task in theory, but a difficult end product to pull off successfully. Orange wines are more often than not made from white wine grapes (that do not have white skins) and are dry, but the result can be funky and off-putting.

“There’s no limit to the imagination,” says John Stuart. We gaze up at a trio of steel grain storage bins rising against a backdrop of bluebird sky. These former “Butler bins” and the 82-acres of rolling farmland rippling out from them are part of Stuart’s destination bed and breakfast, Abbey Road Farm, in the heart of the Willamette Valley.

In 2003, Stuart and his wife Judi left successful careers in Las Vegas for a simpler life.

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