Snow, Rain & Wine

Three things I inevitably – and sometimes joyfully – look forward to each winter is snow, rain & wine. Unless one of the three stop me from enjoying the others, such as with this photo. I attempted to take my family out wine tasting while they were in town last weekend, yet the weather like a mean step-sibling, howled, blowed and snowed us out of the delicious warm tastings we so desired. But stuck in the snow trying to reach one of my favorite vineyards, I still snapped this awesome stormy photo.

Blizzard Vineyard

Top Posts of 2011

Thank you for all of the support this year. I have enjoyed sharing my travels, adventures, photos and thoughts with all you and look forward to another great year as the Joyful Shoehorn continues to grow.

Leaping into 2012

Thanks to your views, comments & likes here are my top posts of 2011:

1. The Final Leap – Jumping Covered Bridges

The big hurrah-hurrah and last two freeze-frame jumping photos to finish off my almost two-year long journey to visit each of the Covered Bridges of Lane County.

2. How to Survive Winter in the Pacific Northwest

11 Tips to get over the rain, wind and constant gray-ish gloom of the Pacific Northwest.

3. Buick Tweet House Road Trip: King Estate

The first leg of my road trip to Napa with the Buick Tweet House crew for the Napa Valley Film Festival. Sipping delicious wine and savoring fantastic food, the first stop of the trip featured Oregon’s largest winery, King Estate.

4. Tasting Wine Older than Me

Sampling wine nearly twice my age at the Buick Tweet House in Napa. From a rich, earthy 1974 Cabernet Sauvignon to a delicate yet sweet 1976 Riesling, this is one tasting experience I will never forget – no matter  my age.

5. How NOT to Cook Nachos

One of my many mishaps in the kitchen. (It makes me smile that this is one of my top posts of year – lol)

6. Best Photos of 2011

A review of my favorite photos from 2011 since I started my blog in April.

7. Worry-Free Waterfalls

Hiking adventure in Oregon to visit three waterfalls just outside the small town of Dorena. Just remember to fill that gas tank before exploring back country roads!

8. Jumping Covered Bridges – McKenzie River

Ventured deep into the McKenzie River valley to jump at two covered bridges as part of my Covered Bridges of Lane County tour.

9. Elijah Bristow State Park: The Ugly Step Child

This muddy and barren State Part just outside of Eugene may not be the pretty site for recreation, but I can find an adventure under any boring rock.

10. Cheers to Being Single

Hey, sometimes it not that bad being alone!

Thanks for hanging in there for the first year at the Joyful Shoehorn

Also here are my top photo posts based on views for 2011:

  1. Eugene Christmas Lights
  2. Best Photos of 2011
  3. Gluten Free Banana Blueberry Muffins
  4. Over the River and through the Fog
  5. Voluntourism in  Cape Town
  6. A Beautiful View Even When Lost
  7. Cold Feet in Eugene
  8. I’m an Aunt!
  9. Planking at the Oregon State Capitol
  10. Oregon Winter Trees

Cheers to an exciting new year!

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Wineries Without Walls

Bringing the wandering winos of Lane County in from the cold, Wineries without Walls at the Fern Ridge Chamber of Commerce spreads holiday warmth for palate pursuers around the area.

J. Scott and Noble Wines

In a cozy tasting space with a beautiful brown and black marbled counter balanced on top of wine barrels just 15 minutes west of Eugene, the Fern Ridge chamber visitor center showcases local bounty frequently less seen. Hosting local wineries without traditional tasting rooms and other special guest wineries, the chamber is connecting the consumer to some of the area’s smaller wineries and wine makers.

I popped over to Veneta last Saturday before the big University of Oregon vs. USC football game to sample, sips of J. Scott Cellars and Noble Estate Vineyards‘ wines. Two stellar, small wine producers with drastically different tasting line ups – the samples featured some of the best varieties of the Willamette Valley including Pinot noir and some lesser known types including J. Scott’s Viognier and Roussane.

I like making wines that people don’t always taste in this area, described Jonathan Oberlander, the winemaker, when asked about his wine variety. A range that I greatly appreciated and that other visitors seemed to enjoy as well.

There is still time this season to taste some new wines before the holidays. Stop in for a sip and savor the local wonders of Oregon wine.

Upcoming Wineries without Walls Tastings at the Fern Ridge Chamber of Commerce:

November 25, 2011

  • Friday, 2-6pm
  • Grand opening and wine tour weekend. Enjoy tastes from three winemakers: Kandarian Wine Cellars, Spencer Creek Vineyard and Abbelone Vineyard

November 26, 2011

  • Saturday, 2-6pm
  • Taste Abbelone Vineyard, William Rose and Kandarian Wine Cellars

December 3, 2011

  • Saturday, 2-6pm
  • Wine tasting with 5H.

December 10, 2011

  • Saturday, 3-6pm
  • Celebration of the release of the Territorial Wine Trail map. Ribbon cutting at 4pm. Enjoy tastings by Stanton Vineyard and Kandarian Wine Cellars along with music and food.

December 17, 2011

  • Saturday, 4-6pm
  • Wine tasting with 5H.

December 23, 2011

  • Friday, 2-6pm
  • Last day the wine shop is open for the year. Taste samples of Cottonwood Winery.

Fern Ridge Chamber of Commerce – 24949 Highway 126  Veneta, OR – (541) 935-8443