Monthly Archives: December 2021

Our 3 Favorite Wine Accessories…

It seems like there are a million wine gadgets…it can be a little overwhelming! Which ones actually matter when it comes to making your wine taste better?! Wine accessories should be all about practicality, ease, and helping the wine display it’s most optimum flavors and aromatics.

Our tasting room staff has voted, and  we’re going to share our ‘must have’ wine accessories  – the ones that won’t sit around collecting dust, will help your wines taste their best, and will

enhance your enjoyment of your favorite glass of wine!

Coravin Pivot

It’s hard to play favorites, but if there’s one wine accessory that’s been a total game changer for us, it’s the Coravin Pivot. Are you ever looking to enjoy just a glass of wine – but not the whole bottle? This unique wine preservation system allows you to enjoy a bottle of wine for up to 4 weeks after you open it. That way, you can enjoy your favorite wines – on your schedule. 

Each Pivot Plus Kit comes with one Coravin Pivot, 2 long lasting capsules of argon, and 2 Coravin wine stoppers. Simply uncork your bottle and insert one of Coravin’s proprietary wine stoppers. Then, insert the Pivot’s wine tube until you hear a “click” – and you’re ready to pour! When you press the button on your Coravin unit to pour the wine, your wine will automatically be gassed with argon. Once you’ve finished pouring, pull the Coravin out and simply replace the stopper’s cap. That’s it!

Don’t ever hesitate again to open the bottle of wine that you really want, just because you can’t commit to the whole bottle. The Coravin Pivot is the perfect device to let you keep enjoying your wine for weeks to come.

Vinaer Wine Aerator 

We all know wines taste best after they’ve been opened and given time to decant, but sometimes, you just need to crack open a bottle! Enter the Vinaer Wine Aerator’s. They’re already staple in our tasting room thanks to their ease and how many bottles we go through weekly…but they’ve become one of our favorite accessories to use at home, as well. Despite their small size, they boast over 7 functions and are sleek, easy to clean, and easy to pack on your favorite picnic or weekend getaway. 

Each decantiere significantly improves the flavor of your wine by instantly aerating and filtering it of any cork residue or sediment. It’s easy to use – simply uncork your wine, and pop the decantiere on top (and, it makes pouring easier, too!). If you want your wine to last a bit, simply leave the Vinaer Wine Aerator on top – it will ensure the wine into the next day!. The Vinaer is one of the easiest ways to make sure your glass of wine is tasting its best, at all times.

Laurel Ridge Wine Key

Two people laughing and enjoying a bottle of laurel ridge wine on the patio in the afternoon sun.

Finally – but certainly not least – is our very own Laurel Ridge Wine Key. It’s a classic, but hard to beat way to improve your wine drinking experience. Nothing is worse than struggling to get the foil off a nice bottle of wine…or even breaking a cork!

Our key functions as an all in one tool – it includes a long, sharp corkscrew, an attached foil cutter that slides out for easy foil cutting, and the floating axis allows you to easily lever against the cork to open your wine. Plus, it does have a bottle opener…not that we would ever advocate drinking anything but wine! They’re smooth and sleek, so you can have one for your kitchen drawer, one for your car, and even one for your purse! 

All of these favorite accessories can be found in our retail shop!  Whether you’re looking to step up your at home wine drinking for yourself, or for the perfect gift for a birthday or celebration, these wine accessories will be sure to delight. Cheers!


Selecting the Right Vintage of Pinot Noir for You…

Have you ever heard someone say they are “not much of a Pinot person”? While this statement may have some clutching their pearls (this is the Willamette Valley, after all!), I think almost everyone can find a Pinot Noir they connect with – but it’s a matter of selecting the right vintage! Pinot Noir is well known for its chameleon-like qualities – Pinot can express itself a million different ways. Using cues such as vintage (the year the fruit was grown) or terroir (the environment that produces a wine: climate, soil, vineyard, etc), you can find a Pinot that you love to drink.

We’re going to take a quick look at 3 of the Willamette Valley’s last vintages – 2016, 2017, and 2018. All three of these vintages produced wines that are delicious to drink now, or cellar – cool climate Pinot Noir’s will age wonderfully, particularly our Barrel Selects or Limited Reserve Pinot Noirs! But the dramatically different climate and growing seasons have produced very different characters in each vintage. Let’s take a look!


The 2016 growing season was nothing short of astounding, as an early bud break resulted in one of the earliest harvests the Willamette Valley has ever seen. Overall an early and warm spring, the summer nights were quite cool. Our harvest was picture perfect, despite lower than average yields. This would be considered a cooler growing season, as it was absent of any significant heat spikes and cooler evenings. 

The result is a refined, delicious, easygoing sort of Pinot Noir. These wines are characterized by balanced acidity, displaying a beautiful combination of red fruit, spice, and earth, with a refreshing mouthfeel. We frequently hear that people get notes of cherry cola from our 2016 Pinot’s! More medium bodied, these wines are so pleasing and would be perfect on their own, or ideal for a Pinot Noir traditionalist. Start with our 2016 Pinot Noir Cuvee – a blend of multiple vineyard sites, it’s the perfect easy drinker to enjoy over a cheese board with friends.


After a few years of early harvests, 2017 was much warmer, and marked a return to what could be considered Oregon’s traditional weather, and growing season. Our spring was rainy and cold, while summer was hot and dry, resulting in a mid-September harvest date. 

Our 2017 vintage reminds us of our 2015 vintage – these wines are juicy and fruit forward, with ripe red fruit notes of raspberry and cherry. Spices like cracked black pepper characterize the finish of these wines. Slightly more robust than some other Pinot’s (but still a comfortably medium bodied wine), this would be an ideal vintage to pair with a roasted pork loin or juicy Bleu Cheese burger (not that we discourage having a glass or two on its own!). If you’re looking for a perfect representation of our 2017 vintage, try our 2017 Barrel Select Pinot Noir


Oh, boy – where to start! 2018 was warm – by far the warmest of the three years we’re looking at today. And, it was a drought year, resulting in more stressed vines. Although mid-September rain helped to mitigate some of the intensity of the year, the spring and summer were both hot, and dry – and that intensity translated into the wine itself.

Due to the hotter growing conditions, these wines are bold, darker, and more powerful than previous vintages. They’re displaying a remarkable amount of maturity, despite their young age. Redolent with dark fruits like blackberry, currant, and more unusual spices like licorice, these are my go-to recommendations for people who enjoy Pinot’s with a “presence”, and are looking for more tannin and energy from their Pinot Noir. If you like a bold, dark fruit forward Pinot Noir – 2018 is your vintage. 

If you’re looking for a 2018 to start with, we’d recommend our 2018 Barrel Select Pinot Noir. The boldest vintage of the three we’ve talked about and the most tannic, enjoy a glass on its own if you prefer bolder reds, or pair it with a delicious tomato based pasta. 

So, which vintage of Pinot Noir are you starting with?! The subtle 2016’s, the juicy 2017’s, or the bombshell 2018’s? Or maybe one of each! If you can’t pick, come on out to the tasting room. We feature all three vintages on our tasting flights regularly and have multiple bottles available exclusively by Coravin pour.