May 082015
 

What methodology do you use to help you decide which wineries to visit when you are presented with a list of 42 wineries and you have two days? That was our dilemma last weekend when we decided to buy the Premier Pass for the Yakima Valley Spring Barrel Tasting. In spite of Gary’s inclination to just go down the list and visit all the wineries, it really would not be feasible and it would not be fun to rush the experience.

So we read and reread the Yakima Valley Spring Barrel Tasting website that described all the activities at all the participating wineries and decided that we were most interested in Owen Roe‘s “Hike the Hill”. First off, the activity was unique among those offered and it sounded fun and interesting, plus it started earlier in the morning than other wineries opened. To really clinch the deal, the weather was perfect – sunny with no wind.

Owen Roe Winery - 2015 Spring Barrel Tasting

Owen Roe Winery – 2015 Spring Barrel Tasting

We got a later start than we’d planned (no surprise) and arrived at the winery after the first group of hikers had already ascended the hill. To pass the time while we waited for them to return, Gary took a few photos, we sampled a couple of wines, and I chatted with co-owner Angelica O’Reilly. It was obvious that some of the children around the tasting room were hers and I found out we have a lot in common. She and David have 8 children, we have (only) 7, and they are homeschooling, which we also did for many years. Their main base of operation is in Oregon but they also spend a significant amount of time here in Washington. They also have the opportunity to travel now and then so homeschooling allows them to take school with them wherever they go.

Owen Roe Winery - 2015 Spring Barrel Tasting

Owen Roe Winery – 2015 Spring Barrel Tasting

At last David O’Reilly finished the first tour and was ready for the second. It was immediately clear that this guy really is passionate about the soil and geology of his vineyards. I think from the bottom to the top of the hill we were shown at least four distinct soil types, each one ideally suited to a certain variety of grape. Even a novice like me was able to see the changes in the ground as we ascended the hill, from mostly dirt at the bottom, to mostly rocky at the top. At two particular spots on the hike, the winery crew poured samples of wine that were produced from the grapes grown on that block of the vineyard. If you see that Owen Roe is giving vineyard tours in the future, I recommend you make the time to participate. It’s fascinating and informative.

Owen Roe Winery - 2015 Spring Barrel Tasting

Owen Roe Winery – 2015 Spring Barrel Tasting

After the hike, Gary and I continued through the tasting offerings in the tasting room. There must have been 8 or 9 wines offered for tasting that day, plus for the early birds they had coffee and pastries. Later they served up some deli meats and cheeses – yes, we hung around that long!

We enjoyed all the wines, but came home with two – 2012 Ex Umbris Syrah, and 2013 Malbec that I’m planning to keep in the cellar for awhile. I have great hopes that a little bit of age will do some nice things to it.

Owen Roe Winery - 2015 Spring Barrel Tasting

Owen Roe Winery – 2015 Spring Barrel Tasting

Visiting Owen Roe was an excellent way to begin our Spring Barrel Tasting Weekend, and I would recommend you drop in when you are in the Yakima, Washington, area.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

(required)

(required)