Visitors may think that after the hustle and bustle of the fall crush, our wineries would shut down once the last barrel was filled. But winter is an important period in the winemaking process. This time of year is called Cellar Season, and it provides the perfect opportunity to visit the tasting rooms throughout Mt. Hood Territory.
“I love cellar season for a lot of reasons,” said Chris Helbling, winemaker at Whiskey Hill Winery & Postlewait’s Vineyards. “The main reason is: As a winegrower and growing the grapes from which we make wine, it means the fruit is off the vines and safely tucked away in the winery.”
The slower pace of Cellar Season allows for more intimate connections with guests as well.
“I love talking to people in our tasting room!” said Chris. “During the summer, and then harvest and crush, things are so chaotic and fast moving that I don’t always get to be in our tasting room and make connections with people. I think wine tasting at a place where you get to talk to the person who grew the grapes, made the wine and is pouring is pretty cool. This has become a passion for myself and my family the last few years and we love sharing it with people.”
The rainy, Oregon winter days provide excellent opportunities to pair wines with this special time.
“There’s something special about the rains washing away all of the dirt and dust from the summer and rejuvenating everything,” said Chris. “Our favorite wines in the storm are usually reds, we make a Marechal Foch and a Leon Millot that are cool climate French hybrids that are low in acid, very fruity and go great with dark chocolate!”
Whiskey Hill Winery also produces a true Willamette Valley syrah, which they source from the oldest syrah vineyard in Oregon at St. Josef’s Winery, right next door.
“Also our Reliable Red Blend, which is a combination of Marechal Foch, Leon Millot, syrah and pinot noir,” said Chris. “And we never rule out some rosé though, rosé is just always yummy!”
In Mt. Hood Territory, 15 of our wineries are open during Cellar Season. View the map below and make sure to visit our lodging options for the best places to stay. And since most of these wineries are part of the Mt. Hood Territory Wine Trail, download the free mobile passport for great discounts.