The Wandering Wino Blog

Oregon Wine Country


40 Chevy Truck

Truck and Barn

Rustic elegance might be the best way to describe the on-set of a recent Eugene Oregon excursion I took through wine country. Our wine blogger conference excursion group was courted by some great people from  Eugene Cascade Coast and AMTRAK. This historic restored 19th century barn is the home to Heidi Tunnell Catering Company. Heidi may live in a small town, but this is no run of the mill catering as she took home the title of Iron Chef OR in 2011.

Eugene OR Heidi Tunnell Wines

We were happily greeted in the barn by Heidi and a cold glass of bubbles on an unusually hot afternoon. She shared about how the property was purchased by her grandfather for 50 cents an acre. At one time the farm was 1,000 acres, but down now down under a 100. The 1939-ish Chevy truck was also Heidi's grandfathers and now brings a rural historic vibe to this top notch iron chefs farm.

Eugene OR Bubbles

Eugene OR BLT

While we sipped local small producers of artisan wines, we nibbled on some fine finger foods. Heidis' style embraces local farmed/raised foods. The photo above shows off her cured bacon, tomato, lettuce, and mayo sandwich. Take note, that bacon did not come from the grocery store. 

Eugene OR Chef Barn

Eugene OR Blue Cheese & Pecan Cracker

The elegant delectables just kept coming out, including blue cheese and pecan cracker of their own farm raised beef with caramelized onion aioli while we drank a Capitello Pinot Noir. The local foods and wines were a fantastic kick-off in rustic elegance. Next stop, King Estate.

Eugene OR Kings Barrel

Eugene OR King Estate Vineyard

Eugene OR King Vineyard

As the bus approached the King Estate, one could not help thinking of such an appropriate name due to the size and gandjeur of this beautiful vineyard. We recieved a warm greeting by Elizabeth the wine club/sales manager for King Estate and a very nice welcome that included their refreshing Pinot Gris and a fantastic cheese plate.

Eugene OR King Cheese Plate

Eugene OR King Wine

Elizabeth showed us the palace estate, Oregons largest certified organic vineyard at just over 1,000 total acres. 

Eugene OR King Patio

Eugene OR Kings Picnic

The shear size of the winery combined with its beauty was impressive. The Kings restaurant overlooks vineyards with both indoor and outdoor seating.

Eugene OR Kings Tank Room

Eugene OR Kings Tanks

Eugene OR Kings Barrels

When it comes to barrel rooms, this one has to go on a list of pretty barrel rooms within the US. 

Eugene Kings Barrels

Jason lifting barrel

Jason on our tour even offered to replace the fork lift.

Eugene OR Kings Tower

For those willing to brave the four story flight of stairs were rewarded with a 360 view of the winery. About half of us didn't think twice and moved quickly to take a peak. Along the way hundreds of library wines could be seen lining the walls.

Eugene OR Kings View

We were then shown to the elegant restaurant offering locally grown organic ingrediants. Looking at this menu the evening just seemed to be getting better.

Eugene OR Kings Menu

Eugene OR Kings Crab Cakes

The crab cakes at Kings restaurant were amongst the very best bites placed before me while in Oregon and on the short list for favorite crab cakes.

Eugene OR Kings Tuna

Eugene OR Kings Bar

Eugene OR King Tasting Room

After only our first fantastic day in Southern Oregon wine country, one might have to ask why they hadn't visited sooner. It simply brought on an increased excitment for what else was still yet to come.

Day Two: Off to Pfeiffer for Robin Pfeiffers Pinot Clinic. 

Eugene OR Pinot Clinic

Pinot Noir is a wine that can be very exciting and hearing that we would be treated to a "Pinot Clinic" simply got attention. 

Eugene OR Pfeiffer Tasting Room

Eugene OR Pfieffer Winemakers

Our tour was welcomed by the Pfeifers out front of their tasting room. Our gracious hosts provided insights to the history of the family sheep ranch that was once active during Robins' (on the left) childhood. Robin indicated that the coyotes won over the sheep and that a vineyard seemed more appealing. 

Eugene OR Dog

Eugene OR Pfeiffer Pinot Bottle

We were invited to enter the wine tasting room where we tasted several vintages of Pinot Noir, including their prized 2005 that was served in the White House. 

Eugene OR Robin Pfeiffer

One of Robins points of interest in his Pinot Clinic included how wine experts look at the color of wine through a candle to view it from all angles.

Eugene OR Pinot Candle

Eugene OR Pinot Candle

Eugene OR Pinot Clinic

Eugene OR Pfeiffer Merlot Cellar

After the Pinot Clinic, we were invited to the gorgeous vineyard grounds with Robin as he spoke about viticulture. This is an easy location to get trigger happy with a camera. They say a picture says a thousand words, and if that is true then this post might equate to Gone With The Wind or a Stephen King like novel.

Eugene OR Robin in vineyard 

Eugene OR Garden

Eugene OR Pond

Eugene OR Tree in pond

Eugene OR Picnic

Eugene OR Water Fall

After soaking up the wine and beauty of Pfeiffer Vineyards, it was time to head to Portland for the Wine Bloggers Conference. Our fun, entertaining winemakers saw us off.


Eugene OR Winemakers On Bus

Portland bound: from the Eugen train station. 

Eugene OR Train station

Eugene OR Train

Our train made its stop after traveling from Los Angeles and headed for Portland. Our group was exscorted on by Rose from AMTRAK and shown to a car for wine tasting.

Eugene AMTRAK Wine

Traveling by train through Oregon one looking out their window might catch some interesting sights certainly not seen in Los Angeles.

Eugene OR Train Window View

Eugene OR Train View

This was a well organized trip during the hottest days of the year. Fortunately with a combination of shade, correct temperture wines with a little a/c made for a nice trip through southern Oregon wine country. Thanks to Meg, Holly, and Rose for arranging a nice wine tour. I'll be back Eugene! 


  • gwendolyn alley
    Posted Saturday 25 August 2012 20:30
    Nice photos, Shane! You really captured the spirit as well as some of the "spirits" of the Pre-WBC12 Eugene excursion!
  • Michele Carreira Haid
    Posted Sunday 26 August 2012 00:19
    Great pictures Shawn! I love your photography. Brought me right back to the beauty of Eugene. We really enjoyed meeting you, and look forward to our next WBC.
  • Wandering Wino
    Posted Monday 27 August 2012 00:07
    Thanks so much Gwendolyn and Michele. It was a fun trip! Hope to see you both in wine country again soon!
  • Frank Morgan
    Posted Monday 27 August 2012 02:52
    Excellent photos, Shawn! I will expect lessons the next time I see you. The Willamette Valley and surrounding areas are easy to miss, eh? See you in Penticton!
  • Shannon Jones
    Posted Monday 27 August 2012 03:08
    Shawn, what a fabulous recap in words and pictures! Love your photography!! Was so fun hanging out in Oregon! Cheers!
  • Wandering WIno
    Posted Monday 27 August 2012 18:14
    Much appreciated Frank! I get lucky every now and again :-) I would have loved to have spent more time wandering between Eugene and Portland through Wilamette. Shannon you are way too kind! It was a lot of fun for sure!

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