What a delightful experience at Red Ridge Farms today! I went on the 2-1/2 hour walking tour at Red Ridge Farms near Dundee. They are the home of the Oregon Olive Mill and Durant Vineyard which is apparently one of the founders of the Oregon wine industry. It was a bit rainy, however, it was still a great tour. It’s $40 per person and reservations and a credit card are required.
Our tour guide was Paul Durant who is the son of the owners. The tour started out in the gift shop and then on to the Olive press where we sampled 3 types of their olive oils-Spanish, Greek, and Tuscan. We then hiked up the hill to one part of their vineyard and sampled Pinot Gris and Rose. Then we hiked back down the hill to other sections of the vineyard and sampled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. I’m not a Chardonnay fan as they tend to be too “thick” and buttery for me. I was pleasantly surprised as the Chardonnay was “crisp” and lighter and what our tour guide described as “neutral.” Finally, we hiked up an extreme hill to return to the tasting room back by the gift shop. We sampled a platter of meats and cheeses and a glass of the wine of our choosing. I tried a bottle of the Pinot Noir from a different clone and region of their vineyard than what we had sampled earlier during the tour.
We learned a lot about the process of pressing olives into olive oil and the the importance of doing it as naturally as possible as opposed to adding chemicals. We were fascinated that the olive trees were doing as well as they were for such a rainy region of the country vs. hotter areas like Spain, Italy, and Greece. In their gift shop and their tasting room olive oil, wine, etc. can be purchased. They also have a wine club that ships wine or olive oil or both twice a year-fall and spring.
When we first arrived at Red Ridge Farms, there was a beautiful view from the parking lot/gift shop of the rows upon rows of grape vines.
One of the Spanish olive trees near the Olive Mill. We sampled the Spanish olive oil first. It was grassy and bitey with a burn in the throat at the end. It wasn’t my favorite. We then sampled the Greek olive oil. It was my favorite. It was more mellow with good flavor. Finally, we sampled the Tuscan/Italian olive oil. It was my 2nd favorite of the 3.
This is not the BIG hill at the end of the tour, however, it’s the initial hill down into the sections of the vineyard with the Pinot Noir vines on the left and the Chardonnay vines on the right. It was interesting to learn about the clones from France and California.
Rows of grape vines. In some sections of the vineyard they rotated plowing the ground between the vines and planting grass and clover between. They are a dry farm? and this keeps the soil as moist as possible.
I just realized that I forgot to take a photo of the new tasting room. It’s quite a nice set up and has a wonderful view of parts of the vineyard.
After the tour it was time for lunch so we stopped at Red Hills Market in Dundee. I had heard about this on Red Ridge Farm’s website from their Memorial weekend event. They had catered pizza and other goodies during the event.
We decided to sample a veggie pizza and an Italian sandwich. The pizza was delicious in its simplicity. It both looked and tasted delicious. It was primarily a margarita/peasant style style with a thin, flaky crust and the spring mix on top was interesting.
The Italian sandwich was quite delicious as well. The bread seemed homemade (similar to the pizza crust in some ways) and the salami, cheese, and spring mix were delightful with a dijon mustard on the bread.
At the tasting room at the vineyard, we had noticed that they sell a “soda” of their wines-chardonnay, pinot noir, etc. We didn’t try any, but noticed that the market had the chardonnay version. It was similar to a sparkling pear or apple and was a nice, unusual refreshment option.
While at the market, we purchased some peppered smoked salmon from Newman’s fish company. It was a bit pricey at $16, however, it was delicious for dinner atop fresh tortellini with Alfredo sauce. The shredded parmesan cheese and freshly ground pepper finished the dish off nicely. The Salmon was perfectly tender and the flavor was amazing! It would have paired nicely with a glass of chardonnay.