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Learn More About Emerson Vineyard & Airlie Winery

Guest Author | 02/08/2018 | Breweries, Wineries & Distilleries, Itineraries, Winery

Experience Oregon Wine Country the way it was meant to be.

Small boutique wineries are family-owned destinations that reflect the natural beauty and diversity of the Willamette Valley. Nestled in the foothills of the Coast Range and Marys Peak, our sustainable vineyards enjoy the some of the most favorable grape growing conditions in the valley.

From Salem to Monroe, experience the Heart of Willamette Wineries, a prime destination for wine lovers. It’s a family affair – we’re the farmers, the winemakers, the storytellers and the hosts. Our passion and dedication to our vineyards and quality wines will be evident as you take your first sip and see the many awards on display in each tasting room. While Pinot Noir is our flagship wine you will find many serious whites and even a few other reds that are sure to please every palate. Relax at our venues, taste our wines, or bring a picnic – we know you’ll come back!

Two Heart of Willamette Wineries are Airlie Winery and Emerson Vineyards. Both are a short 20-minute drive located just north of Corvallis off highway 99W on Airlie Road. This valley was once part of Adair Army base during WWII. It was reclaimed after the war by farmers, and now the valley is filled with blueberries, grass seed and various crops, while the hillsides are home to Christmas trees, and more recently, wine grapes. The cool evening breezes that are channeled from the ocean through the Newport corridor make growing conditions almost perfect for our cooler climate grapes.

Emerson Vineyards

The first winery you will come across when you turn off 99W is Emerson Vineyards (map). The vineyard was started in 2002 and opened its tasting room in 2007. Emerson Vineyards is a multigenerational family winery on 127 acres in the low rolling hills of the coast range.

Tom, Jane and Elliott, and Jenny Johns value family, place, and hard work. They believe that the glow felt after a long day in the vineyard and the satisfaction of making something beautiful with their hands are some of life’s great rewards that they can share with you.

Twenty-seven acres are currently under vine at the northeast end of the property. Emerson Vineyards has been a Pinot Noir estate since its inception in 2002; almost 20 acres are planted to Pommard, Dijon, and Mariafeld clones of this noble varietal. The remaining acreage is comprised of a variety of grapes, including experimental plots of Viognier, Maréchal Foch, Baco Noir, Leon Millot, and Oberlin Noir. The winemaking philosophy is vineyard-centered. They believe that the key to world-class wines is not winery magic — it’s beautiful, carefully farmed grapes grown in the best possible conditions. The goal is to grow the best fruit possible. If they do that, the wines almost make themselves; they just take care of them.

They are not especially interested in overly extracted, oaky wines but believe that the best winemaking style is one that showcases the natural flavors of the grapes and the environs they are grown in — to that end they carefully monitor extraction and aging to make the most elegant wines possible.

The tasting room is located in the winery so you can see the whole operation at once. During harvest is when they are the busiest and you can observe all the activity. Current hours are noon to five daily.

Airlie Winery

Just down Airlie Road and around a corner is Airlie Winery (map). Founded in 1986, owner Mary Olson and winemaker Elizabeth Clark are dedicated to certified sustainable grape growing as part of an overall mission that extends to employees and customers alike. Choices abound in wine selections, with serious whites and elegant reds the overall theme. A Dry Pinot Noir Rosé, a sparkling classic brut, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Riesling made dryer in style, along with a blend of Seven White grapes appropriately named “7”, and Müller Thurgau round out the serious whites, while Pinot Noir, the classic Willamette Valley grape, and Maréchal Foch make up the elegant reds. From sweet to dry, from dessert to your toasts, Airlie has a wine for every palate.

During summer and fair weather Airlie offers outdoor tastings with a view of the vineyard and pond. It’s the perfect place for picnics and conversation. This winery is not just a stop along the way – it’s the perfect place to sit back and stay awhile. Pack your pooch and your friends and find some time to enjoy the fruits of the Willamette Valley.

Airlie is open Thursday through Monday, from 12pm to 5pm, or by chance or appointments. They're closed for regular hours late December through early March, but you can still make an appointment or catch them by chance.

Article by Tom Johns of Emerson Vineyards.

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