Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm & Vineyards Bloom Together in Woodburn – This Is Oregon

We tend to forget that the Willamette Valley wine region covers more than the regions surrounding Newberg, Dundee and Carlton. If you’re willing to take the time to head to places like Woodburn, Mount Angel and Yoder, you’ll find gems like Wooden Shoe Vineyards.

I recently visited their tasting room for the first time in the middle of a sprawling tulip farm. I was impressed by the charm of the setting and the welcome of my hosts. They also make some great wines there, so head east.

Wooden Shoe Vineyards is best known for: When I asked this question, I was seated with Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm President Barb Iverson Karen Bever, Iverson’s sister and founding farm member Jeanna De Risio, Tasting Room Manager of Wooden Shoe Vineyards, and Carole Ream, Tasting Room Associate.

They simultaneously replied “albariño”. Wooden Shoe offers a quiet, bubbly version of the albariño, each selling for $22. The wines are made for Wooden Shoe by Sean Allen, the talented winemaker/owner of nearby Pudding River Wine Cellars.

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Current “must try” version: 2018 The Dark Queen ($70 for 500ml., which includes a pack of locally made chocolate truffles).

The other night I drove into the tasting room to watch bottles of this 50-50 blend of Maréchal Foch and port syrah style wine being sealed with wax. The after-dinner treat features rich, thick aromas and flavors of bittersweet dark chocolate, dark cherries, cassis, caramel and mild tobacco leaf. It is absolutely perfect with the accompanying truffles.

At 20% alcohol by volume, The Dark Queen is also great to cuddle up to on a cold winter night. Just be sure to sip responsibly.

Innovation: Wooden Shoe Vineyards exists largely through adaptation.

Nearly 15 years ago, the Iverson family learned that the state legislature could restrict events such as weddings from being held in areas set aside for agricultural use. Fortunately, there would be a cut exception: wineries. Lo and behold, Wooden Shoe Vineyards was born.

This innovative combination has proven successful as the Iversons sell around 90% of their annual production of 1,200 cases at their Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival. The next festival will run from March 17 to April 30, with online-only tickets on sale March 1.

Story: The Iverson family farming story begins in 1950 with hops and kidney beans. Over the decades they added over 100 crops, including their famous tulips.

Jon Iverson had just completed a degree in crop and soil science from Oregon State University in Corvallis when he ran the family’s vineyard-planting operation in 2009. The Iversons initially planted pinot noir, Maréchal Foch, Albariño and a small selection of table grapes such as Diamond Muscat, Flamme and Jupiter.

In 2012, the Iversons collaborated with Allen to craft their first Wooden Shoe Vineyards wines. In 2020, the family replaced the Flame vines with Tempranillo and Pinot Gris. They now have 12.2 acres planted with grapes, with all sites located within a mile of the tasting room.

What we don’t know: It was an easy answer for De Risio. “That we have a vineyard. People come here and always say, “We didn’t know you were growing grapes,” De Risio said.

Biggest success so far: “Creating moments for farm visitors,” Iverson said. Calling the tulip farm “a bright spot,” Iverson noted that she’s proudest of the souvenirs her visitors take home.

The annual Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival attracts 130,000 to 200,000 visitors a year, so that’s a lot of memories.

I’m sure one of those memories is visiting the vineyards among the tulips. It’s hard to tiptoe through the tulips with a crisp, dry glass of albarino in your hand, bubbly or otherwise.

Last book read: “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt” by Edmund Morris, which Iverson described as “excellent”.

Or buy: Given the beauty of the road and the farmhouse-style hospitality, I recommend purchasing your wines from Wooden Shoe Vineyards in person at their tasting room.

Otherwise, you can find their wines at Portland Wine Merchants, Harvest Fresh Grocery & Deli in McMinnville, Roth’s Fresh Markets in Silverton, and Bailey Hill Market in Eugene.

Head to the Joel Palmer House in Dayton or the MarKum Inn in Mount Angel to enjoy Wooden Shoe Vineyards wine by the glass or bottle in a restaurant setting.

10 a.m.-4 p.m., daily, 33814 S. Meridian Road, Woodburn, Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm & Vineyards, woodshoevineyards.com Where [email protected].

— Michael Alberty writes about wine for The Oregonian/OregonLive. He can be reached at [email protected]. To learn more about its coverage, go to oregonlive.com/wine.

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