A taste of wine country

The weather forecast was for rain all this week, so yesterday's surprising burst of sunshine made it all the sweeter when Lori and I and our longtime friends, Elsa and Tom, joined us for a picture-perfect day in Oregon's wine country.

We followed a rural two-lane road from Portland to Newberg, marveling at the brilliant fall foliage and pastoral scenes, as we made our way to Yamhill County, epicenter of the state's wine industry. We were headed for Adelsheim Vineyard, one of the first handful of wineries that in the past 40 years has grown to more than 400, according to the Oregon Wine Board.

Why Adelsheim? Six months earlier, I was the winning bidder on a silent auction item to benefit The Dougy Center, the Portland-based nonprofit that supports grieving children and their families after the death of a parent or sibling. Along with two bottles of wine, the package included four complimentary wine tastings.

We took our time sampling a flight of five wines -- an excellent chardonnay and four varieties of pinot noir, Oregon's signature grape -- and then drove back into town for a delicious lunch at The Dundee Bistro.

Forty years ago, Lori and Elsa were college roommates as freshmen at San Jose State. Tom would soon become Elsa's boyfriend. I didn't meet Lori until our senior year. We've been together ever since and the two of us couples have maintained a wonderful friendship over the decades, each of us raising three adult kids in Portland.

Even if it had rained, it wouldn't have taken away one bit from Sunday's relaxing outing. That it stayed dry made it all the better.


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