Pacific Rim
July 14, 2020 | Pacific Rim

What to Bring on a Picnic Date

Whether you are planning a romantic date or getting together with friends and family, picnics are a great way to gather over a shared love of food and wine while enjoying nature. Planning the perfect picnic is easy with these wine and cheese picnic ideas.

Wine and cheese enjoyed in the fresh air on a picnic blanket can be pure bliss. Some would say these are picnic date essentials! Pinot Noir Rosé can be paired with a semi-soft cheese such as Gruyère, Havarti, or perhaps Monterey Jack. These cheeses will be perfect served on a crispy baguette or toast crackers. Pack pasta salad or some smoked salmon on toasted bread or crackers for a perfect meal.

One of our favorite wine and cheese picnic ideas is Pinot Gris with Chevre to spread on a baguette or even some fresh Mozzarella and basil. Pack a couple of juicy peaches or cut up melon to compliment the wine and cheese. You could even include a homemade lemon dessert (lemon bars...mmm).

Be sure to chill the wine in advance and don’t forget the less glamorous (but still important) of the picnic date essentials - ice packs or frozen water bottles in the bottom of your basket will help to keep the wine chilled on a warm day. Cover the water bottles or ice packs with a tea towel and put items that need to be kept chilled at the bottom.

Whether you picnic at an orchard, the summit of your hike, or a local park, you can enjoy these wine and cheese picnic ideas! Keep it simple with a basket and a blanket or go all out with games, flowers, a speaker to play music. However you do it, you will want the drinks and food to be the main attraction.

Pacific Rim
July 14, 2020 | Pacific Rim

What Is the Best Beginner Wine Book?

It's a good time to get into something new. If you've always meant to become a wine aficionado but never had the time, then now's the moment. What's the best way to start, though? The best beginner wine books tell you about how different wines are made, the history of different varietals, and how you can start appreciating all of them more. Here are the best books that teach you wine for beginners:

A woman reading one of the best beginner wine books with a glass of red wine in the foreground

The Wine Bible: Karen MacNeil has been praised from all corners for her incredibly interesting and even more entertaining take on wine. It's more than 1,000 pages long, but it's only daunting until you open to the first page. “The Wine Bible” is written to be taken in bite-sized chunks. It weaves together practical information about wine, tasting qualities, and pairings with anecdotes the world over. That means you can read it as you wish, jump around to what you find interesting, and visit what you need to know when you need to know it.
Wine Folly: Magnum Edition – The Master Guide: This much more serious title reflects a somewhat more serious take on wine for beginners. Written by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack, the book acts like a winery tour of the entire world. It's great for those who like to pore over maps and compare information about different regions. It also includes an incredible selection of wine and food pairings. It's one of the best beginner wine books for those who want to geek out over information and have access to a load of pairing ideas.
The New Wine Rules: This is a book that speaks best to younger generations. Author Jon Bonne throws out many older and stuffier rules about wine. It seeks to make wine knowledge fun, and focuses on wine as something to experience more than talk about. If you believe wine should be enjoyed today rather than gathering dust in a cellar, Bonne's “The New Wine Rules” is the beginner wine book for you.
Exploring Wine: Do you already have good knowledge about cooking? Are you considering pursuing a career in wine? Read The Culinary Institute of America's “Exploring Wine”. It explains the basics of wine like these other books. Then it dives into the wine industry, teaching you everything from production to marketing and services. It gives you a detailed window into the business of wine as well as the enjoyment of it.
Wine: A Tasting Course – Every Class in a Glass: This book by Marnie Old helps those who want to structure their education about wine. It's an easy and entertaining read, and it's organized in a way that will help someone pick up a bit of new knowledge every day. 

Pick up your favorite wine for beginners book - and a glass of your favorite wine - and learn!

Pacific Rim
July 14, 2020 | Pacific Rim

6 Best Picnic Spots in Oregon

It's hard to think about picnics under stay-at-home orders. However, National Picnic Day is April 23, and it's looking like some of the best picnic spots in Oregon this year will be our backyards and balconies. Yes, it's healthy to still go out hiking and enjoy a picnic, but please make sure you use the trail user social distancing recommendations. If and when you do venture out, these are some of the best public places in Oregon to enjoy some fresh air and good picnic wine:

Two glasses of good picnic wine amidst a spread of delicious picnic food

Astoria Column: This tower is a unique monument, and the 30-acre city park that surrounds it makes for a stellar picnic site. You can look down to the town of Astoria and the mouth of the Columbia River from Coxcomb Hill.
Bradley State Scenic Viewpoint: There are many superb views of the Columbia River Gorge, but this viewpoint west of Clatskanie is one of the best.
Hoyt Arboretum: Here you'll find 190 ridge-top acres, each more beautiful than the last. There are 12 miles of hiking trails here. One thing that really helps for Portlanders is that it's so close to downtown. It features trees and shrubs from six continents, so you really will find something here you can't find anywhere else in the state.
Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach: This area is popular with tourists and locals for a reason. It features a long stretch of gorgeous seashore. Make sure to stay warm as the ocean weather keeps it cool here year-round, and keep an eye out for the seagulls making off with whatever they can.
Lithia Park, Ashland: All of Ashland could count as a gigantic scenic area (really, all of Oregon could). Lithia Park is a beautiful feature in it. The 90-acre park features duck ponds, a Japanese garden, and a rose garden, among other features.
Cape Perpetua Scenic Area: This protected area along the rugged Oregon coast features a number of awe-inspiring overlooks. The forested hills dive straight into the sea here in a world that feels straight out of fantasy.

These are truly the best picnic spots in Oregon, but you'll find some of your favorites tucked away in places both familiar and wild.

Whether you enjoy a picnic while following social distancing recommendations, or wait a bit, none of this prevents you from thinking about the future. Planning ahead can help sustain us through tough times. Imagine where you want to go when these days have passed, and imagine what you want to do, from drinking good picnic wine to your favorite hikes!