Happenings & Musing from the Eola-Amity Hills.

Julian Elam
March 5, 2019

Whale Watching

While large cetaceans may not be among the first things that come to mind when planning a wine tasting trip, the Oregon Coast happens to be one of the best places in the world to spot whales. Every spring, 20,000 gray whales migrate north from Baja, Mexico to Alaska, passing the Oregon coast along the way. The deep waters of Depoe Bay are a particularly reliable whale-watching hub, located just an hour and 15 minutes southwest of the heart of wine country. On your way to the ocean, you’ll drive straight through the Van Duzer Corridor, a coastal valley crucial to the diurnal rhythms that help generate the distinctive acidity of the wines at Seven Springs Vineyard.



Spring is the ideal time of year to take a detour to the volcanic peaks of the Cascade Range, where late-season storms can deposit feet of powder before dissipating into bluebird skies that make for conditions straight out of a skier’s rêverie. Mt. Hood boasts the longest ski season in North America, with operations continuing through Memorial Day thanks to the stubborn snow of the Palmer Glacier on the 11,245-foot stratovolcano’s south flank. Meanwhile, Mt. Bachelor offers a cornucopia of dry powder and sunny days in Central Oregon’s high desert. The city of Bend, OR - only minutes away from the mountain - also offers a stimulating après-ski scene, replete with craft breweries, restaurants, and art galleries.   



The two colors visitors associate most prominently with Oregon tend to be green (for the state’s plentiful Douglas firs) and grey (for the wet weather). However, as winter begins to loosen its grip, a majestic abundance of hues blossoms everywhere from the alpine meadows of the Cascade Range to the urban parks of Portland. For a slightly off-the-beaten-path experience, visit Camassia Natural Area in West Linn, where glades of brilliant blue-violet common camas illuminate a rocky plateau. Further afield, the Mosier Plateau east of Hood River offers a stunning palate of yellow balsamroot and purple lupine blooms amidst golden grasses overlooking the Columbia River Gorge.



Even though spring in Portland can be quite wet, a few raindrops never get in the way of gastronomic indulgences. Luckily, the city has one of the most impressive concentrations of quality restaurants in the United States, and March happens to be Portland Dining Month. Throughout the month, chefs all over the city celebrate Portland’s culinary delights by offering unique 3-course meals for $33. This year, Evening Land favorites Davenport and Jacqueline are participating, along with a host of other top establishments. It’s a great opportunity to sample the cutting edge of Portland’s food scene on the cheap.  



Spring’s higher temperatures cause snow to melt high up in the mountains, feeding the Northwest’s numerous waterfalls, which surge and roar spectacularly at this time of year. Panther Creek Falls, located on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge, is a less-traveled, complex waterfall cascading 136 feet over two mossy tiers and easily accessible via a 1-mile hike. Hug Point Falls, located five miles south of Cannon Beach, is another hidden wonder. Though decidedly small at only 15 feet, this waterfall drops directly onto a wild and picturesque cliff-lined beach. Be sure to visit at low tide otherwise, you’ll find the beach covered by the frigid Pacific. 

Mar 5, 2019 at 8:03 AM
Julian Elam
February 28, 2019

The 2011 vintage began forebodingly but finished with panache. Referred to as a
“miracle” by many in the Willamette Valley, 2011 was a precariously late vintage by
many measures, yet Evening Land’s wines still blossomed into singular specimens with
great freshness and complexity.

Following an unusually cold winter, spring conditions finally arrived in June, and bloom did not occur until July. However, a warm September turned what could have been a catastrophic harvest into one of the most unique vintages we’ve seen here in the Eola-Amity Hills. Revisiting these wines eight
years later is a fascinating study in what makes our Seven Springs vineyard so special, for even in a
challenging year, the quality of place persisted and prevailed against all odds to produce a
delicate vision of our extraordinary vineyard.

2011 SSV Estate Chardonnay

Hailing in part from young vines, this bottling’s refinement belies the age of its source
material. Proffering a pale gold robe and a nose hinting at lemon, Evening Land’s 2011
Estate Chardonnay still courses with vitality in the mouth; citrus notes, brisk acid, and
saline pome fruit zip through a creamy texture and land on a long finish laced with
suggestions of chalk and minerals. Drink now.

2011 SSV Estate Pinot Noir

The 2011 Estate Pinot Noir is a wonderfully elegant cross-section of Seven Springs’
distinctive terroir that encompasses plantings from all over the vineyard. Derived
predominantly from old-vine, own-rooted Pommard and a blend of three other clones,
this wine has retained its freshness while developing a sophisticated complexity in its
maturity. In the glass, the cuvée’s rich red color has earned a subtle brick patina from its years in bottle. Opening expressively with some earthiness followed by cherry and spice on the nose, this wine demonstrates restrained and balanced vigor on the palate. Succulent acidity and salt work in concert with distinct traces of herbs, exceptionally smooth texture, and a lovely weight to attain a remarkable equilibrium of beguiling depth, energy, and purity. Drink now or revisit in another 2-5 years.

Feb 28, 2019 at 11:15 AM
Julian Elam
February 15, 2019


The only thing more synonymous with Portland than rain is coffee! We are as serious about great coffee as we are about great wine. 


What sets Heart apart from dozens of other Portland roasters is the meticulous and
unbending care lavished upon every detail at all stages of the coffee production process.
This devotion to the craft produces technical roasts of wonderful complexity and balance,
traits that are on full display in the café’s pour-overs and espresso drinks. The downtown
outside tables are also a great spot for people watching.


Fastidiously designed and sparsely furnished with pastel accents, Cloudforest is equal
parts art installation, chocolate factory, and coffee shop. Through a window near the
shop entrance, visitors can glimpse virtually the entire chocolate making process, from
roasting to packaging. At the bar, ask the barista for a luscious, umami-laden maple
drinking chocolate topped with sea salt and served in cheerfully colored ceramics sourced
from local artists. Indulge even further with a sumptuous house-made cookie, featuring
single origin chocolate from founder Sebastian Cisneros’ native Ecuador.

Feb 15, 2019 at 7:41 AM
Julian Elam
January 25, 2019

Our tour of favorites spots in Portland continues. This time, the Bars and Restaurants we love to frequent. 



It is quite simply the perfect restaurant. There's no better place to nestle into a table and feel like you are being fed rather than 'dining out'. Chef Katy Millard cooks soulful, thoughtful, nourishing food and the service and wine list are low-key brilliant. Make a reservation



It's a rare restaurant that places a menu in front of you and you seriously consider ordering the entire menu, top-to-bottom. Davenport is such a place. Where pristine ingredients are prepared in an honest, simple fashion. The printed wine list is brief and impressive. The 'unwritten' list inside proprietor Kurt Heilemann's head is unbelievable. The best option is to give Kurt a budget, a flavor profile, and your dinner order. Then sit back and let the remarkable wine come to you. Go see what we're talking about.


This Clinton Street seafood fixture is an underrated gem, though you’ll be hard pressed to find a table without a reservation on most days. Along with the blowfish wallpaper, a highlight here is the oyster happy hour, when the going rate for the Pacific Northwest’s freshest bivalves is only $1.00. If you’re simply starving, the chef-curated 6-8 course family dinner is one of the very best values in town, particularly when washed down with a quality cocktail or a bottle from Jacqueline’s small but judiciously selected wine list. Make a reservation


BARS (with food...good food)

Angel Face

Angel Face is a cocktail jewel box where the beautiful u-shaped marble top bar serves as the canvas for spirituous artistry. There is no traditional cocktail menu here. Instead, peruse the spirits list and consult bartender Leah Brown, who, upon even the most threadbare and inarticulate request, will employ her encyclopedic knowledge to craft a balanced and presciently mood-matching cocktail. With French-inspired dishes like duck confit and steak-frites, the food menu is a suitably sophisticated accompaniment to the bar’s refined creations. Sidle up to Angel Face.  


Hale Pele

Atmospheric and otherworldly, Hale Pele is the kind of bar where the passage of time goes unnoticed and the weather outside is quickly forgotten – for good reason. Stepping through the bar’s inconspicuous façade reveals a tiki temple, complete with pufferfish lamps, the occasional thunderstorm, and Hawaiian-shirted waiters bobbling fiery cocktail goblets whose flames lick dangerously at the thatched roof above.    



With an all-day, all-night happy hour, vodka flights, and a food menu featuring veal dumplings and caviar, Kachinka is a rolling Russia-themed party. Soviet propaganda posters adorn the walls, and the upbeat Russian pop soundtrack tempts many diners to dance in their seats.       

Jan 25, 2019 at 8:17 AM
Julian Elam
January 18, 2019


The Hoxton

A brand new addition to Portland’s Old Town, The Hoxton occupies a refreshed historic
building on Burnside next to the Chinatown Gate. Guests will find chic, affordable
rooms to go along with an unnamed basement bar serving Chinese food, a lobby-level
restaurant and bar featuring a menu heavily influenced by Mexican street food, and a
rooftop bar pouring mezcal cocktails against the backdrop of Portland’s downtown
cityscape. The hotel also hosts frequent events, such as yoga classes, brunches, and film
screenings. Book your room at The Hoxton.


The Woodlark is another recently completed hotel located right next to the Alder Street
Food Cart Pod and mere blocks away from Pioneer Square, Portland’s so-called living
room. Renowned Northwest chef Doug Adams’ restaurant Bullard graces the ground
floor, along with sister bar Abigail Hall and an outpost of local coffee chain Good
Coffee. Among other notable features: each room includes a Salt and Straw ice cream
menu. Schedule your stay at Woodlark

Jan 18, 2019 at 10:43 AM
Julian Elam
January 10, 2019

Part 2 of our Destination: Willamette Valley offers our favorite tasting rooms and vineyard vistas. While we love our Evening Land tasting room, when friends and family come to town, we happily play equal parts host and tourist. Below are a few of our favorites.



This collaborative Pinot Noir project started in 2011 by Burgundian winemaker Jean-Nicolas Méo of Domaine Méo-Camuzet and music entrepreneur Jay Boberg, strives to produce wines of freshness and elegance. The speakeasy-style Dundee tasting room is by-appointment-only, and the intimate setting – a tastefully decorated living room in an otherwise ordinary house – allows for an extremely personal experience. Schedule a visit and tasting!

Antica Terra

Maggie Harrison’s winery in Dundee offers far more than a simple sit-and-sip. Tastings here rise to the level of a sensory event, with Antica Terra wines poured alongside carefully curated wines from around the world and gastronomic indulgences like Royal White Sturgeon Osetra, cheeses, and foie gras terrine. Schedule a tasting!


Seven Springs Vineyard

We are definitely biased, but the view from the Douglas fir-lined road running through the middle of our vineyard is unquestionably one of the most spectacular in the Valley. On a clear day, the snow-dusted peaks of Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Jefferson rise above the farmland and foothills stretching to the east of the Eola-Amity Hills. Click HERE to get a feel for our unforgettable vineyard tour experience and click HERE to email vineyard guide Tynan Pierce to schedule your visit. 

Brooks Winery

Brooks’ tasting room is perched on a hillside above the vineyard, offering guests striking views of the Cascade Range and the Willamette Valley as they sample the winery’s diverse bottlings. Ranging from Pinot Noir to Riesling to Gewurztraminer, Brooks’ wines are especially interesting for those curious about white varietals and their potential in Oregon. And few people do hospitality better than the good folks at Brooks! Schedule a visit

Jan 10, 2019 at 6:53 AM
Julian Elam
January 8, 2019

We wanted to start the year off by sharing our favorite spots in the Willamette Valley to eat, sleep, drink (ahem..taste), and caffeinate! We hope 2019 brings you out to our beautiful valley and we hope these highlights make your trip all the more memorable.

Part 1 is below. Stay tuned for our favorite tasting rooms and vineyard vistas in Part 2!


Atticus Hotel

Set in historic, downtown McMinnville, this incredibly stylish new hotel places its emphasis on the local. Each of its 36 rooms is unique and features work from local artists and designers. The Atticus also offers personalized, full-day wine tasting itineraries to guide everyone from newbies to connoisseurs through the best wines the Willamette Valley has to offer. CLICK TO BOOK


The Vintages Trailer Resort

This unconventional resort is ideal for those whose taste in lodging runs more toward Airstreams than luxury hotels. Located between McMinnville and Dundee, The Vintages Trailer Resort boasts views of the surrounding vineyards, locally-sourced pour-over coffee, and a pool. CLICK TO BOOK


Xicha [chee-chah]
Our winery’s next-door neighbor and a harvest lunch fixture for our winemaking team, this fledgling brewery and Latin American restaurant pairs solid European ales and lagers with excellent sopes, tacos, and empanadas. In the warmer months, a patio with picnic tables is particularly inviting. 

Insider tip: Ask for the pretzels with hatch chile queso dip. Visit Xicha


Housed in a building constructed in 1886, this mini bistro features only six tables and exudes an air of charming intimacy. With a devoutly seasonal menu and a great cocktail program, Thistle is a standout McMinnville dinner option. Reserve a Table 

The Coin Jam
You’ll find several generations of nostalgic drinkers reliving their childhoods amidst the clinking of coins at this popular arcade bar in downtown Salem.  With everything from an Addams Family pinball machine to Tron, The Coin Jam has something for just about anyone seeking a bit of throwback fun to go along with a decent beer list.



If you’re here early enough, you may just catch our winemaking team huddled at the bar, cradling cappuccinos and planning the day’s work. The industrial-chic space changes gears in the evening, when craft cocktails, beer, and wine become the libations of choice. Visit ARCHIVE      

Flag and Wire
After a long day of wine tasting, this McMinnville roaster’s fairly-sourced coffee serves as a welcome pick-me-up. Flag and Wire is ideally located within walking distance to nearly all of downtown McMinnville's tasting rooms. 

Jan 8, 2019 at 7:55 AM
Julian Elam
December 28, 2018


What are you doing New Year's Eve? We asked our Tasting Room Manager, A.J. McCafferty, Vineyard Tour Guide, Tynan Pierce, and Assistant Winemaker Julian Elam what their plans entailed. Let us know in the comments what you are drinking, eating, and doing to celebrate the new year!

What are you drinking to ring in the New Year?

Moussé Fils “Special Club” Champagne for a celebration of Pinot Meunier.
Peter Lauer “Sekt” Sparkling Riesling for something a little different.
Commando G’s “La Bruja de Rozas” (Garnacha from the Sierra de Gredos) for a taste of Spain.
Finish with a touch of Calvados to aid our post-festivities digestion.

Ulysse Collin “Les Pierrieres” Blanc De Blanc is calling my name!

Billecart-Salmon & Aubry Champagne
Old Fashioneds with High West or Eagle Rare whiskey

What’s for dinner on New Year's Eve?

Julian: My ideal menu is Cornish game hens for dinner with a
Galette des Rois (large circular puff pastry with frangipani filling) for dessert.

A.J.: Normally, I am a huge fan of anything off the Raw Bar! Oysters are one of my
favorite indulgences and I always look for an excuse to consume copious amounts of
them. This year, some friends and I wanted to switch it up a bit so we will be doing a
PDX Pizza Tour, visiting 15(!) different pizzerias across the city.

Tynan: Homemade smoked salmon dip to go with the Champagne.

Do you have any favorite New Year's traditions in Oregon?

Julian: I start the year snowshoeing on Mt. Hood AND surfing at Cape Kiwanda.

A.J.: This marks my first New Year’s in Portland, so everything is new, but I’m glad to celebrate the New Year in a fantastic city, surrounded by great friends and great wine!

Tynan: Whale watching, agate hunting, and cooking with the family on the Oregon Coast.

Dec 28, 2018 at 6:45 AM
Julian Elam
December 18, 2018

Q: How did you get your start in wine and how did you get involved with Evening Land?

“When I was living in Switzerland, I met my (future) wife Kelly’s brother, Andrew. I was looking to get out of social work and do something different. He was working in wine in Oregon, and I had always been curious about Oregon and was starting to get curious about wine. He was really kind and wanted to help facilitate my interest in wine, so they invited me out to Oregon to live and work with them.

I got my first job at J.K. Carriere, initially just doing bottlings and rackings and pulling rocks out of the vineyard. I did that with some odd jobs in Portland for a couple years, and we started working more with Brad McElroy at Ayres Vineyard. I liked the small winery feel, the attention to detail; I liked paying attention to small lots, to vineyard management and farming practices. I went back to school to gain experience and qualifications, so I got a horticulture degree in viticulture and enology from Oregon State.

Our son Henry was born as I finished my degree and Sine Qua Non hired me to manage vineyards for them, so we moved to Lompoc, CA. I managed the growing season in 2014 and oversaw harvest for a few vineyards, mostly Syrah and Grenache, some Roussanne, some Viognier, and a little Mourvèdre.

Living in Lompoc, I got to know Sashi Moorman through his winemaking team of John Faulkner and Tim Fimpler. Sashi asked me if I wanted to be a part of the winemaking team at Evening Land, and I was probably too excited about it. It was a great opportunity. Sashi was in need of someone and I was in need of a shakeup. He was looking for someone who had a little bit of a vineyard background who could help steer the vision in the vineyard at Seven Springs, which was exciting to me. To be involved in vineyard work AND in the winery is something everybody wants to do. The opportunity to do that at Seven Springs is something I never thought I’d be a part of. 

So I moved back to Oregon and started the process of blending the 2014s, trying to get them assembled and bottled. It’s a good job; I feel really lucky to be able to work with Jessica and Daniel in the vineyard, and Julian, John, and Tim in the winery.”

Q: Which Oregon producers inspire or excite you?

“In Oregon, I think the person who’s most inspiring to me every year is Bethany Kimmel, who makes the Color Collector Gamays. I really respect how focused and caring she is about each lot that she makes. She has a very delicate hand with Gamay. Her vinification for those is really Gamay focused. A lot of the Gamay in Oregon is made like Pinot Noir, but she’s doing something different. Really focused, small production. She is a lovely human being and is just quietly making great wines.”

Q: Do you remember a particular bottle that hooked you on wine for good?

“When I was developing a little bit of an interest in wine, I was living in Switzerland and there were these wines by a producer named Domaine Belluard - the Les Alpes wines - that are made with this grape called Gringet [gran-JAY], and there’s a sparkling wine version and some still wines. Those wines really made me think, really made me interested to know why they were different, and really piqued my curiosity.

I don’t know that my curiosity had ever been piqued by wine before that.”

Q: What do you believe the role of a winemaker should be in guiding a wine to a faithful expression of its terroir? 

“If the winemaker is involved in the vineyard, then he’s really the only person involved in the life of those molecules from soil to grapevine to grape to the fermenter to bottle. A winemaker has a lot of say in what a wine ends up being. You can pick early or pick late, you can ferment in any number of vessels, you can control the temperature, you can add sulfur, and you can add yeast. What we like about wine does obviously color our winemaking process. We want the wines from Seven Springs to straddle the line of elegance and accessibility. 

The starting point is always the wines that inspire you. We’re inspired by Burgundy. We’re inspired by old world wines that strive for responsibility in the vineyard - with organics or biodynamics - to be very restrained with the use of sulfur in the winery, to preserve every bit of nature. We always use indigenous yeast, we very rarely temperature control fermentation. We want the wines to be alive. Usually, at Seven Springs that means that the best wines we make are picked to retain the acidity in the wine because when the fruit is most elegant is when there’s enough acidity to make the wine fresh. When we pick and there’s acidity in the grapes, we’re allowed to smell and taste the more subtle aspects.”

Q: 2018 was one of Oregon’s driest years on record.  How do you see climate change affecting Seven Springs and its wines?

“We have a small advantage in the Eola-Amity Hills. We’re a little bit cooler than areas south and north. Seven Springs is on the east side of those hills, which is a little bit cooler still, so if the trend is getting warmer - the hotter seasons getting hotter - we might be shielded from the worst. If we have too many more seasons like 2018, it’ll certainly be a challenge to continue to farm without irrigation. If we have even one or two more seasons like this one, we’ll have to dig a well and if the seasons get really hot we’ll have to irrigate. It’s hard to say how that would change the wines.

Whether or not that means we’ll have to adapt our winemaking I don’t know. 2015 was a really interesting test case. It was really hot and Evening Land made pretty delicate wines. Either way, climate change is very real and it’s not going away.”

Dec 18, 2018 at 8:44 AM
Julian Elam
December 5, 2018

2018 Vintage Retrospective - Balance Abides

Half-drunk coffee mugs litter the winery like a residue of harvest’s coordinated pandemonium, perching upon any available flat surface: the side of a forklift, the door of a fermentation tank, the head of an empty barrel. The sorting line now stands silent, our concrete tanks are empty, and wine ferments quietly in French and Austrian oak. Out in the vineyard, the leaves yellow and a cover crop of clover blankets the ground in green. The abrupt end of harvest engenders a tranquility unique to the waypoints of a natural cycle and offers an opportunity to reflect upon the vintage that was. 

2018 was one of the driest years in Oregon history, but in the end, a fairly normal Oregon vintage defied the unusually arid conditions. The growing season was warm, but days eased into cooler nights than we experienced in 2017. Thanks to the steady rhythm of ripening, we were able to pick at our own pace. Within the typical mid-September and mid-October Willamette Valley picking window, the vineyard essentially underwent two harvests: chardonnay first, then pinot noir. As a result, we were able to nurture each and every cuvée to the fullest extent, ensuring exceptional quality.

Our excitement is enhanced by the ideal condition of the fruit at harvest; perfectly lignified stems, ripe seeds, and good acid all resulted in wines of exceptional balance. We continue to watch (and taste) the 2018 wines develop with enthusiasm and pride. The winemaking team believes that this vintage could be one of our very best yet, and we cannot wait to share it with you. In the meantime, we’ll start washing those coffee mugs.     


Dec 5, 2018 at 11:07 AM

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