An Astronomically Fun Chat About Space and Wine With a Winemaker and Former Physicist This is vinocultural therapy at its finest. There’s no rush to splash through the wine. Visitors are encouraged to graze on local cheese and charcuterie while taking in sweeping views of the valley and coastlines. Even as haze engulfed the valley, the experience was still very easy on the eyes. If you’re lucky, you can meander downstairs to the limestone-filled basement tasting and event rooms that took over a year to build. The natural insulation packs in the cool air – and time.“It’s easy to lose a few hours in here,” our host said. The 20 minutes we spent perusing seemed to speed by in a flash.That’s the one thing to note about wine tasting in the Willamette Valley: It’s not to be rushed. Whether you visit the three we did, or design your own itinerary, each producer is proud of the literal fruits of their labor and will be happy to talk about the process as much as you’re willing to listen.So as you plan your next trip to Portland, take a look at the grapevines to the south. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you’ll discover. Smart Practices for Drinking With the Environment in Mind Where to Drink White Wine in the Willamette Valley What is Biodynamic Wine? A Quick and Easy Guide to the Buzzyworthy Trend Hops and Terroir: Why the Beer World is Embracing the Wine Term Editors’ Recommendations If there were still any shroud to it, the secret’s out: Oregon’s Willamette Valley is one of the world’s premier wine destinations.Although relatively new in the wine world, the growers and producers stretching just south of Portland are redefining the industry’s accessibility to the average, novice drinker. There’s much more to the region than pinot noir (although there’s plenty of that to go around).Take Brooks Wines, for example. An unsuspecting hillside in Amity opens up to sweeping views of the Willamette Valley (so named for the river that runs through it) with a portfolio of exceptional rieslings and other white blends crafted by Jimi Brooks, who wanted to bring back a slice of Beaujolais wine tradition to Oregon. After Jimi’s tragic death, his son, Pascal, just eight years old at the time, inherited the winery.Along with a small staff, Pascal continues a tradition of using biodynamics and other natural processes to farm some of the most forward-thinking wines in the area. Brooks’ 2015 Riesling really takes on the essence of local fruits while being balanced enough to drink all afternoon.The 20-plus-acre grounds in the Eola Hills feel like a communal family farm with games and plenty of seating across a sprawling patio. The team has built a nice slate of programming, including Pizza Fridays (courtesy of a large pizza oven), yoga, and wine bingo, at which our host noted, “There’s not an empty seat in the house.”To continue that forward-thinking trend, head north on the maze of rural Oregon highways to Day Camp in Dundee.Winemaker Brianne Day opened the modern tasting room and production facility earlier this year as an effort to open the sometimes heavy doors of winemaking to smaller producers. While she creates her own range, the “Camp” is home to 10 other producers slowly plying their trade with small allocations.One mustn’t leave Day Wines without trying Day’s spectacular Mamacita, her take on a French pétillant naturel with luscious effervescence and rolling floral notes giving way to stone fruit on the finish. The juice was bottled towards the end of 2016, so we could only imagine it maturing and getting better with another year in the bottle.As much as the Willamette Valley is bit of an “everyman’s” wine region, the luxury it has it does very well. That’s no more apparent than at Domaine Serene’s stunning new Clubhouse in Dayton, just a quick drive from Dundee.Founders Grace and Ken Evenstad built the 34,000-square-foot house as a tribute to time they spent in Burgundy, France. They’re widely considered one of the founding families of Oregon’s luxury wine scene.The drive there feels like an escape into the French countryside. The entrance couldn’t be any more dramatic, with a single-lane driveway wandering through rows of grapes and a villa in the distance that slowly arrives on the horizon. The transition is instant; after getting out of your car, this no longer feels like an unusually smoky Oregon summer. It feels like a sultry Tuscan afternoon.While Domaine Serene has an extensive Member’s Club program with superior benefits and the opportunity to stay overnight in on-site accommodations, the grandiose main tasting room and patio are just as fulfilling. Large tables are placed sparingly along the stone floor with great care taken to build in space for the medley of current offerings and vintages you’ll taste. (Trust us, it’s easy to turn this into a multi-course tasting in a hurry).
The locust situation continues to be serious in western Sudan where hopper bands and groups of immature adults of the crop-devouring creatures are present in Darfur, a region already afflicted by civil strife, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in its latest update today. Although survey and control operations are in progress, many areas cannot be accessed in the region, where tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced during two years of fighting between the Government, allied militia and rebels, it added. In Eritrea, small groups of hoppers have formed on the Red Sea coast near the border with Sudan where local breeding occurred after unusually good rainfall and control operations are now under way, FAO reported. Control operations were also carried out recently against hopper infestations in western Tigray province in northern Ethiopia. Scattered adults are also breeding in the interior in Yemen.In West Africa, where infestations two years ago sparked fears of a potentially worse crisis than the last plague nearly 20 years ago, only low numbers of immature and mature solitary adults are present in parts of southern Mauritania, northern Mali and Niger, where earlier damage caused by the locusts has exacerbated a food crisis. Although ecological conditions are unusually favourable for breeding within a large portion of the northern Sahel region bordering the Sahara, no hoppers have been found so far. Nevertheless, intensive surveys must continue to detect any signs that locust numbers might be increasing, FAO said.On the other hand, local breeding has occurred west of Tamanrasset in southern Algeria where scattered late hoppers and immature adults were treated. Breeding is in progress and scattered adults are present in Kanem, Batha and Wadi Fira regions in Chad but the situation remains rather unclear because of unconfirmed reports of swarms in some of these areas.