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Jamming in Carlton

After the Wine Bloggers Conference in August, I was invited to spend an extra day or two in the town of Carlton.  Carlton is a small farming town, in the Willamette, bordered by McMinnville, about an hour outside of Portland.  With over 40 wineries in the town and AVA of Yamhill-Carlton, it was an adventure waiting to happen! On Sunday afternoon, after the WBC wrapped up, the Blitz Bus fetched us and whisked us away to Carlton.

Now this is no ordinary bus!  A converted school bus, with red leather couches in the back, we rocked it all the way down 99 to our first stop, where 7 of Hearts Winery greeted us with a splash (or gulp) or rose, much needed after a hot and dusty bus ride.  After fetching our swag bags full of locally baked bread, jam and other goodies we were off! Once everyone gathered, we hopped back on the Blitz Bus and hightailed it over to the park, where we started our tour at an annual tradition, the Carlton Walk in the Park.  This festival is a celebration of 10 years of commitment of the town, and supported local charities,

Image courtesy of Josh Chang

with wine, food and local artisans selling their wares to the beat of live music.  Of course, our hostess with the mostess Lynette Shaw, of the Republic of Jam was quick point out the way to the wine tent! After a few sips of delicious wine, the fact that i had missed lunch became eminent and I raided the RibSlayer tent for a slab of ribs.  Luckily for me, the plate of food was enough for an army, so I split it with my doppleganger Liza, and washed it down with a glass of hard cider from Carlton CyderWorks. I am a huge fan of the cider, and the Newton Pippin was a crisp, dry and refreshing beverage on a hot day, and it went so very well with pork ribs!

Wandering around the wine tent, I met the delightful Ken of K&M Cellars, who was keen to get lessons on tweeting from Melanie and myself.  Ken, who was a great sport, was thrilled to share his wines with us, and little did I know my itinerary would take me by his tasting room the next day (more on that soon).The most fulfilling accomplishment of The Walk in the Park is that, after a week, over 10 wineries visited and at least 100 tasted, Melanie found a rose that she liked!  Most of us enjoy a rose of pinot noir, particularly on a hot day such as this, but Melanie has a peculiar aversion to strawberries.  Now, we tried to convince her that this was a delicious taste, with many samples of rose, from many regions of Oregon.  Alas, our efforts were fruitless…until – could it be?  In the wine tent, we found Monk’s Gate Winery.  Some of the posse visited the winery the next day, but I got to taste some lovely wines from this 50 acre farm in Carlton.

The sense of community and support for the local businesses was wonderful, and we were welcomed enthusiastically by the vendors as “those bloggers are those bloggers are here!”.

Later that day, we were treated to a cocktail reception at Republic of Jam.  Creating artisan jam, sauces and syrup, the Jam Nation is a place that deserves it’s own post!  Suffice it to say, a good time was had by all, and Mixology is a great reason to buy jam.

More soon!  Stay tuned for As the B&Bs Turn, The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Bees, and News from the JamNation!

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