Participate in Wine Country Thanksgiving From a Safe Social Distance
The Willamette Valley, or Oregon Wine Country, is home to some of the most bountiful wine-growing landscapes in the world. Nearly 800 wineries produce hundreds of grape varieties in 18 diverse American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), earning many Oregon-grown wines prestigious awards and critical acclaim. The valley and its bounty are beloved by locals and tourists alike, as made evident by the region’s historic Thanksgiving celebration.
Oregon Wine Country’s Annual Thanksgiving Celebration
Every November, wine-lovers from across the globe flock to Willamette Valley for samples of their favorite varietals, limited-edition vintage bottles, live music, and food and wine pairings. The event is a unique display of Oregon’s food, art, and culture, and is critically lucrative for local winemakers. This year, the beloved Thanksgiving tradition will see some COVID-19-era changes.
History of Oregon’s Wine Country Thanksgiving
Oregon’s Wine Country Thanksgiving was first organized by the Willamette Valley Wineries Association in 1982. It’s typically held each year on the three days following Thanksgiving, so locals and tourists alike can find a new favorite bottle and celebrate. Last year, nearly 150 wineries across the state participated in Wine Country Thanksgiving, one of the most critical sales weekends for local vintners.
The three-day festival is a highlight for Oregonians as well as one of the biggest tourism weekends of the year. Previous Wine Country Thanksgiving highlights have included private tastings, exclusive labels, and free samples of favorite vintages. Art galleries, live music, and meet-and-greets with some of Oregon’s most notable winemakers have also been on the table.
This year, the celebration will look a bit different. In the age of COVID-19, local wineries have been hit hard. With tourism down and large events like Wine Country Thanksgiving now virtually impossible, local winemakers are depending on sales more than ever. Celebrating the Willamette Valley’s bouty is still the plan, just with a few socially-distanced adjustments.
COVID-19 Changes to This Year’s Wine Country Thanksgiving
To ensure social distancing guidelines are followed, keeping both guests and winemakers safe, Wine Country Thanksgiving will span four separate weekends this year. The event will now run Nov. 27-29, Dec. 4-6, Dec. 11-13, and Dec. 18-20. This new schedule also comes with a brand new name. This year, guests will be celebrating the broader “Holiday in Wine Country,” safely enjoying intimate one-on-one tastings and small-group experiences limited to friends and family.
To further support local winemakers and help encourage sales, “The Giving Season,” a secondary holiday campaign, is also running through Dec. 31. In-person guests and online shoppers can receive small gifts of gratitude from the local wineries they choose to patronize. The hope is to encourage shopping local and supporting Oregon-grown businesses. Gifts may include merchandise, gift cards, discounts, and more.
How to Participate in Oregon’s Holiday in Wine Country Event
In any regular year, Oregon wineries would be hosting packed tasting rooms, planning trade events, and gearing up for a lucrative Wine Country Thanksgiving. This year, show your support from a safe distance. Most local wineries and tasting rooms are requiring reservations. You can view a comprehensive calendar of events and reserve your spot by visiting the Willamette Valley Wineries Association’s “The Giving Season” webpage. If this holiday event doesn’t satisfy your client’s vino cravings, why not suggest this stunning 4 bed, 4 bath in Albany? Located at the heart of Oregon’s wine country, this home is a stone’s throw away from a diverse selection of wineries, tap houses, distilleries, and cider houses. Plus, the basement’s built-in wet bar, complete with minifridge, offers plenty of storage for their favorite vintages.
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