A trip to Oregon wine country, just me, 2 friends and my 35…

A trip to Oregon wine country,

just me, 2 friends and my 35…



Sometimes a photographer needs a new view and sometimes a mom just needs to get away…  I decided to combine both and took a trip to Oregon wine country with two friends and my 35 mm lens.

Choosing what lens to bring is not easy, my go to is the Nikon 24-70, this lens is a work horse and basically shoots everything.  The downside- it is a beast not only in accomplishments but in weight.  Not ideal for a carry-on only travel situation. 

Great aspects of the 35mm:  1) By choosing a prime lens (aka no zoom capabilities = smaller than other lenses)  I can literally throw my camera in my purse, no lugging extra bags, covers etc.  2) It challenges me to use my feet again 3) The Nikon 35mm is wicked sharp and great in low lighting. 

But enough about the gear.  If you have not experienced Oregon wine country, I promise it is a trip worth taking.


We started out by renting a home in McMinnville OR.  Ours was listed on Air BnB, the location was spectacular and the home was gorgeous.  Lots of wine tasting in downtown McMinnville so I would recommend finding a place within walking distance (fyi there is no Uber in Oregon).

On our first day in wine country we scheduled a private winery tour through A Vineyard Wine Tour.  Absolutely worth every penny.  They picked us up at our house at 10:30 and chauffeured us to 4 different wineries in the area.  Our tour guide (Jess) was so sweet and very knowledgeable about the area and wine making process.  The tour also included a gourmet lunch, snacks and water.

Our first stop was Soter Vineyards.  When you think of a vineyard, this is the quintessential example. We were greeted by our tour guide with a huge smile and three glasses of Rose.  As soon as I saw her approach us I heard the ‘click’ that goes off in my brain when I wish I had my camera in hand.   She gave us a tour and tons of information on the wines and the area.  If you plan a visit here, be sure to try the ‘bubbles.’  This sparkling wine is delicious and has an endearing story.   

After that we stopped at our second winery Durant Vineyards. Jess laid out a gourmet lunch with all the fixings.  The table was set next to a cozy fire, the staff was friendly and the wine was scrumptious.  This vineyard also makes/sells fresh local Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

The third stop was at Granville Wines. Hands down- our favorite parts of the day.  The lodge sits on top of a hill with 360 degrees of gorgeous views.  We also got the chance to sit down with the winery owner, Jackson Holstein; learned so much about the wine making process and really felt like we were getting an insiders peek into the wine making world.  The wine was some of our favorite! 

Our last stop was Yamhill Valley Winery.  I know it gets old, but you can’t beat the views of Oregon wine country.  Gorgeous! The real treat here was our tasting guide Linda.  She has such a passion for wine and entertaining her customers.  We were invited to go down and taste directly from the barrels and see where the wine is bottled.  A great end to a fabulous day.

Overall,  the credit has to go to A Vineyard Wine tour for setting up the perfect day.  Each winery was unique and all served us outstanding wines from Rose to Pinot Noir. 

The rest of our trip was filled with more wine tasting in downtown McMinville.  Willamette Valley Vineyards was one of our favorite tasting rooms and they also sell “It’s Willamette Dammit” T-shirts.  Willamette is often mispronounced, so if you do end up going, just make sure the way you say it rhymes with Dammit. LOL!