Brian's Photo Blog — Article 648
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Pheasant Run Winery Tasting Room
Friday 28 April 2017   —   Category: Dining Out
Seeing that I have been on my McMenamins Passport adventure for nearly a year now, you might think that when I dine out it’s at McMenamins only. Well, that is somewhat true. During 2017 I will still be concentrating on visiting all of the locations I have not yet been to, until I finish my Passport this coming October.

Nevertheless, I do like to try non-​McMenamins pubs, res­tau­rants and bars as well. One such establishment is the Pheasant Run Winery Tasting Room in Aurora, about three miles east of the I-5 and not very far south of the Portland metro area. It’s hard to say exactly how I heard about it, but once it was on my radar, I visited Pheasant Run four times during the last half of 2016.

Opened in 2010, the tasting room is a small, friendly place with limited tasting hours: noon to 5:00 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. In addition, they are generally open the first Friday of each month from 5:00 to 9:00 for small meals and snacks, wine and live music. During the summer the bistro experience is on offer every Friday evening, with seating available both indoors and outdoors.
My first visit to Pheasant Run was on a gloomy day in June, as I was heading back to Albany after helping my son to move — and having lunch together at a Mc­Men­a­mins — in the Portland area.

Since it was a Wednesday they were not open, but that was fine because I was just wanting to see where it was and what the place looked like. These first three photos to the right were taken that day.
Besides taking a number of pictures of the building from various angles, I also got a shot of the tasting room’s outdoor seating area while standing under a huge tree at the south end of the yard.
My second visit two months later did not at all turn out how I had expected. I was planning on going there with my daughter on the 19th, but the day before Carl McKnight, the proprietor and winemaker, posted this announcement:
Due to the extreme heat (it’s supposed to be 102) we will not be open on Friday, August 19th. Sorry to our legion of fans and regulars but no music and food in the back yard. Our historic building doesn’t have air-conditioning, so we will spare our employees the sauna experience.
So we rescheduled for the following Friday. Unfortunately, the evening before was when I stayed up really late to watch Star Wars at McMenamins Grand Lodge with my son. So I was not overly excited about another long drive and evening out.

Even worse, I lost my cell phone at the Grand Lodge and was only making a short stop in Aurora on my way to Forest Grove to pick it up from a guy who had found it off the McMenamins property. In addition, it was still pretty hot, even though it was not as hot as the previous Friday. At least the tasting room was open this time.

I took only one photo while I was there. Did I remember to take a picture of my wine? No. Of my nice meal? No. Of anything else at all? No. But I did get another shot of the yard. Sheesh!

There were a number of reasons for this uncharacteristic lack of attention to my photography. I was preoccupied with visiting with my daughter. The heat was addling my brain. I had gotten maybe four hours of sleep the night before. And I was really stressed out all day about losing my phone.

I was too distracted and rushed and hot to really enjoy my time there, including the live music by Michael Vallee playing guitar and singing under the large tree. So I promised myself that I would return soon for a proper visit. A week later I was back at Pheasant Run so I could keep my promise. I had found out that this was my last chance for a while, as Carl wrote:
Enjoy the last of our summer Friday Nights! Due to the early, early, early harvest we will be taking a hiatus for Friday Nights during September. Normally we harvest late Sep­tem­ber through October to make sure we get the right sugar and acid balance on the grapes. Due to the early summer this year we will be begin harvesting in early September (that’s next week!).

So we will spend the next few weeks concentrating on mak­ing the best wines possible. What does that mean for the grapes and the wines? Good news, they love sunshine! The grapes will have a bit more color from growing thicker skins to protect the seeds from sunburn and a little more sugar will convert to slightly more alcohol. And we will be picking in dry conditions! Everyone wins ... join us Friday!
This time I was by myself, it wasn’t too hot, I was well rested, and I had my cell phone with me. Everything was set for an enjoyable evening dining out. As I had the previous Friday, I ordered their truly scrumptious and reasonably priced “Bistro Board.”

While listening to the songs performed by guitarist Jim Chan, and sipping a delicious glass of Pheasant Run’s Bank Robber Red, I feasted on the delights spread out on the board before me: prosciutto, brie cheese, grapes, bread, pickles, Kalamata olives, Gouda cheese (I think, or something similar) and salami.

For my last visit of 2016, my wife and I made the one-​hour drive from Albany to Aurora for a date night on the first Fri­day of December. We shared the same Bistro Board as I had had the previous two times. Half rations weren’t quite as fulfilling as having an entire Board to myself, but the company made up for it.

I didn’t take any photos that evening because I had already photographed the food on my last visit. Furthermore, the tasting room was quite full, and I didn’t feel comfortable invading the other din­ers’ privacy with my camera. So I have “borrowed” this nice picture from the Pheasant Run Web site instead. I wish I had taken it!

Before we left I bought a bottle of their Aurora Red Blend as a Christmas pres­ent for my mom.

The text in the center of the photo to the right was on a wine bottle gift sack that I purchased at the McMenamins 23rd Av­e­nue Bottle Shop in Portland’s Alphabet District.

Over the course of these four visits I took only 27 photos. The best 13 have made it into the new Pheasant Run Win­ery 2016 album.

I like stopping by the Pheasant Run Win­ery Tasting Room from time to time so I can enjoy good wine, good food and good music in a cozy, friendly at­mos­phere. And as you will see in my next article, in 2017 things went to a whole nother level!
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 648
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Reader Comments
On May 1, 2017, Cindi Wells wrote:
What a quaint place!! Looks like a place I would so hang out in every Friday!!
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 648
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