A Valentine’s of Wine & Chocolate
Six local wineries and tasting rooms in the Lane Electric Cooperative service area will be providing romantic backdrops and dinners for your Valentine’s Day.
By Craig Reed
SWEET CHEEKS WINERY AND VINEYARD
27007 Briggs Hill Road
It’s your choice of cheeses, chocolates and wines at your choice of two Sweet Cheeks tasting rooms on Valentine’s Day.
Sweet Cheeks has two tasting rooms: one at its winery and vineyard near Crow, the other on downtown Eugene’s East 5th St. Both rooms are open from noon to 9 p.m. on Valentine’s Day. On the 19th, the 5th Street tasting room will host a chocolate and wine pairing workshop.
Sweet Cheeks was established in 1978 when Dan Smith planted a vineyard that eventually grew to 40 acres. He supplied his grapes to local wineries.
In 2003, Dan bought a building scheduled for demolition in Junction City and relocated it to his vineyard. After a major renovation, the building opened in 2005 as the winery and tasting room.
Dan died in 2018, and his family is carrying on his wine legacy. His wife, Beth, is president and CEO. Her daughter, Katie Brown, is the marketing director. Dan’s granddaughter, Jessica Thomas, serves as general manager.
25600 Mayola Lane
Live music is in the air and chocolates are on the menu, plus designable charcuterie boards are available at the Sarver Winery tasting room.
“You can build your own cheese and meat plates,” says Carly Miller, the winery’s event coordinator.
Chris and Erin Sarver own the business that started in 1984 when Bob and Betty McKinney cleared the property at the southern end of the Willamette Valley. The McKinney’s planted the lot with pinot noir and pinot gris vines.
The 35-acre vineyard ended up with five varietals, producing estate wines from each. The winery also buys grapes from Washington and Southern Oregon for the production of several other wines.
NOBLE ESTATE VINEYARD AND WINERY
Noble Estate Urban Tasting Room 560 Commercial St.
A Noble Night of Passion is scheduled at the Noble Estate Urban tasting room from 5 to 9:30 p.m.
Henry Cooper and Friends provides live music, Pillage Pizza serves food, Brutto ma Buono delivers chocolates and the winery serves numerous Noble wines, including a semi-sparkling Passion rosé.
“We usually have a full house,” says Amy Shadell, the winery’s manager.
Owner Mark Jurasevich established Noble Estate Vineyard and Winery in 1999 with a planting of pinot noir. The 10-acre vineyard is off Gimpl Hill Road, southwest of Eugene. Mark produced the winery’s first commercially available wine in 2000.
KING ESTATE WINERY
80854 Territorial Hwy.
Let your joy bubble over this Valentine’s. Seasonal entrees and sparkling wine are served at King Estate Winery, according to Connor Morey, the winery’s food and beverage director.
“A sparkling wine like blanc de gris is perfect for your special evening,” he says.
Reservations for the King Estate restaurant are encouraged. There is inside seating for 80 guests. The last seating is at 8 p.m., and guests receive a take-home chocolate dessert.
King Estate Winery is an organic winery southwest of Eugene, near Lorane. The winery was founded in 1991 by Ed King Jr. and his son, Ed King III.
The organic vineyard totals 465 acres, plus another 30 acres of fruits, vegetables and flowers that are used in the restaurant.
SILVAN RIDGE WINERY
27012 Briggs Hill Road
Heart-shaped pizzas from a wood-fired oven and a variety of wines are matched at Silvan Ridge Winery.
“This is more casual, if you don’t want to fight the traditional dinner crowds on Valentine’s Day,” says Angela Jaquette, the winery’s general manager.
The tasting room, with inside seating for 140, is family friendly. The winery will release a new wine the week of Valentine’s.
The winery’s 5-acre vineyard was established in 1979 by Doyle Hinman. In 1993, Carolyn Chambers purchased the vineyard and winery. Two years later, Carolyn’s daughter, Liz Chambers, took over management of the business’ daily operation. Liz became the sole owner in 2012. In 2013, Liz’s daughter, Julia, joined the business. Julia and her husband, Andrew, became the owners in 2018.
82110 Territorial Hwy.
Iris Vineyards introduces a new rosé this Valentine’s Day. It will be available to all who celebrate the holiday at the Iris tasting room this year.
The tasting room, which overlooks the vineyard, maintains its normal hours of noon to 5 p.m. on Valentine’s Day. Charcuterie and cheese boards are available, and visitors are welcome to bring their own picnics to enjoy with Iris’ selection of wines.
Twenty minutes southwest of Eugene in the eastern foothills of the Coast Range, Iris Vineyards has 50 acres in production. The winery specializes in producing pinot noir, pinot gris and chardonnay. Iris Vineyards also makes several other wines. Richard Boyles and Pamela Frye own and operate Iris Vineyards. Prior to the planting of their vineyard in 1996, the two learned about the industry by visiting wineries in the Willamette Valley and in Washington. While working in Europe, the pair toured vineyards in France, Germany and Switzerland.
Iris’ first vintage was released in 2001.