Sunday, August 12, 2012

Living Social @PDX: Touring the tiny (Helvetia) Winery

Yesterday we used a Living Social deal-of-the-day coupon for a winery tour at Helvetia Winery. It included wine tasting and samples of Native American fishery catches on the Columbia River plus a wonderful lesson in history and Columbia River Inter-tribal Fisheries. The coupon only said winery tour and smoked salmon.  Little did we know that we were in for a wonderful afternoon.

The winery is located off of Yungen Rd north of Hillsboro. The tasting room is at home in a very old house that has been converted minimally leaving the kitchen intact with an adjoining small living area. The biggest change to the old house is the deck out in back and picnic tables located on the lawn. We were lucky enough to find a music group performing on the back deck and a group of small dog owners picnicking and wandering around with tiny fuzzy pets in tow. When we sat a small dog made itself at home in my daughter's lap. 

The wine making facility is located a quarter of a mile from the old house. That is what we had come to learn about. Platt gave us pointing directions and we ventured off to find him and his wine making facility located beside a dusty road. We wandered through a tree farm and a wild grass field with a barn as our directional guide. What a wonderful thing to do on a beautiful summer day.

Winery summer on the deck!
John Platt is not what you might expect of a wine maker.  He calls himself an amateur winemaker that depends on expert advice.  The very small winery bottled 1200 cases last year and all the grapes were grown by Platt, harvested and crushed by Platt, bottled by Platt and the bottles were even corked by Platt. He even loads the bottles up and distributes them to local markets. Well maybe he had a little help but still....he is a very hands-on kind of guy.

Because he was or is a lawyer representing the local Native American tribes, he has a depth of knowledge about history and the impact of the Native Americans on our area. He told us about a Native American burial ground is located south of the winery. He talked about a battle that took place very near the farm when the Klickitat Tribe decided to move south of the Columbia River. He invites the tribal members to share his property for sales of their Columbia River fishery caught salmon.

He talked about geology and wine making and things that wine makers must have to make their product.  Filters and corking machines, a fork lift, a small crush machine and a lot of fermenting vats, oak barrels and stainless steel barrels filled the space and were toys that he loved to talk about.

When we tasted a Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir he had created, we liked them both.  I bought two bottles to use for a family gathering later this fall.  I don't believe I have ever enjoyed a "winery tour" so much.  It was just fun.  On top of that we laughed at him and ourselves for the free spirited nature of the whole thing. This is just the kind of a low key place we seek out.

We love Living Social, Groupon, Google and any other deal-of-the-day websites that offers discounts on cool stuff.  These business allow us to see and do things we had not even thought of and it gives businesses, small and large, an opportunity to introduce their products to the public.  Everyone wins.  We have gotten bark dust, eaten out at very nice restaurants and now we have made a back country drive to take a winery tour.  It has worked every time for us.

Have a wonderful day.


Entered in Grandma's Briefs Grand Social as a blog written by a grandmother...that's me and I have having fun!

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  1. Sounds like a great day. You really do sound like you're making the most of your retirement.

  2. I know one place Betty and I will be visiting next summer when we stay in Hillsboro!

  3. I think I enjoyed this day more than any day out at a winery. Everything was perfect!


    Thank you for your comments.


  4. Sounds like a wonderful time. I've never been to a winery. Interestingly, though, the folks across the street from us are in the process of turning their property into a vineyard. So far, so good. I should be visiting THAT vineyard in the relatively near future.

    I love Living Social. Have gotten hair deals, movie deals, massage deals...and just last week, a deal for having our cracked windshield fixed. now has a similar thing, with pretty good deals.

    Thank you for joining the GRAND Social! Great to see you there. :D

  5. Lisa,

    Across the street? How cool is that. I am so glad you stopped by.

    Be well.


  6. For some reason I couldn't get the link from Lisa's GRAND Social to work so I am glad I found this post! We haven't been to Oregon in many years and Grampy's Dad lives up there. I'm seeing more and more reasons to go visit!


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