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Lush green fields, rambling grape vines, prestigious vineyards...Is it Italy? No. Napa. No. Bordeaux? Not exactly. This location is Oregon’s Willamette Valley, the Northwest’s wine area with a reputation for producing award-winning Pinot Noir. For those in the know, they liken it to Sonoma 30 years ago; in other words, it’s picturesque, intimate, and undiscovered, making it an ideal setting for a wedding ceremony, especially at the local Allison Inn & Spa. Travel writer Melissa Klurman scouts this venue and pulls together some of the details to get your planning underway.
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With its own vineyard set amid 35 scenic acres, The Allison Inn & Spa (rates from $15,000) is the ultimate Oregon wine retreat. Hold your wedding ceremony in the hidden green meadow, then move the reception indoors to the contemporary glass-walled room overlooking the grape fields. For dinner, chef Sunny Jin will pair garden-to-plate fare with the area’s extraordinary vintages. Dance the night away, then retire in the spacious rooms (from $350), with cozy amenities including a fireplace and soaking tub big enough for two. In the morning, wake up to the sun rising over the rolling hills and peeking through your window while you indulge on Northwest delights, hazelnut pancakes for two.
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A Day Trip
Most out-of-town guests will arrive in Portland, romantically called The City of Roses, just 45 minutes away. Get them together before heading to Willamette Valley for a sweet outing. Cycle Portland arranges themed group bike tours, such as a “Chocolate Lover’s Ride,” which is a fun way to explore the area and kick off the festivities.
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The Rehearsal Dinner
Hawks View Cellars is aptly named for its bird’s-eye views, across wine country and all the way to Mount Hood, from the highest point in the valley. The hillside perch offers wine-tasting parties, where servers will keep track of what your guests sample and bring new tastes of their unique white Pinot Noir, rich Malbec, and exclusive La Baleine red blend, among other varietals, while also presenting a range of delectable morsels. The casual vibe extends to the lawn, where attendants can toss a bocce ball or play croquet while waiting for the evening’s highlight: the gorgeous sunset over the hills.
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Relax before saying your I do’s at the Allison’s spa. The bride-to-be can treat herself to a massage. Then she can join the wedding party at the private Sky Suite Lounge, where her ’maids can all nibble treats and sip some bubbly while pampering fingers and toes with Mimosa Manicures and Pinot Pedicures.
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Set the scene with vineyard flare: vintage wine barrels make rustic chic cocktail tables, while oak boxes created from recycled barrels can hold hors d’oeuvres and wine corks sliced in two make fitting fork rests.
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The Guest Book
Adelsheim vineyard is one of the oldest and most lauded Pinor Noir producers in Oregon. It’s also known for its unique 3- or 5-liter bottles of the red wine, used by many in the area to celebrate special occasions, especially weddings. The hand-etched and hand-painted vessels look like works of art. Make them even more special by inviting guests to sign their names and best wishes on them using silver markers. The personalized memento can be cherished until you pop it open on your silver anniversary.
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Your friends and family can toast to your special day with the Allison’s own wine, created from their onsite vineyard by the master vintners at Adelsheim.