Back in May I ordered my first Groupon on the internet for Rick's birthday present: a wine tour and tasting for two at the Gilstrap Brothers Winery in Cove, Oregon. I didn't know at the time that the first tasting of Gilstrap wine Rick partook was horrible. He swore he'd never drink it again. Couple years later Rusty encouraged him to try a glass at Crossroads and Rick thought it pretty good. Of course, I found out all this later. I just figured....it was a winery, it was close, it was a bargain, and it was a good birthday present! Wine is wine to me!
Our Groupon expired in November, so I was starting to feel a little urgency in scheduling our visit - and we did have to schedule with an advance phone call, etc. An enjoyable chat with one of the two owners, and we were ready to go for Saturday, the 8th of October. We decided to combine the visit with the opportunity to also check out one of the Casita brand trailers located in La Grande.
|Casita 17' Spirit Deluxe|
Into Island City for a quick shop at Wal-Mart and a Subway sandwich (we have to eat something BEFORE we consume wine!) and out on the Cove Highway to the winery for our noon appointment. We find another couple from Salem area waiting with their Groupons as well! (No, they didn't make the drive JUST for the tour - they were in the area otherwise!)
|Rescue Dog label|
Gilstrap is a small, family run operation. With a full wine glass in hand, we then took a tour of the wine production process. We saw the wine barrels filled with water, ready to be emptied and filled with this year's product. They were currently stored outside. We saw the giant "puree" machine (ok, foot stomping time!) that separates the pulp from the vines. The fermentation tanks hold a ton of pulp. In the garage he showed us the machine that has a huge vinyl bladder and separates the pulp more. Finally a filter removes any additional sediment.
|Vineyard and valley view|
|In the bottling room|
We bought a couple of bottles (even with the 15% discount through Groupon, still triple what we usually pay for wine at Rite Aid!) and around 2 pm were headed home to Baker City. We choose to travel home via Catherine Creek and Medical Springs. It is a gorgeous fall, sunny day!
View all winery pictures HERE
|Catherine Creek Picnic Area|