Summer and cookouts go together like mouth-watering chicken and crisp Rainstorm rosé. Nothing beats a warm evening and a sizzling grill, especially when you add some delicious summer wines.
Some inspiration for perfect pairings:
Chicken: Good news! Nearly everything pairs well with chicken. This versatile protein is terrific with sparkling wine, malbec, and everything in between. While there are some wines that will really bring home the wow factor, most of the common varietals will pair nicely with grilled chicken.
Try: Rainstorm pinot gris
Burgers: There’s nothing better than a burger hot off the grill. Oh wait: There is! A burger hot off the grill and a glass of wine. Red goes best with this family favorite, whether you opt for a spicy syrah or a fruit-forward merlot. Rosé is a surprise hit too, especially when you go gourmet. Dress up a burger with caramelized onion, goat cheese, and a chilled glass of this bright beauty.
Try: Rainstorm rosé
Steak: A true classic, steak is best served with a dry red wine. Think cabernet, zinfandel, or even a merlot. The richness of the beef complements the tannins in the wine, resulting in a fabulous flavor collision worthy of glorious summer.
Try: Cabernet sauvignon
Pork: Throw some chops on the grill and start chilling whites like a riesling or a chardonnay. Like red? Break out a bottle of red zinfandel. Either way, you’re going to love it.
Seafood: Shrimp, salmon, tuna...all of these are perfect for the grill, and a glass of wine will make them even perfect-er. It’s usually a good idea to stay on the white side of the wine spectrum, but there is one notable exception: pinot noir. Trust us when we say to drink this if you’re having salmon or tuna.
Try: Rainstorm pinot noir (salmon/tuna); pinot gris (shrimp)
Who’s ready for a cookout? These suggested pairings are tried and true, but at the end of the day, it’s all about what you like. Want to sip a Rainstorm rosé with your porterhouse? Be our guest. Prefer a cabernet with your salmon? You do you. Summer is all about having fun, and so are summer wines. So pop open your favorites, and enjoy!
We’re big animal lovers here at Rainstorm wines. Nature gave us the best gifts in pets - and in fine Oregon pinot gris or rosé wines in the summer! You know what else we think are cool? Exotic animals - the kind that make really good (and legal) pets.
If you’re interested in responsibly expanding your menagerie, consider these pets (while sipping your favorite Rainstorm wines, of course!):
- Hedgehog: Shy but curious, these guys and gals can be handled and played with - just be careful of their quills. They don’t shoot out like a porcupine’s, but they can hurt if you’re jabbed with one. Hedgies make for low-maintenance, fun pets that are great for careful kids.
- Silver fox: While the words “silver fox” typically bring George Clooney’s face to mind, the real silver fox is even cuter (sorry, George). These smart, beautiful creatures are bred specifically to be pet. Be forewarned, though. They may never be as domesticated as you like, and you will need a large outdoor space for them.
- Wallaroo: Ever heard of a wallaroo? We hadn’t either, until recently. These little marsupials are like miniature kangaroos. They can be quite shy, but once they trust you, they are affectionate and playful.
- Boa constrictor: If you don’t mind sharing your home with something long and slithery that enjoys strangling its victims, then a boa constrictor is for you. Be aware that these snakes can easily surpass 5 feet in length!
- Hyacinth macaw: These colorful birds are extremely affectionate and like to cuddle with their owners. How adorable is that? Plus, you can even teach it to say, “I love Oregon pinot gris!”
- Sugar glider: Sugar gliders are tiny marsupials, similar in size to hamsters. You can’t have just one - no really, you can’t. They live in colonies, and they can get sad and lonely if they’re left on their own. They love to be around people, and they’re playful, so they make great pets for families with older children or reliable people who can devote time and attention to them.
- Piranha: What hails from South America, has razor sharp little teeth, and is capable of devouring a small mammal? You guessed it, a piranha. If you have some as a pets, you won’t want to cuddle with them, but they are definitely cool to watch.
- Mini donkey: Mini donkeys may be roughly the size of a large dog (think Great Dane). Stubborn but loyal, these cute little guys and gals are very affectionate and need a large space to roam. If you’ve got a bit of land and plenty of love in your heart, a mini donkey makes an ideal pet.
- Axolotl: Once you figure out how to pronounce its name, the axolotl makes a great pet. It’s a type of salamander and - wait for it - it can regrow its own body parts. Wow!
- Bengal cat: Calling all cat lovers! Bengal cats are like mini tigers - beautiful, sleek, and 100% awesome. They’re also really high-energy, so if you plan to get a Bengal cat, make sure you’re prepared to keep it entertained.
Pets are a joy, and they make our lives more complete. If you are ready to open your home to an exotic pet, don’t forget to do your research - preferably with some Rainstorm wines on hand!
The best part of autumn is seeing green leaves change into brilliant shades of scarlet and gold. Oregon is one of the best places in the U.S. to see this annual transformation, and nothing beats a foliage excursion capped with a picnic featuring fine Oregon wine. Ten parks to make the most of beautiful fall colors:
- Mt. Hood Scenic Loop: At 146 miles, this scenic drive provides plenty of autumnal viewing options. The Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood may be the focal points of the trip, but the abundant trees with their stunning fall colors are the real stars of the show.
- Forest Park - Just west of downtown Portland, Forest Park is home to an extraordinary amount of flaming maple trees. The Maple Trail Loop Hike is the best way to enjoy the splendor, so strap on some comfy hiking shoes.
- McKenzie River - Here, you can enjoy the fall foliage on foot or by car. Hiking trails along the riverfront are the perfect place to take in the warm fall colors. For those who prefer to enjoy the scenery from their vehicle, the McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway winds around colorful aspen stands that will give you a brand new appreciation for the season.
- Washington Park - Right in the heart of downtown Portland, Washington Park may not be your first guess for amazing fall foliage, but you’d be making a mistake to skip this one. Between the trees at the Hoyt Arboretum and the Portland Japanese Garden, you’ve got a feast of autumn color to enjoy.
- Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway - The 172-mile route hugs the Upper Rogue and North Umpqua Rivers, both of which are lined with beautiful trees dressed in their autumn best.
- Drake Park - This Bend, OR park is a fall must. Mirror Pond holds true to its name, reflecting the brilliant colors of the maples and willows that fill the park and giving you double the beauty.
- Lithia Park - Lithia Park covers 93 acres in Ashland. In addition to the “usual suspects,” like maples and aspen, you’ll see some different species, like the Japanese snowbell and European beech.
- Upper Klamath Basin - The oaks are the real stars here. Other autumn performers include maple, aspen, and red alder.
- Silver Falls State Park - The Trail of Ten Falls is the spot to be, and hiking along this path will introduce you to color like you’ve never seen before.
- Willamette Valley, aka Wine Country - People don’t normally associate fall foliage with wine country, but Oregon’s Willamette Valley is still host to some of the season’s most phenomenal color shows. While the stands of white oak have given way to vineyards, the warm browns and yellows of the season can still be found throughout the Valley - along with delectable Rainstorm wines.
Autumn’s dry, crisp, dynamic flavor pairs perfectly with complex, diverse, and “colorful” taste of a great Oregon wine. Enjoy.
What's better than learning to grow your own herb garden? Drinking wine of course! Because wine makes every project a little more fun, right? Straight from the rich, moist soil of Oregon in the vineyards of Willamette Valley comes Rainstorm wines where we grow our grapes. So sip on some Oregon wines and lets learn how to grow an Oregon inspired herb garden. Herbs gardens are a fantastic way to introduce more flavor into your life, and you don’t have to have a green thumb to grow one, either. Here’s how you can start your very own herb garden:
- Pour yourself a glass of wine. Since we are getting down to the roots lets unfold and sip on some vino.Oregon wines will make the next steps even more fun, we promise.
- Decide where to plant the herbs. Herbs can be grown outdoors or inside in pots; they just need enough room to spread out.
- Make sure the herbs will receive adequate sunlight. Most herbs love the sun. If the temperature regularly climbs above 90 degrees, though, choosing a location that has filtered sunlight or afternoon shade will keep your plants healthy.
- Prepare your soil. If you’re planting in the ground, prep the soil by using a garden fork or rake to break up compacted dirt. Add a layer of compost if you have it available, or mix in a little bit of fertilizer. A small amount of fertilizer can also be added to indoor potted herbs to promote growth.
- Choose your herbs. There is a huge variety of herbs available, so think about how you plan to use them. Lavender and rosemary can be used to freshen up a room or even as a hair rinse. Basil, thyme, rosemary, and cilantro are commonly used for cooking, while mint and lemon balm make a delicious tea. Fresh chives, for example, elevate a simple farmer’s market salad into a perfect summer treat. Even more so when you add a glass of dry Pinot Gris.
- Get your herbs situated in their new home! Use a small shovel or even just your fingers to dig out little spots for your plants, spacing them according to the recommendations on their tag. Carefully remove the plant from its starter container, place into the hole, then add soil to fill in any gaps, pressing it into place.
- Give them a drink. Herbs don’t like to be kept overly moist, but they do need to be watered when the soil begins to dry out. Water the plants in immediately after planting, then continue to monitor the soil to ensure it doesn’t become too dry.
Once your herbs are stabilized and begin to grow (having reached about 6 to 8 inches in size), you can harvest them as needed. Snip about ⅓ of the stalk or stem, cutting off what you need with a pair of clean shears. Herbs grow best when pruned and harvested frequently, so be sure to cut them back regularly to ensure healthy, productive plants. Now go get started! Herbs are easy to grow, beautiful, fragrant, and can enhance the flavor of even the most basic meals. Here in the PNW, we emphasize using fresh, locally produced foods as much as possible, and these are made even better when homegrown herbs are added. And when paired with delicious Rainstorm wines, you’ve got a complete flavor profile that will make your palate sing with happiness!
Sometimes, being “stuck” inside during a rainstorm is the best way to spend the day. Doing what? Glad you asked!
- Pick up something you forgot you started. This could be an old scrapbook you never quite finished, a poem you’ve been stuck on, or a book that’s collecting dust. Pop open a bottle of crisp Pinot Gris for inspiration.
- Clean. Just think about how a clean refrigerator or fresh laundry will make you feel tomorrow, when you have less free time. A personal favorite? Purging the closet. Trying on old things that you thought were fashionable, only to question your judgment, is a great way to make room for new things to come.
- Work out. If there isn’t lightning outside, try going for a jog in the rain. You will feel a sweet kind of tired and satisfied-- trust us. Or pop on a video and get sweaty.
- YouTube a hairstyle and try it out.
- Find a writing prompt online. Using a search engine, look for “random writing prompt generator” and see what comes up. Write about it for five minutes and move on to a different prompt.
- Shop for a birthday gift. Odds are, someone in your life has a birthday that is fast approaching. By doing it ahead of time, you can wrap and make the gift much more personal than if you waited until the last minute. Better yet, let your crafty side out and make one.
- Listen to an album that was your favorite in high school. This will make you laugh, cry, and probably ask yourself why you stopped listening to it.
- Call an old friend. Texting may be easier, but nothing replaces a phone call.
- Sit outside. If you have a porch, listen to the sound of the rain. Nothing beats that serene sound.
- Treat yourself. Enjoy some aptly-named Rainstorm Wine. You can combine this one with any of the activities above. Our Pinot Gris has an aromatic honey-blossom flavor that will make you feel at once relaxed and refreshed. Just like a good rainstorm.