Cheers! Wine Consultants

By Dan & Krista Stockman


It's a new year, which means resolutions – the kind you keep, the kind you don't. In addition to our annual resolutions to get back on track with healthy eating and exercising, we also like to make wine resolutions.

One resolution we seem to make every year is to try to drink more white wines. It's not that we don't like them – we do, very much – it's just that we love red wines so much, that's usually where we look first. But resolutions pay off: During 2019 we really did drink more whites, and we discovered some real treasures and entire new wine regions to get to know. For 2020, we resolve to keep it up.

Typically, our wine resolutions also involve trying something new or visiting a new place. Our goal is to try wines from all 50 states, and we've already had wines from 33, so we're getting closer. Our current travel plans don't include any of the states we're missing, but you never know what opportunities may present themselves.

We do plan to take our first trip to Oregon, however. This summer, we'll celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary, and we decided it was time to take another vacation without the kids. We discussed going back to the Napa Valley region, where we went for our 10th anniversary, because there is so much more we want to see. But we've also been longing to go to Oregon.

So, in the spirit of new adventures, we booked a place in the Willamette Valley, right along the Willamette River and will celebrate 20+ years of adventures in wine country.

Oregon is home to about 725 wineries, and about 500 of those are in the Willamette Valley. Even we can't cover 500 wineries in a week, so we'll have to figure out a way to narrow it down. We had this same issue planning our trip 10 years ago, as there are about 500 tasting rooms in Napa Valley.

There are some wineries we feel we have to visit because we see their wines on the shelves locally and want to see what gems are only available at the wineries. That has paid off in the past: We often see wines from St. Francis Winery in Sonoma on the shelves, but usually just their Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. What we only learned by visiting is that the winery specializes in Krista's favorite: Zinfandel. For example, their Artisan Collection has 13 wines, of which four are Zins. None are Cabernet.

Other Oregon wineries we have heard of but never tried. We'll talk to friends who have been to Oregon and get recommendations. And we may even pick some just because we like their name. (Yes, we do that, too. Wine is about having fun, right?)

Once we have the list narrowed down, we'll look into whether we need to make an appointment for a tour at the winery or if we can just walk in. Since these trips are always somewhat of a “working” vacation, we like to have a mix of planned and spontaneous experiences.

We'll share more about our experience as we make our plans and after we return, of course.

In the meantime, if you haven't made any wine resolutions, do it now. One resolution could be to use your love of wine to support a good cause. There is no shortage of wine tasting fundraisers out there. Our favorite is the WBOI/WBNI Picked by the Pros Wine Pairing Dinner, where it just so happens we are the Pros guiding guests through a six-course meal, all in support of Northeast Indiana Public Radio. If you're in the area, you can already purchase tickets at (and hurry – this event sells out!). If you're not in the area, check out There's sure to be something happening near you.


A new year and a new wine adventure awaits