My husband and I recently toured the Willamette Valley for a much-needed weekend getaway. I’d also classify it as a business trip, because I was busy researching exceptional wine pairings for my up-coming holiday catering orders. It’s a tough job, I know!

It's fascinating to explore areas residing on the 45th Parallel—an imaginary line connecting some of the finest wine regions across the globe. These include (but are not limited to) the Bordeaux and Cotes du Rhone regions of France, Piedmont, Italy and the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Of course, simply being part of the “45th family” does not guarantee a high-quality vino. But rather, all wines, no matter where they are from, are ultimately affected by climate and soil, among other things. 

I chose to visit the fabulous wineries in the Willamette Valley, as they’re known for striking that perfect atmospheric balance and bringing us some of the country’s—even the world’s—best wines. As we enter the most elegant season of the year, I strive to elevate the everyday. And wine can do just that. In addition to serving a 5-star holiday menu, your guests will swoon for the perfect pairing. 

If you’re searching for something special, I suggest looking to these vineyards and collections for inspiration…

Top Wine Recommendations in the Valley

Domaine Drouhin

Their branding speaks volumes: French Soul, Oregon Soil. One of the most interesting things about Drouhin is that they plant their vines 1 meter apart, as they do in France. The lovely people we met at Drouhin explained that planting in this way forces the vines to compete for nutrients and water, which prompts them to root deeper into the soil. It also helps them sustain life during dry periods and produce lower yields and smaller, more concentrated grapes. Try one of their distinguished varieties if you typically favor French wine. 

Bells Up Winery

This is a boutique winery owned and operated by David Specter. If you want to learn more about anything and everything wine related, from wine making to storage, visit Bells Up the next time you’re out West. They only make 400 cases of classically-grown Pinot Noir each year, and offer small-batch varietals. This handcrafted approach makes every bottle as unique and special as the holiday season. I can’t wait until next November when I can finally open up the 2014 Pinots I purchased on this trip!

Boisset Collection

Another personal favorite of mine is the Boisset Collection, featuring wines from over 25 wineries in California, France, England and Canada. This distinguished family “unites Old World and New into the One World of Wine, offering an unparalleled exploration of terroir, heritage, vineyards and style.” This selection is always a go-to for me when I’m searching for an extraordinary wine for an extraordinary occasion. 

Sourcing for Holiday Catering & Gift Giving

  • Host a Holiday Party in Chicago. Get a Free Bottle of Wine. These spectacular wines are available when you book a holiday catering with Deb Miley Dishes. You’ll also receive a free bottle, compliments of Chef Deb, when you order before 12/31/16.
  • Join Our Wine Club. Deb Miley Dishes is proud to offer an exclusive wine club, featuring some of the world’s most sought-after varietals. This is a truly unique gift idea and it makes for a great addition to your weekly Personal Chef Service. View Food & Wine Pairing details here. 

For more information on holiday catering and wine clubs, call Deb Miley in Chicago at 925-683-4523.