Have you ever longed to spend the afternoon with the family on a picturesque country estate complete with rolling green hills, a lake with paddling ducks, and paths to walk?
Imagine a picnic on the lawn or terrace with a glass of wine for the adults and plenty of room for the kids to run around and play. And to top it off, a cave guarded by a large iron dragon?
Villa Catalana Winery is all about that. Inspired by a 12th century Romanesque stone monastery in Catalonia, Spain, Villa Catalana winery and tasting room/conservatory, stands elegantly among the vineyards just south of Oregon City, Oregon. A long sweeping driveway leads up to a lower parking lot and a stone terrace bedecked with lemon, lime and olive trees. Water trickles down a fountain in the center, supported by large twisting fish. Tall corinthian columns support a pergola with flowering vines that creep across the top and down the sides. Have I been transported back to medieval Andalucia?
My daughter, her mother-in-law, and my 2 year old grandson Paxton have joined me for an afternoon of wine and dine among glorious gardens and mirror-like ponds. After we purchase our lunch buffet, a special offer for the day, and glasses of wine from the tasting room, we head out to the terrace overlooking the lake. There are several seating options, from single table settings around the lake to the large terrace.
Unbeknownst to us, we were at the foot of the dragon and his lair. After our lunch, we walked up to the hulking statue and passed into the cave. On a craggy shelf was a skull looking more plastic than bone. However, we couldn’t convince my grandson that it was probably a cheap leftover from halloween. He ran back outside in a shot.
A path encircles the large pond with seating along the way. Mama Rose and Paxton chill out with a couple of little matchbox cars confiscated from the deep pockets of his little breeches.
Grandma Bev got a good workout as she stood guard by the pond while Paxton cavorted across the stones.
Play and laughter was enjoyed by all and the afternoon flit by in no time. What I especially loved about this winery was the spacious aspect of the estate. It was perfect for little legs to run, jump and roll across. And, truth be told, for the adults too, as you can see Grandma Susan and Paxton below rolling and giggling.
The old European ambience was everywhere. This pergola supported by Corinthian style columns is reminiscent of ancient Greece.
The owners of the estate, Burl and Cindy, began their business as a Rare Plant Research facility. Extensive exotic gardens decorate the grounds and make a perfect place for monthly wine pairing dinners and buffets. The winery produces delicious Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Syrah and a Cascade Berry Wine Liquor.
Stone gardens are adorned by prickly pear cactus in bloom with the tower of the villa beyond. One of the lakes reflect so clearly the beauty of a columned pergola backed by a baby-blue sky and white cotton clouds.
With the summer weather giving us good reason to stay outdoors, find a winery nearby that offers a family friendly ambience. Bring a big picnic basket full of freshly roasted chicken, baguette and cheese, fruit and drinks for the kids. Spread out a blanket, get a glass of crisp rosè, and let the kids scamper about. After lunch, lie back and watch those fluffy white clouds go sailing by. Ahhhhh, those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.
For more information, visit Villa Catalana