It’s always around this time of year that the conversation starts in my house.  What to do about Valentine’s Day? I, like many women, try and pretend that it isn’t important to me, but if the day rolled around and there wasn’t at least a card and a flower picked from some bush, I would probably have my feelings a little hurt. I mean, who doesn’t like to be showered with affection and sometimes roses and champagne?

So, get a card, pick a flower or make dinner but this year also consider offering your sweetie the gift of a shared experience. On Valentine’s Day, give the gift of a future date night. This is what I also like to refer to as “mutually beneficial gifts.” One of the best mutually beneficial gifts is a wine outing.

Any wine pairs nicely with Valentine’s Day. Pick a bottle (or two) to pair with one of these wine-centric gifts that will be sure to impress any wine-loving girl or guy on your list.

For the Pinot Passionate

Is your sweetheart a Pinot noir lover? Turn the heartbreak grape (as it is sometimes known) into a sweetheart of a gift with tickets to this year’s International Pinot Noir Celebration, which takes place this July in McMinnville. Tickets are $900 per person for a full weekend. This includes visits to wineries, special tastings of rare wines from around the world, epicurean meals and an opportunity to rub shoulders with winemaking icons and some of the industry’s top movers and shakers.

On a tighter budget? No problem. Just grab tickets for Passport to Pinot, which takes place the last day of the event and features food from local restaurants—as well as wine from participating wineries in a $125 wine tasting walk-about. You could also procure tickets to my personal favorite, the Salmon Bake, for $200. The dinner takes place on Saturday night and features a meal of Northwest salmon cooked over a traditional wood coal BBQ pit dug into the ground.

For the Lifelong Learner

Portland’s The Wine and Spirit Archive, headquartered in trendy NE Portland, is a great option for a shared experience. They have classes that range from wines of Washington, to German riesling, to sparkling wines from around the world and sessions on how to pair wine with food. Classes are taught by some of the leading wine educators in the Northwest. Their combination of knowledge, personality and palate make for a fine way to spend a few hours. They even offer certification courses for the extra wine motivated. Don’t know which one to choose? They also offer gift certificates. 

For the Active Type

Does your significant other love staying active as much as they love wine? Another great experiential gift to give your loved one is two entries into one of the Willamette Valley’s upcoming half marathons. What makes these runs so great is that you get to celebrate your accomplishment with delicious wine from local vintners.  The Wine Country Half Marathon takes place in August and the Fueled by fine Wine half Marathon (it’s a hilly one) begins and ends in the hills of Dundee and takes place in July. Have your cake and eat it to, you’ll burn off the calories, get a great work out, drink some wine and be in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, the Willamette Valley. Afterward, head for a recovery meal at one of the fantastic eating establishments the area has to offer and shack up in a hotel or B&B.

This year for Valentine’s Day, make your present an experience. Let your gift be one you can enjoy together, savor and build memories with, much like a bottle of wine. 

Jennifer Cossey
Contributing Writer | + posts