Oregon mountains

My Annual Hike


7 minutes reading

Dear Friends,

It is already November. The weather has been crisp here in Amity. Fall is my favorite time of year and this week continued to show me why. The sunrises and sunsets have been beautiful, the leaves on the vines are at various stages of turning colors. The air feels so fresh!

Thank you to all who replied to my email last week with words of support about our 2020 harvest. So many of you have begun supporting the Grower Relief Fund. It is already making a big difference!

I have been in Oregon for a week now and it is so good to see my team, our growers and all the guests at Brooks. I ate my way through the tasting room menu for October. It felt a little glutenous to have lamb chops, scallops and beef stew for lunch. And the change in month means a change in menu. Apparently the mushroom sandwich is a not to miss and it is on the menu starting today. Executive Chef Norma is intentionally focusing on unique and special menu items that bring comfort and joy to our guests.

There is always such a range of emotions for me in Oregon. I am going to share a story below that always gives me a laugh and warms my heart. I hope it does the same for you!


The Annual Hike

Jimi and Pascal during the summer of 2004, just months before his passing

Each year, I try to go on a hike to the spot above. It is Cascade Head, just north of Lincoln City in Oregon. It was a special spot for Jimi and one that he went to with our dad and Pascal often. Prior to Jimi’s passing, I had never been there.

A few weeks after Jimi passed away, I wanted to spread his ashes at this spot. We had never spread our parents ashes either and I thought all three of them should be together. I was staying with friends of Jimi’s and I shared my plans with them. They wanted to go with me but I really felt like it was something I needed to do alone. They were hesitant (and later I learned why and you will too) but I was determined. So I packed up a large plastic bag of my mom, dad and Jimi’s ashes and set out on my one hour drive to the coast.

When I got to the coast, I was low on gas so I went into Lincoln City. I got to the gas station and realized I had forgotten to bring my purse. I needed money to have enough gas to get home. I decided to pull into a real estate office. I explained the situation and asked to borrow $20 from a complete stranger. Thank goodness for kind people as a man let me borrow the money. And not to worry, I did send him a check when I got home. I was a stressed mess at this time of my life anyways and this only added to the adventure.

I filled up with gas and drove to the trail head. When I arrived, I expected to see the view above thinking it was close to the parking lot and you just walked out to it. I followed the arrows to the beginning of the trail. What I came to find out is that trail was the beginning of a 4.2 mile hike with a climb in elevation of 1,200 feet to get to the picture spot. So just picture me: a 5 foot girl in regular clothes and slip on sandals with a heavy bag of human remains over her shoulder determined to get to the specific spot in this photo. Did I mention the trail was muddy? I passed many people that were coming down as I was going up. They must have thought I was crazy. And let’s be honest, I was clearly not thinking straight just completely driven by emotion! But I made it.

When I reached this beautiful meadow, I was all alone. I spent a good hour there thinking about my family. The ocean is always a place for me that is grounding. No matter what is going on in my life, the ocean waves remind me that the world keeps going and that I should too. It always lifts me up.

We need to remember to have some levity in our lives. I laugh every time I tell this story. Often someone will point out that there is another way to get to that spot that is only 1 mile and a 160 feet climb. Oh well, I never have never taken the easy way. One side note, if you spread ashes, you should think about the direction of the wind before you do so. Yes, on the first attempt that blew right back at me. Ha!

Harts Cove, Oregon Coast 2020

My friend and I attempted to hike Cascade Head this week only to drive out there and find it has been closed due to COVID. We called the ranger station who directed us to Harts Cove. It was a 5.5 mile hike with a 900 foot climb just up the road. Similar to Cascade Head, you emerge from the forest into a meadow overlooking the ocean. As you can see from above, it was a gorgeous day! I always take a moment to reflect and love my mom, dad and Jimi there as I know they are with me when I make this annual trip.

The Value of The Club Is Mutual

Our wine club is 30% of our revenue and it continues to be the engine behind the machine. As we have seen with COVID, our businesses are very fragile. When restaurants across the country closed and our tasting room had to close back in March, we lost 70% of our revenue. Thank goodness for our PPP. But looking ahead both short term with COVID cases rising and the slightly longer term with no harvest for 2020, it is clear that the wine club will continue to be our strength. Not only do we value our club members, we in turn provide them value on products and events at Brooks. And some of the value we bring is more intangible. Watch below and see all the reasons our members love being a part of the club! If you are not a member, we would love to have your join the family!

We love all the reasons that members have joined the club

On Friday, we released the new vintage of the 2016 Sparkling riesling to our club members exclusively. It is fun to see it fly out the doors! It will be perfect for the holidays!


Last Day To Order Beyond Brooks-November

The upcoming Beyond Brooks events are going to be a great treat. This Friday, our moderator, Master of Wine Bree Stock and I will be at Hiyu Wine Farm where Floreal Cider is made to meet with the owner, Nate Ready. I am really looking forward to it! The following week we will be going to Rogue Creamery to prepare for the December event.


I am going to head out for one of my favorite hikes this afternoon. It will be a busy and productive week at the winery. Our events planning team will have our annual all day meeting which with COVID restrictions will take a new course for sure. I have a long meeting with the production team too.

I hope you all enjoy your Sunday and have a good week ahead.

Have any ideas for in person or virtual events? I would love to hear them! janie@brookswine.com or my cell 831-238-4828.