I was recently sitting at a window seat on a bus, watching McMinville, Oregon move past me as a returned to Linfield College from a Winery luncheon at Lemelson Vineyards as part of the Friday festivities at the International Pinot Noir Celebration. McMinnville is a small town with Linfield College at its center. The town is surrounded and supported in large party by the vibrant wine industry of the Willamette Valley.
She wasn’t sure. But she suspected that the Big City or at least a big city cultural vibe was too far away from McMinnville to satisfy her. I get that. But given that Portland is merely an hour away, I think I’d be satisfied.
Yet the real difficulty with McMinnville is not Kathy’s concern, but the weather. Despite the fact that the IPNC has a reputation of attracting 100+ degree heat without fail, It rains here. And I mean rain. This year the denizens of McMinnville endured Forty some odd days in a row of rain. While this is unusual, it does point to the fact that there is generally much more rain and gloomy skies in Eastern Oregon than in my neck of the woods: Napa/Sonoma.
On the other hand, I could buy a 2000 square foot home with a 1/4 acre of land for under $400K. This seems like cheating to me given the cost of real estate in Napa/Sonoma and it is very attractive.
Recently I’ve learned that not all wine countries are overly expensive. There’s the McMinnville example and there is the Walla Walla example. Both are vibrant wine countries, yet both very affordable. Both are agricultural communities, yet maintain a certain cosmopolitan air to them. Walla Walla however is in the middle of nowhere and would probably drive Kathy AND ME crazy due to its remoteness. C’est La Vie.
Of course, McMinnville would be much easier to relocate to were their always an International Pinot Noir Celebration occurring. Were their always a jazz band playing, a group of Petanque players tossing metal balls and laughing, wine flowing, food prepared and ready, happy Pinot-filled people milling about. Yes, this would lead me to relocate to McMinnville. I’ll talk to the organizers and see what they can do about adjusting the festival dates to year round.
But who knows what this will do to real estate prices.