The Costco Connection
Costco members can also travel to their
local Costco warehouse and find a large
variety of domestic and imported wines.
BLACK WALNUT INN
Neal and Karen Utz • Dundee, Oregon
OWNING A B&B was always on Karen Utz’s
bucket list. When a real estate agent showed
Karen and her husband, Neal, a former plum
orchard in Oregon’s Willamette Valley with
magnificent 360-degree views of vineyards,
snowcapped Mount Hood and the Cascade
mountains, a 45-minute drive from Portland,
the temptation was irresistible.
“We didn’t even know if we could build a
Oregon-only wine list (600-plus choices) and
mushroom-tasting menu in an 1857 house.
And don’t forget to taste Black Walnut’s own
pinot, sold on-site only.
THE RAFORD INN
Dane Pitcher and Rita Wells
IT’S A MAJESTIC setting: a large white hilltop mansion, flanked by tall, slender Canary
Island date palm trees, across the road from a
vineyard in California’s Russian River Valley.
Four acres overflow with flowers and fruits:
pomegranates, pears, Meyer lemons, olives,
apples, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries,
13 types of mint, four wine grape varieties,
hops, even century-old Mexican fan palms.
It’s no surprise the owner has a green
thumb: Dane Pitcher was once the guide and
live-in caretaker of the Luther Burbank Home
& Gardens in Santa Rosa, where the famous
horticulturist who developed more than 800
B&B here. Maybe it would just be a single-family home for me and Karen. But if that
was the downside, it was OK by us,” says
Neal, a pharmacist and owner of a building-materials firm.
The family opened their Tuscan-style
luxury B&B in 2003. Neal laid hardwood
floors with son Kris, who cleared the 42-acre
parcel with a tractor, and they planted pinot
noir on 13 acres, after studying winemaking
and hiring a consultant.
Karen, a teacher, and daughter Melissa
decorated nine suites with colorful brocaded
bed coverings, duvets, huge marble-floored
bathrooms, antiques, ceramics and art by
local artists. Karen cooks the hot breakfasts,
such as Dutch baby pancakes with apples and
Chantilly cream, or Mexican tortillas with
local Tillamook cheese.
Winery-hopping is easy: More than 100
wineries are clustered within 20 miles. Nearby
Yamhill Valley towns are chock-full of tasting
rooms and restaurants fit for foodies. Popular
destinations include Dayton, home of The
Joel Palmer House, a restaurant known for its
Black Walnut Inn
The Raford Inn
44 ;e Costco Connection MAY 2015
By Sharon McDonnell
WOULDN’T IT BE nice, after a day of winery-hopping, to walk a few feet to your room
and not worry about driving or naming a designated driver? Mission accomplished: A
number of lodgings in wine country—some winery-owned—offer tastings, beautiful
vineyard views and, in many cases, full-fledged restaurants with wine pairings and vino-therapy treatments so you can savor the full wine-country experience. The variety will
delight lovers of the grape: posh resorts, quaint B&Bs and stand-alone houses. Here are
just four of dozens of our favorite Costco-member-owned wine-country lodgings.
and charm of