Andréa Johnson and Robert Holmes have unparalled expertise in the Willamette Valley, giving exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the premier wineries, winemakers , farmers, and chefs in Oregon. They have worked in the Willamette Valley for over 20 years building relationships with the industry available to very few people. Andréa and Bob photographed the coffee table book “Passion for Pinot” published in 2008, and in addition Andréa has photographed Essential Wineries of the Pacific Northwest (2012) & Spectacular Wineries of Oregon (2015) books, hundreds of photos and over a dozen Wine Spectator’s feature stories on Oregon for the past decade, and worked extensively with the owners of each location featured for in depth story telling photographs.
We will spend our time photographing scenic vineyards, farms & renowned boutique wineries, while enjoying gourmet private wine tastings and food pairings and dining with leading winemakers. The Willamette Valley is renowned for hospitably – we are fortunate that everyone featured in this tour are personal friends.
In addition to the intimate, private custom wine tour experiences, we will also explore custom itineraries for aerial perspectives. We will have our own, private helicopter to transport us above the Valley giving us the opportunity to photograph the landscape from the air and whisk us between wineries, and we will also have drones available to explore techniques to create dramatic aerial photographs. In addition, we will tour through vineyards by horseback for unique angles and photo opportunities with models at several locations.
If you love photography and love wine, this “insider” tour combines absolutely the best of both.
Eric Asmov, Chief Wine Critic of The New York Times, one of the most respected wine journalists, recently wrote:
“Oregon is right now the single most exciting winemaking area in the United States. . . . Part of what I love about Oregon, and the Willamette Valley in particular, is the small scale. Most Willamette wineries are family operations, and the business of the valley is clearly agriculture, not tourism. It has yet to see the large-scale hotels, fancy restaurants and extravagant winery structures that make, say, Napa Valley seem more Disney than farmland.”
4 nights, 5 days tour from Portland through Willamette Valley wine regions.
Dates & Pricing
- Tue, July 31 – Sat, Aug 4
- $4,448 per person
- Tour limited to 6 participants for intimate, exclusive access
- All lodging at luxury resorts
- All transportation including cars driven by Andrea & Bob to comfortably hold participants and photo gear
- All activities including private wine tastings, helicopter and horseback riding
- All meals and extensive wine tastings except one dinner listed below, at renowned restaurants and wineries
- Photography instruction – both Andréa and Bob will be available to assist with any photography questions or skills throughout the tour, provide initial photo tips presentation at beginning of tour, and individual consultation and review of photos at the end of the tour
- A custom hard-cover book of our tour with photographs from all participants will be provided after the end of the tour
What’s not included
- One a la carte dinner at the Allison Inn
- Incidentals not listed above, trip insurance
- Access will be provided to purchase limited availability wines and free wine shipments for qualified purchases. No minimum purchases necessary
Insert a map here of Willamette Valley
- Insert individual AVA maps
- Ribbon Ridge AVA
- Dundee Hills AVA
- Eola Hills AVA
Tue, July 31
Arrive in Portland
- Fly into PDX to arrive by late afternoon
- Overnight at the Nine’s hotel.
- Group meet up 5pm lobby lounge reserved room
- Walking to Imperial restaurant & chefs Rooftop garden with bee hives
- Winemaker dinner at Imperial with Lynn & Ron Penner-Ash
- Custom chef wine pairing and immersion course – how to pair wine with each dish at Imperial with James beard award winning chef Vitaley Palely, and renowned winemaker Lynn Penner-Ash. Dinner to follow in private room at Imperial with Lynn & Ron Penner-Ash.
- Late night
- Departure rooftop outside deck bar with views of downtown on your own
- Winemaker dinner at Imperial with Lynn & Ron Penner-Ash
Wed, Aug 1
- 7:30 am
- Ken forkish – bakery private tour & photoshoot
- Breakfast – Urban Farmer at the Nine’s hotel
- Drive 40 minutes to the Allison Inn & Spa in Willamette Valley
- Photography presentation in conference room – overview of itinerary, tips for helicopter aerials, landscape, shooting lifestyle food & wine, storytelling series of photos
- Check in at Allison Inn & Spa
- Brair rose creamery private tour and photoshoot of cheesemaking
- 1:30 pm – 6pm
- Custom Helicopter Wine Tour & photoshoot (2.5 hours)
- Meet at Red Hills market for champagne welcome & safety overview
Helicopter tour winery visits:
- 2-3:15 pm private tour & lunch outdoor patio with food by Red Hills Market
- Fly around Dundee Hills wineries
- Brick house
- 3:30 – 4:45pm private tour and tasting with owner Doug Tunnell
- Fly around Ribbon Ridge wineries
- Penner Ash
- After hours access 5pm – 6pm private barrel tasting with Lynn Penner-Ash
- Access to patio views over garden, vineyard, and Mt. Hood
- Helicopter will depart after drop off Penner Ash, we will be driven to cars nearby at Precision Helicopters
- Drive back to Allison Inn, option to stop along way for dusk vineyard landscape photos
- 8 pm
- Dinner Allison Inn’s Jory restaurant (inside or outdoor patio)
Thurs, Aug 2
Yamhill Valley AVA wine tours
- 6:30- 7am
- Light Breakfast on your own Jory restaurant
- 7:30am – 9am
- Three options depending on interest of group
- Yoga at Allison Inn with Jill Knouse
- Raindance Vineyards private tour – llamas & classic cars
- Allison Inn chef’s garden tour & photoshoot
- Soter Winery private tour & photoshoot through farm & garden with viticulturist
- Drone flying demos on property
- 11:30am – 1pm
- Soter MSR Provisions lunch and wine pairing
- 2 – 4pm
- Big table farm
- Farm tour & lifestyle photos
- 5-6 pm
- Wine country landscape photos
- 6pm – 9pm
- Saffron Fields Vineyard
- Vineyard, Art & Japanese Garden tour
- Private patio dinner with winery owners on patio overlooking Japanese Garden and vineyard, catered on site by Valley Commissary
Fri, Aug 3
Eola Hills AVA wine tours
- 7:30 – 800am
- Meet Sarah Hahn at barn – horse prep photos
- 8:00 – 8:30am
- Drive through wine country to Cristom Vineyards
- 8:30 – 9:30
- Horseback riding photos through Cristom Vineyards
- Option for drone photos over Sarah riding horseback
- 9:30 – 11:30
- Cristom Winery tour with owner & winegrower Tom Gerrie, and barrel tasting with winemaker Steve Doerner
- 11:30- 12:30
- Horseback ride through Cristom vineyards over Eola Hills to Bethlel Heights Vineyards (optional car shuttle for those who don’t want to horseback ride, horses are very mellow and gentle)
- 12:30 -2:30
- Bethel Heights food & wine pairing in private tasting room with owner Pat Dudley
- 2:30- 4 pm
- Optional Willamette Valley Cheese co behind the scenes tour
- Or Private tour with Erica Landon of Walter Scott winery through their vineyards
- 4:30 – 8pm
- Brooks winery biodynamic garden tour
- Private tasting and tour with owner Janie Heuck
- Private dinner from Chef Abby with wine pairing, vegetables from garden and locally sourced farms
- Sunset photos from deck of Brooks overlooking vineyards & Mt. Hood
- 8:30 pm
- Return to Allison Inn, option for drinks on patio outside
Sat, Aug 4
- Breakfast jory
- Slideshow presentation of participants photos review
- Optional time for
- individual photography consultations
- optional spa services at Allison Inn & Spa
- Transportation back to Portland at noon
Additional photos from actual locations visited on tour:
“This is not the river
it’s an explanation of the river
that replaced the river.”
– Dean Young
Dashashwamedh Ghat Road (and it’s not easy for me to say either) is an unrelenting stream of humanity flowing down to the Ganges. Just after the incongruous tower of St. Thomas’s Anglican church, sitting in the middle of this chaos as though it has somehow been miraculously teleported from a small English town, and randomly plonked down in India, all motor traffic is banned. All day long, coaches disgorge pods of pale tourists that join the pedestrian mele like icebergs floating out to sea. Anxious faces try hard not to lose their guide, terrified that they may be uncontrollably swept away to the great unknown.
One slip and it’s a watery grave in the raging tributary to the Indus.
Passion is such an overused word but I don’t know a photographer who is not passionate about what they do. They are certainly not doing it to get rich!
Anyone in a creative field needs that passion to excel whether they are writers, painters, cooks, winemakers or photographers. They are far easier ways to make a much better living but it all comes down to how you want to spend your life.
I read an interesting take on passion by the Swiss chef Daniel Humm. When he says he has a passion for food and a passion for cooking his use of the word “passion” refers to the German word: leidedschaft which approximately means “enjoy suffering”
“That would be my translation,” he says. “Passion is not something pleasant. Are you willing to suffer for this? That’s when you have passion. Otherwise, it’s a hobby. Passion is not a hobby.”
Along with movie star, travel photographer always used to rank as one of the most desirable dream jobs. Friends saw me jetting off to exotic destinations every month and even my mother back in England would always say “Have a nice holiday.” If only they knew.
Bridges of Madison County didn’t help the image of a travel photographer. Getting paid to travel the world, staying in luxury hotels and dining in 3 star Michelin restaurants every night, not to mention all those women throwing themselves at you had a certain appeal – if only it was true.
This is the reality. Magazines used to spend a lot of money in airfares, hotels, meals etc. to send you to cover a destination and you were expected to come back with the goods. No excuses. This puts a tremendous amount of pressure on you. I remember spending the month of June in Paris shooting for Bill Gates with an almost unlimited expense account and I would be out before sunrise at 5 AM and often not finish shooting until after sunset. One night I was still shooting Notre Dame at 11 at night and there was still light in the sky. I went out of my way not to screw up. No time for fun.
National Geographic assignments were the same. You know if you screw up it could be the last time you work for them and it’s a surprisingly small world and the word soon gets out.
The Karakoram Highway had only been open for a few weeks. Talk about a scenic highway!
The first job I did for Geographic was in Northern Pakistan. I spent 4 months in the Karakoram Mountains living in a tent. This was a typical protein filled lunch and yes, I did eat it!
The terrain was exceptionally dangerous and I was caught between two feuding villages about 3 days apart. Hispar, a village with a notoriously volatile population of under 500 clinging to the edge of civilization, was where I had to hire porters. A couple of years previously the whole village had been put on probation for abandoning a Japanese climbing expedition and stealing all their equipment. The hike into Hispar had taken 3 days and I had continued along the Hispar Glacier to the Hispar Pass at 17,000 ft., several days past the village. On my way back I came down with amoebic dysentery and collapsed back at the village. I had to stay in a hut on the outskirts of the village as non-muslims had never been allowed in. My friend, photographer Galen Rowell, had tried to get into the village several times and never been able to. After a few days, for some reason, the villagers relented and allowed me to walk around their village but first made sure all the women were inside. I developed a close relationship with many of the men and being able to assimilate is one of the secrets of being a successful travel photographer. But then things went horribly wrong.
The final bridge across the melt waters from the Hispar Glacier. And you think our roads are bad!
An ongoing feud escalated between the people of Hispar and the people of Nagar the next closest village with which there was no road access. A porter was sent from Nagar to “rescue” me and get me out of there. A young Nagari, Ali Haider, had accompanied me on several treks through the mountains and now he was thrown into this volatile situation. We were immediately put under house arrest on the edge of the village with a guard posted to keep his eye on us. I now felt like a traitor to these former friends and the last thing I wanted was to get caught in the middle of this.
It was Ramadan and we knew that as soon as the sun set everyone would rush inside to eat. That included our guard. We surreptitiously packed our gear ready for a quick escape. The time came and we hit the road as quietly and quickly as possible. Not quietly enough. Someone in the village heard us and soon a small posse of villagers was chasing after us. They reached us before we got to a major river crossing and started to physically attack young Ali. They ignored me but I jumped in swinging my ice axe and they retreated from this crazy foreigner and went back to the village to gather reinforcements. These were guys that wouldn’t think twice about throwing you into the raging river a couple of hundred feet below us.
It was now dark and we traveled without lights along the mountain trail that had taken us 3 full days to negotiate on the way in. It was a moonless night and the only light was from the stars. Soon we could hear a gang of people coming along the path after us and occasionally see their lights in the distance. I have never moved so fast in my life. We sped across almost non-existent trails and around midnight Ali went off the path to a hidden shelter he knew high on the mountainside. I was still weak from the dysentery and needed to rest. We could hear them for at least another hour and then everything went quiet. I didn’t sleep a wink that night and kept hearing imaginary sounds of lynch squads coming to get us.
We set off again before dawn and arrived back in Nagar in just under 24 hours!
Admittedly this wasn’t a normal assignment but even the most benign journeys can have their problems
A couple of years ago I was in Laos traveling close to the Chinese border. I wanted to photograph some of the remote hill tribes and the more inaccessible the better. We started in Luang Numpta, a nondescript village where the bone rattling bus from Luang Prabang deposits everyone after a nauseating 12-hour drive. The morning before we left for the mountains we had to stock up on provisions and walked over to the local market along muddy and potholed streets. I always carry a camera with me and my Nikon D4 was swinging over my shoulder. I jumped a particularly evil looking mud patch, my foot caught the far side of it, both my feet shot out from under me and I fell flat on my back in the mud hitting the back of my head in the process. The embarrassment and pain were the least of my problems. My Nikon with a 24-70 f2.8 lens attached smashed onto the ground snapping the lens off the camera body leaving me one body and an ultra wide angle zoom. I had to adapt.
The trek into the village was steep, hot, humid and long. I wasn’t feeling the greatest after my fall and a heavy backpack was the last thing I needed to carry. I struggled up the mountainside barely being able to keep my balance. In fact I didn’t keep my balance and took a couple of nasty tumbles. Nevertheless, for me the photographs always justify the suffering.
I would return in a heartbeat. I’ve always found the most satisfying journeys have been the most difficult. I enjoy a challenge.
The real challenge is looking objectively at the photographs later. We tend to remember the whole experience and the difficulty in getting the shot. It can cloud our view. Just because they were difficult to get doesn’t make them great photographs. Nobody else knows what you went through to get them. Stand back and ask yourself if the shots were really that good
Photo ©Andrea Johnson
One of the hill tribe women in her finest outfit.
5 tips for maximizing your photo experience in Cuba 2017
As a photographer, Cuba had always been on my bucket list. It was never a problem for me to visit because I’m British but for some inexplicable reason I never went.
You are always told, “If only you’d been here 30 years ago.” Well, I wasn’t and I was a little apprehensive as to what dramatic changes had taken place [Read more…]
Cuba, the energy of this place captivated me. The openness of the people, the rhythm of the music and dance, the layers of art, history, and culture. Can’t wait to return!
Two of my favorite preparations for a trip are reading books from other travelers capturing a feeling of place, and beginning a packing list of my favorite items [Read more…]
For inspiration, here’s photos our group took on the 2017 Cuba tour, made into a book.
Here’s a link to view our custom book from our group photos in Havana and Trinidad (best viewed in Chrome or Safari if on the iPhone):
Every dawn and dusk thousands of pilgrims travel to the Ganges and perform the Ganga Aarti ceremony; making a wish, lighting a candle, and setting it afloat on the river. One of my wishes – to align my life and photography in a more balanced way. How? A surprising example may be this story of the photo I didn’t take.
The Sadhu was striking in appearance – white long hair, golden robe, radient weathered face and sinuous body. Something about the way he walked, held his head, and his calm eyes was different than the other Sadhus I’d encountered, too many eager to ask for a donation to pose for a photo. And it was obvious that I was in search of photographs, walking the ghats with two cameras around my shoulders, my eyes scanning the scene for images. As our paths converged in a relatively quiet area, where perfect morning light softly lit the colorful, graphic stairs of the ghat, we glanced at each other as we passed. I think we both took each other by surprise – that I didn’t raise my camera to take his photo, and that he didn’t stretch his hand out for a donation. I turned around to glance at the Sadhu one more time, and he turned simultaneously. He paused, the slightest gesture of his head communicated that he was inquisitive, possibly even open to being photographed and certainly curious that I hadn’t asked or tried to candidly captured the moment.
But I was tired of the superficial transaction I knew taking a quick photo would be, briefly regretting that I couldn’t linger here for days. For awhile I’ve been focusing more on capturing the perfect photo than the experience. Now I was searching for something more. In this circumstance, by not taking a photo I was able to connect – if only for a moment – authentically with him as a person. In the holiest of all places for Hindus, I had to believe there were still some things sacred. I smiled at him, did a slight bow and brought my hands to prayer as a sign of Namaste in greeting , and he graced me with his smile. He was indeed a “real” Sadhu, and this may be the most memorable experiences I had in India.