Posts Categorized: Adventures

Celebrating Spring at Tom McCall Preserve

Tom McCall Preserve Tom McCall Preserve

In addition to their work to fight climate change, improve the health of our forests, restore habitat at the coast, The Nature Conservancy helps to protect millions of acres of land across the world. In fact, in Oregon alone, they have protected more than 530,000 acres. One of these special places is Tom McCall Preserve at Rowena.

Arrowleaf Balsamroot

Tom McCall Preserve at Rowena

Located just east of Hood River in the Columbia River Gorge, the Preserve bridges the wet west side of the Cascades with the drier grass prairies of the east, creating a unique landscape with many rare and sensitive plants. Each April and May the preserve is full of bright native flowers. The flowers that are the most prevalent at the Preserve are Arrowleaf Balsamroot and Lupine. Native plant species help preserve the planet’s biodiversity and are often better able to support the local environment and wildlife than ones that are introduced.

Red Tail Hawk

The Preserve is a great example of the beauty and diversity the earth offers when it is protected. The work The Nature Conservancy does help to restore and protect these 231 acres allows birds and other species to thrive. Among the many native flowers, we saw a few red tail hawks during our visit.

Underwood Wine and The Nature Conservancy

We recommend making a trip out there within the next week or so as the peak blooming season is coming to an end. Please stay on marked trails to protect the sensitive species that call it home. Pack your camera, flower identification book, and your favorite beverage.

Learn more about The Nature Conservancy’s efforts to protect #NatureNow.

Tom McCall Preserve

As always, pack it in, pack it out, stay on the trails, and please don’t pick any of the flowers.

More information on the Tom McCall Preserve at Rowena, including directions, highlights, and other resources, is available here.

Above Photo: Rowena Crest ©Gary Grossman/TNC Photo Contest 2019
All Other Photos: ©Union Wine Company

Brett Stenson Artist Spotlight: Behind the Design of Our New Cans

 


My process usually starts with some sort of trip or some sort of experience first, like, how do I develop a strong emotional connection to something I’m going to start drawing or carving? So it starts with coming up with what am I emotionally connected to? And then from there, I start sketching stuff, come up with the composition, come up with the idea.

Brett Stenson Artist Spotlight

Brett Stenson Artist Spotlight

If you go out and draw something that is laying in a stream, you’re going to see a composition that nature made, you didn’t make it up sitting at your computer, like you had to be subjected to it and look at it and accept it for how beautiful or weird or not that beautiful it looks and turn it into something that it is really interesting and cool on paper because if you do it cool, somebody is going to enjoy it so you don’t have to overthink it very much.

Brett Stenson Artist Feature

The idea behind the cans was based on having your own perspective when you’re standing in a river and being able to look down and see fish swimming in rocks and plants. So it almost puts you in a place of, oh, I’ve stood here before or I’ve been in this place before. I think what was cool about designing something that you had to spin and look at was that I wanted it to feel almost like an infinite continuous loop of a river, kind of like passing by as you spin it.

Brett Stenson Artist Feature

I feel like Union Wine and Underwood has such a great reach that they can show a lot more people in an unexpected way, you know, you think you drink it and you’re like, yeah, it’s wine, but it’s also made of water. If it’s not good water, it’s not going to be good wine. So you have to have great water. That makes great grapes. That makes great wine. Making artwork or making design work for people that are going out there and protecting trails, protecting forests, is my way of helping by making things that raise awareness for that stuff because I don’t necessarily have the knowledge or energy to go out and like, know how to protect a river or make it more fertile for fish to live in because that’s what biologists are for. So my design work is like my way of connecting to the things I care about.

Brett Stenson Artist Feature

Backcountry with Ali Lev


As the seasons start to change, there is still a part of us that wants to hold onto the last season. In the Pacific Northwest, the end of February and the beginning of March is a great time to take advantage of the final snowy days on the mountain. Go out solo, with your partner, or with your pups, and of course, don’t forget to throw some Underwood cans in your pack. Our friend, Ali Lev, tells her story below.

Union Wine Co Backcountry Skiing

My name is Ali Lev and my husband’s name is Brad Burnham, and we have two Husky’s named Fiona and Tucker.

Tucker is very much a mama’s boy and very rambunctious but wants to do whatever I’m doing, and Fiona is a typical husky in being very independent and beats to her own drum and comes when she feels like it. But they’re both really good. One of the motivating factors to get me outside is to see them happy and running in the snow.

Union Wine Co Backcountry Skiing

When I was a kid, one of the things that I hated about skiing was being uncomfortable, whether it was being too hot or too cold or too tired or too windy.

I hated the constant fluctuation of discomfort.

And as an adult, I kind of have embraced the discomfort a lot more because I feel like that’s when I’m challenged and I am able to, like, feel those raw feelings more. As they say in back-country skiing, you’ve really got to earn your turns. And even if you’re only doing one lap, you really got to work for it and enjoy the entire day, not just the downhill part. Oregon has been a really pleasant surprise for both Brad and I.

Union Wine Co Backcountry Wine

There’s something really special about having so much greenery all year round. You just feel like there’s life around you at all times. I think that for myself and a lot of others that struggle with mental health issues, whether that’s anxiety and depression or other things, the outdoors is a place where you can let go of all the stresses in life and just be present; creates a sense of freedom that I often don’t feel in other areas of my life.

Union Wine Co Backcountry

It’s not always about going out and having big powder turns.

Sometimes you’re not going to get that, and it’s just about getting fresh air and getting the dogs exercise and being out with friends or your partner and just enjoying the day itself.

Union Wine Co Backcountry

Find a few mental health resources below:

NAMI Oregon
Better Help
The Loveland Foundation
Bigger Than The Trail