Why Grape Escape

We've been doing this a while

We’ve been crafting custom wine experiences in Oregon’s wine country for more than 20 years. During that time, we’re happy to say we’ve learned a thing or two.

As our wine country has emerged, we’ve forged relationships and crafted tours our customers say are ‘just right.’ Whether you are a wine novice, aficionado, or somewhere in between, we’ll create an outing with wineries matched to you. 

Your day begins when our guide meets you, shares a bit about your day, then escorts you into wine country , taking the scenic way. They’ll share info matched to your level of interest and pair food to wine during the day. Read on to learn more…

Our Guides

We feel charmed when it comes to finding exemplary people to host our tours. When you book a tour with Grape Escape, one of our esteemed ‘escape artists‘ will host your day, sharing info matched to your level of interest. You’ll enjoy them. They’ll enjoy you.

David Baer

If someone asked David to describe himself, he’d go with something like “ex-pat New Yorker who found nirvana in Portland, Oregon.” But does that really describe him?  It does. Partially. David’s a loving (and fun-loving) dad and husband, a food and wine guy, theatre guy, classical music guy, and loves teaching and mentoring. When he’s not busy running his digital marketing agency, you’ll find him in wine country with us. Bonus for us; he’s cheerfully dragging us into current times by creating our new website. Thanks David.

Becca Wicks

We got to know Becca when she oversaw the tasting room at one of the wineries we visit. Our guests loved the experience and their time with her. Sensing she’d be a fit, we asked her to join us. When she’s not in her hair salon, or involved in horse events, she’s the go to guide for the joinable tours we launched this year and offer most Saturdays. Customers say they get more than they expect on these tours. Yes, superb wine and food, but also a bit of wine education given in a fun Becca kind’a way. 

Ralph Stinton

Growing up in San Luis Obispo, on the Central Coast of California, Ralph developed an appreciation for agriculture and an admiration for that blossoming wine region. After a career in advertising, he moved to Portland and discovered the nacent Oregon Wine Industry. Soon thereafter he launched Grape Escape. Now, most days finds him in the office arranging tours. When he does wrangle a tour, he finds it a great way to spend time with customers and invigorate his soul in the beautiful Oregon countryside.

John Davis

A retired school superintendent with the Department of Defense Schools, John served the children of U.S. military personnel in Europe and Middle East. He also learned about great wine and food. Upon his return to Oregon, serendipity struck when we met him while he was out tasting. Soon thereafter, he joined our team. Now a bit later he recently completed his 1,100th tour. A recent first time grandfather, when John’s not doting on Joey, or traveling with his wife, he’s anxious to share wine country with new customers as well as his legion of fans. 

Stefany Bapst

Stefany is a true Renaissance woman with a flair for life. We met her when she was involved with a project in the restaurant industry. After she joined us, her input has inspired us to nicely pair food to wines on our tours. (See Team Project 1 down below). When she’s not securing off the beaten path locations for filming crews in Portland or environs, selling craft ware on Etsy, or surfing the Oregon Coast, Stefany carves out time to lead our tours. Customers tell us they like the way she brings it all together; hosting, sharing info and pairing food to wine. 

Larry Landauer

While visiting Willakenzie Estate a few years back, we noticed the talented Mr. Landauer ably hosting our group. A retired nursery owner, world traveler and carpenter, we’re glad to have him on board… when he’s not off on a new adventure.  “Aside from being handsome, intelligent, suave and debonair, he is just a really sweet guy that is fun to spend the day with.” – That according to him… as well as our customers. When he’s not on another adventure, perhaps we can snag him for a day out with you. 

Paul Blaze

We met Paul when he hosted one of our groups at a winery. Knowing talent when we see it, we asked for his business card, then immediately misplaced it. On a cleaning day, we were heartened to find said card. Turned out it was just in time as Paul was well into the interview process elsewhere. With a stellar background in hospitality and the golfing industry, Paul does a wonderful job hosting our clients. 

Team Project 1

Through the years we’ve worked to hone our tours and what we offer our customers. One of those things is, as wineries allow, we pair food to wine during the day. We’ve found our customers love the way it enhances their experience. It all started one tour day with a plate and a hunk of cheese. Since, things have progressed. Recently, we held a tasting panel at Grape Estate (our HQ) to see which foods paired best to Oregon wines. Yes, it’s hard work, but someone has to do it!

Team Project 2

As our guides don’t taste wine during the tours, some of our customers ask if we ever have a chance to try the wines being tasted. Not to worry. We often pick up wine we’ve not sampled.. and save it for blind tastings with our staff  back at Grape Estate. In this case, we finished off the year with a nice array of Oregon wines. They all paired nicely to the cheeses and charcuterie we favor along with some lively conversation and sounds by an old timey band; The Beatles.

Food and wine go together

Oregon wine is quite nice by itself; but with food it’s superb. 

In fact, some of our guests tell us it’s a game changer in terms of truly appreciating what Oregon wine is all about. Nicely balanced wines made to go with meals. 

That’s why, when wineries allow, we’ll pair food to their wines during our visits. Whether it be progressive appetizers, a locally sourced sit down lunch or a relaxed family style dinner, we’ll take care to match the food to the wine and occasion. 

A comfortable ride

We provide comfortable transportation along scenic roads in our much admired ‘running grape’ vehicles. They’re great for the views they afford and the way they allow us to travel scenic roads and visit wineries not open to larger vehicles. Each seats up to 10 comfortably. If your group is larger, we’ll add a vehicle (or two) and guide (or two) so you can enjoy the ride yet have plenty of time to visit with your group, rather large or small, at the wineries. Customers say they appreciate the smiles they see when our vehicles arrive.  A welcoming way to begin your wine country day.