Due partially to COVID, my fam became members had a variety of wineries over the past year and a half. Well this may sound like a flex, really we are just committing to purchasing 3+ bottles every 3-6 months, and then we get free tasting when we go in person. We have mostly done this 1) because we have drank more wine than normal (another COVID reason), and 2) because the wineries we have selected are open year-round and have nice outdoor space – some thing that has been important during times of outdoor only activities.
And, as it turns out, wineries are also great spots for running events. Left Coast Estate put in their 2021 Run for the Oaks, their sixth annual event on August 7, 2021 and we got to experience it for the first time since their inaugural running back in 2016.
First and foremost, Left Coast Estate is an amazing location. It is a surprisingly giant winery the Van Duzer Hills AVA, one of just 6 in this AVA, and located just off Highway 99W between Rickreall and Amity. In addition to their wine tasting room, they also have a kitchen that makes woodfired oven that makes amazing pizzas, as well as an outdoor space complete with chairs and tables, and a large grassy open field that makes it a perfect spot to lay out and bring kids, pets, or just yourself for some quiet time.
While it had been a while since our first participation, the one thing I do remember about the Run for the Oaks was the hills. Now, it’s not the same sort of hills as the famed Fueled by Fine Wine event, but it’s a winery so there was obviously bound to be literal ups and downs along the way. It’s just part of the deal.
The race started on their property just north of the tasting room. The 10k runners had an early start at 8a, followed by the 5k walkers at 9, and the 5k runners at 10. Overall, there was almost 300 runners who participated throughout the day.
The 10k and the 5k seem to share a lot of the same course, just with the 5k doing a few cut offs near the beginning and also the end. I won’t do a turn by turn description of the entire course, but there was a ton of variety along the way. There were wide dirt trails, rock and grass trails, and even some single track. We circled the large property on a number of surfaces available. We ran under an old oak grove, between numerous wine vines, and even through one of their covered storage areas. It was truly a diverse trail run, and super scenic.
And obviously there were hills. To be honest, even though there was some climbing, there weren’t too many locations where it felt impossible or like we were headed uphill for an abnormally long period of time. They just seem to be a pretty consistent rolling up and down the entire time, with only a handful of spots that were truly flat. It was not a typical 10k in that fashion, but super rewarding at the end.
After the race, participants received a free plastic wine glasses to utilize for a free post race wine (I recommend the White Pinot Noir). There was music on site and Left Coast was firing up breakfast pizza and quiche as well.
For an event put on by the winery themselves, a fundraising effort to assist in their Oak Savanna Restoration Project, it sure was pulled off with professionalism. The course on my tracking devices measured almost exactly a 10k, generally not an easy feat in rural locations with tree covering. They had professional timing on hand, as well as live tracking and amazingly quick results afterwards. This is really a top-notch event.
While they generally have their event each summer, I strongly encourage you to come out to left Coast State at any time and enjoy the outdoor experience. Even when they are running, they have trails that you can walk on to explore the grounds.
Oak Savanna Restoration Project:
Left Coast Estate has over 100 acres of ecological compensation areas and 100 acres of old growth oak forest. Through time the forest has become populated with invasive species and our goal is to restore the forest to a native oak forest. We have partnered with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and NRCS to restore this forest. They will provide the technical expertise for the restoration as well as help us to match any funds we are able to raise ourselves with Federal and State grants. The forest will be a permanent wildlife refuge in the center of our estate and create habitat for native plants, wildlife, birds and insects as well as improving the watershed.