Tying the Knot at A Blooming Hill Vineyard

Wet Flashback

On a rainy, muddy, November Saturday, I wandered in to A Blooming Hill Vineyard with a group of friends. Sipping wine in their cozy tasting room sheltered from the cold drizzle outside, I decided to sign up for a membership, adding A Blooming Hill to my club collection. Who could have known the significance of this seemingly random impulsive choice?

Ideal Location

Not far from Oak Knoll Winery and near some of my favorite farm stands, A Blooming Hill Vineyard is tucked away on a hillside in Cornelius, Oregon. It has a cozy atmosphere with sweeping views from the patio all the way to Mt. Hood looming some 67 miles away on the horizon. The owners Holly and Jim, along with Wine Dogs Trouble and Gemini, welcome you and make you feel at home.

Fast Forward Four Years…

It’s a warm August day. Andy and I are taking a break from our wedding plans. (Yes, I did slip that in there!) We have been engaged for about three weeks. He popped the question not on some mountaintop, but while washing dishes in my kitchen! If you could see how I lay waste to a kitchen in a cooking frenzy (not to mention the slobbery of Boyfriends Past), you would understand the sexiness of this declaration of love!

But back to the story. We had been keeping our thing on the down-low because Andy is a radio personality in Portland, and I have never been the center of Bridezilla-type attention. We really wanted a quiet, private ceremony. But that did not last long. By this time we are in a whirlwind of attention, plans, and activities. The only detail we have not figured out is a quiet, secret location to say our vows.

Getting Away from It All… Nearby

This wine is named after their dog Gemini!

We need to take a break from all the craziness, so we head to our favorite winery for a sip and a picnic. The weather is perfect! We find a picnic bench with a view of the vineyard. In our picnic basket, we pack a chicken Niçoise salad, stuffed peppers, Humboldt Fog goat cheese, and juicy Red Bartlett pears. We decide on a glass (or two) of A Blooming Hill’s refreshing Mingle. This is the winery’s signature blend of Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Chardonnay. It’s perfect for a hot summer day! We enjoy our picnic while live music plays on the patio, a local guy strumming his acoustic guitar and singing 70’s classics.

Friends in the Business

Over the years, Holly has become a wonderful friend. She supports my business. She told me the story of how she and Jim started the winery. And Holly provides much-needed girl talk over a glass of their iconic 2011 Pinot Noir after someone I considered to be a best friend suddenly cut off our relationship.

I started bringing Andy to A Blooming Hill soon after we started dating. He must have met with Holly’s approval (yes, she met the other dates, to which she paid no mind), because when we tell her we are engaged, she offers us the outdoor Tea House for our secret October ceremony! Naturally, we were overwhelmed with gratitude, and accepted.

Stormy Weather

A Blooming Hill’s Tea House

As our day grew near, Holly was worried that the rain might spoil our outdoor exchange of vows. But I put her mind at ease. I told her I was not worried because a few years earlier, on a cold November day, I stood in her muddy vineyard in the pouring rain on the phone while a guy I had been dating for two years listed all of my short comings and cruelly dumped me. So marrying my new best friend in The Tea House in the rain would be quite alright.

Fairytale (But True) Ending

On a chilly day in October, the rain stopped just long enough for us to exchange our vows… accompanied by the Wine Dogs, a shout-out from the horses in the barn, and hundreds of viewers from all over the world watching on both Facebook Live and the post.

Afterward Holly served a toast with a very special sparkling Riesling. Cheers!


Sadly, A Blooming Hill no longer exists anywhere but in our memories. And in a few, lingering bottles of their amazing vintages that still collect dust in a rack somewhere.

Chicken Niçoise Salad

A variation of a popular dish from the south of France, this salad is a meal all on its own. Perfect to serve on a hot summer day. I chose cooked chicken breast, but traditional fresh or canned tuna is also very tasty. This salad can be made meatless as well.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine French
Servings 6
Calories 284 kcal


  • 2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts cooked, sliced into strips
  • 2 cloves Garlic minced
  • 3 tbsp Red wine vinegar
  • 5 tbsp Olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Fresh ground pepper
  • 2 Red or yellow bell peppers roasted
  • ¾ lb Fingerling potatoes
  • ¾ lb Green beans steamed
  • ½ lb Cherry tomatoes sliced in half lengthwise
  • ½ cup Pitted Niçoise olives sliced in half lengthwise
  • 3 Hard boiled eggs cooled and quartered lengthwise
  • 3 tbsp Capers drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp Fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 tbsp Fresh chives snipped


  • In a bowl whisk together garlic, vinegar, and olive oil and pour over the warm potatoes, green beans, and bell peppers.
  • Toss in cherry tomatoes, olives, capers, salt, and pepper.
  • Allow veggies to marinate for 5 minutes.
  • Arrange on a platter, top with with the chicken, eggs, and fresh parsley.
  • For picnics, place salad in an air tight container and place in a cooler.


Darcy’s Details

When making salads with potatoes, be sure to add the vinaigrette to warm potatoes. The vinegar will soak into the warm potatoes enhancing the flavors of the salad.


Calories: 284kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 14gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 117mgSodium: 763mgPotassium: 720mgFiber: 4gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 2145IUVitamin C: 81mgCalcium: 62mgIron: 2mg
Keyword chicken
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  1. What a wonderful couple you are! Such a blessing you found each other!!

    • Thank you Linda.⚘

  2. Before I comment let me dry my eyes, this touched my heart and soul. I feel like I am right up there on “The Hill” talking with Jim and Holly, (or you) talking with other fellow wine enthusiasts and listening to Ron Sabin . Blooming Hill was more than just a place to get a good glass of wine, Holly and Jim created a beautiful community and a place that I will cherish forever. I have made several friendships with people we met up there. Thank you for sharing this beautiful memory, even though you made me cry!

    • This definitely had both Andy and I misty eyed. We miss our lazy summer afternoons and cozy winter days at A Blooming Hill. And it was always a surprise to see who we would bump into on the patio.❤