By editorial board • 

Hospitality and caution share spotlight on holiday weekend

Local people should be extra cautious in traveling area roadways the next few days

Thanksgiving Weekend means the Yamhill Valley’s welcome mat is out.

Visitors from far and wide are making their annual pilgrimage here in search of the finest wines, not to mention our diverse culinary, lodging and specialty shopping experiences. It’s a tradition that might not appeal to everyone, but we all can appreciate the positive economic impact of Thanksgiving in Wine Country.

Our Discover Yamhill Valley website lists about 230 nearby wineries, more than half the total in Oregon. Other regions of the state produce excellent vino, but the northern Willamette Valley is home to the finest collection of diverse Oregon wines.

Apparently, many others agree, judging by the holiday weekend traffic that has become a Thanksgiving-time staple. That traffic, of course, is cause for pause, and reason for local people to be extra cautious in traveling area roadways the next few days.

As this is written, weather forecasts call for more wet weather over the weekend, meaning slick roads and driving distractions. Some motorists will be following hand-held maps or viewing GPS units in search of rural or out-of-the-way winery locations, so others should show a little extra patience on the roadways.

Of course, there is the risk that some people will taste too much wine without recognizing the need for a designated driver. Past years of this Thanksgiving Weekend tradition suggest that such decisions are the exception, far from the rule, but people providing local hospitality services should be careful not to contribute to that potential problem.

Wine has been a celebrated nectar for millennia, and the pinot noir of this area is recognized internationally. Still, holiday weekend imbibers should not forget that the delicate nose and delicious palate of those fine wines are accompanied by an alcohol level that can fog judgment and reduce response times.

Many local wine aficionados do their tasting and annual purchasing the weekend before Thanksgiving, thus reducing the number of people on the roads at holiday time. That has proven to be a popular and welcome time for area wineries to cater to local friends and club members.

Rooms are rented, dinner reservations are made and local shops are bracing for Black Friday and the first major shopping spree of the Christmas season. For local residents who join those throngs, we hope you show the kind of hospitality that has become this area’s tradition.

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