Wine farms – A new trend in grape growing

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You’re likely familiar with organic farming, and might even know about biodynamic farming, but Stephen Hagen, farmer of Antiquum Farm, does neither.

Instead, he practices a technique he calls Grazing-Based Viticulture, incorporating a variety of rotating livestock to help manage his crops and provide nutrients for the vines. The result? Wines with a true sense of terroir and land that is responding generously, Hagen says.

He’s obsessed with growing the best wines possible. “My wines are not made, they are grown cluster by cluster, with my own hands. They are a marriage of place, its people, and a moment in time,” he said.

When asked about biodynamic farming, Hagen replied honestly. “I’m not a joiner or team player; I despise recipes and checklists, and I think that certification lists come to the detriment of creativity and innovation. I want to think for myself and work from my gut. I call our method, grazing-based viticulture.” It’s basically agriculture from before the ease of fertilizers and easy mechanization, a method that saves about 12 tractor passes per year. It’s biodynamics with a curmudgeonly old-school twist. “We take the sheep poop and specificity and leave the moon and stars to wiser people.”

“I think biodynamics are awesome and I deeply admire the commitment to something deeper and more meaningful for anyone moving in that direction. We’re all on the same team. Any farming method that makes a farmer have a more intimate connection to their place is a very positive step,” he added.

But he also wants to keep the conversation going and continue to think critically. One of the things he loves about grazing-based viticulture is…

Read the complete story here on WinePress NW.

Saké & Cheese: Japanese rice spirit meets its mmmatch

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For many American consumers, saké suggests a certain mystique. Although it’s often referred to as “rice wine,” it’s really not wine. Nor it is cider or beer. So, what exactly is it?

Saké is an ancient alcoholic beverage made by fermenting rice. Unlike grapes made into wine by the fermentation of fruit sugar, the rice’s starch is converted into sugar and then fermented into alcohol. While the process relates more to brewing beer, saké sommelier Miyuki Yoshida emphatically states, “Saké is a category on its own. Saké is saké!”

According to SakéOne’s associate brand manager, Jessie Sheeran, “Saké is killing it in U.S. markets. It’s kosher, sulfite-free, vegan-friendly, gluten-free and histamine-free, so it checks a lot of healthy boxes.” Ranging from the clear and bright Gingo to the sweeter, cloudy Nigiri, saké’s variety comes from the polishing of the rice. More polish — removing impurities, proteins, etc. — results in fragrant, fruity, elegant aromas.

“There is a challenge of getting people to understand what saké is and what it isn’t,” says SakéOne president Steve Vuylsteke. It’s not all from Japan; it’s not only consumed with Japanese food, and it’s not only drunk cold.” He suggests trying it with salumi or chorizo, or even grilled cheese.

Read the complete story here on Oregon Wine Press.

Carlton Grain Elevator

How Carlton’s grain elevator became part of Oregon’s wine scene

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If you’ve passed through the Yamhill County town of Carlton recently, you may have seen that its giant grain elevator has undergone a complete transformation. Though the massive remodel is a feat in and of itself, even more remarkable is how it models the unique history of the Oregon wine industry.

Like Oregon’s wine pioneers, who planted grapes and ripped out crops against the advice of the local population, Martin Doerschlag, owner of Flâneur Wines and its new hospitality center at the Carlton Grain Elevator, says, “When people tell me I’m crazy to do what I’m doing with Flâneur, I know I’m doing the right thing.” Read the full story in the Oregonian here…

Inside of Pullman Wine Bar

4 Questions with David Holstrom of Pullman Wine Bar & Merchant

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With more and more luxury hotels dotting the Portland landscape, their influence on the city’s food and wine scene can be seen with the surge of trendy new eating and drinking hotspots that have been opening — take Hey Love in the Jupiter NEXT and Abigail Hall in the Woodlark Hotel, for example. Though Hotel Eastlund is far from a new player, with David Machado’s popular rooftop destination Altabira, the Lloyd District hotel has taken its vision to new heights with the chic, yet down-to-earth, street-level bottle shop and wine bar, Pullman Wine Bar & Merchant.

Inspired by a French bistro that Machado and wine consultant David Holstrom experienced in Paris, the team has created a warm and welcoming space in Pullman, fusing a tasting room experience with modern European touches, while providing an opportunity for… Read the full story here on SIP Northwest.

Mencia grapes on the vine

Mencia makes its mark in the Columbia Gorge

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If you’re a fan of Spanish wines, you’re going to love this! And if you’re a fan of wineries that take risks to bring consumers something unique, you’re going to love it even more.

Experimentation is at the core of Oregon wine grape growing. After all, it’s what started the Pinot Noir movement in the Willamette Valley during the 1960s and ‘70s. And what could be more experimental than being the first domestic producer of a grape that’s primarily grown only in Spain?

The vineyards of Analemma Wines, in the heart of the Columbia Gorge AVA, are in, what’s by nature, a cool climate AVA. It’s this unique climate that has stirred Analemma Wine’s owners Steven Thompson and Kris Fade to plant and produce the very first Mencia (pronounced Men-THEE-a) grown in the United States… Read the full story here in WinePress NW.

Tailgating party

Tailgate Gourmet: Score big before the game with delectable dishes and fine wines

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With football season upon us, tailgate parties are in force. After all, there’s nothing like the ambiance of a parking lot for eating and drinking to excess. And while throwing some juicy dogs on a grill or bringing a plate of savory charcuterie is always welcome, there’s a whole world of tailgate ideas that will inspire even the non-sports lovers to come out in droves.

Duck or Beaver — or Viking or Pilot or Wildcat or Raider, etc. — one thing we can all agree on is tasty food. The following recipes were generously provided by local restaurants, caterers, as well as local food blogging geniuses, serving to unite fans everywhere. Paired expertly with the recommended Oregon wines, these dishes will surely make you a game-day winner.

Read the full story and get all the recipes here on Oregon Wine Press.

Alex Fullerton holding a bottle of his wine

4 Questions with Alex Fullerton of Fullerton Wines

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The Fullerton family of Portland’s Fullerton Wines believes that great wine speaks profoundly; it’s a universal language transcending any one culture. And as a family that speaks many languages, it’s no surprise that wine has become a favorite language to connect, speak and share with others.

After Alex Fullerton graduated from the University of Oregon in 2010 with an economics degree, he and his father Eric were tasting wine at Penner-Ash Wine Cellars. A conversation about homebrewing and the process of fermentation ensued, which led to another conversation about Alex Fullerton making wine.

He got his feet wet as an intern and later a cellar hand at Penner-Ash. Passion ignited and Fullerton then went to New Zealand to work at the now-defunct Drylands Winery in Marlborough, returning to Oregon more determined than ever to learn more about growing and production. He worked another harvest at Penner-Ash, then at Bergström Wines before Fullerton Wines was born in in 2011 in a garage with just a few barrels of Pinot Noir.

Fullerton eventually took the reins as head winemaker for Fullerton Wines crafting Burgundian varietals of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Here, he talks about what it’s like being one of the youngest winemakers in the Willamette Valley, his Danish roots and his family’s vision for their winery.

Read the complete story here on SIP Northwest.

sniffing out truffles

Digging up the dirt on Oregon truffles

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The elusive truffle is like buried treasure. If only we had a map to guide us to them. The pungent yet marvelous aromas the ugly little culinary nuggets emit — mustiness, garlic, earth, sweat — don’t sound or look appealing. But these gems of the kitchen are expensive and highly sought-after for a reason; they make even the simplest egg or pasta dish sing.

Like wine and other fine foods, truffles confer distinction to the farm and the area where they are produced, and like few other crops, they can be grown profitably on small acreages.

According to New World Truffieres’ mycologist, Dr. Charles Lefevre, “To cultivate truffles, inoculated truffle trees are planted in orchards much like those for fruits and nuts, except that the crop appears below ground and is usually harvested with the help of trained dogs or pigs that can smell the truffles through a layer of earth. Truffles begin to appear several years after the inoculated seedlings are planted, and production can continue for decades.”

While Oregon may have a long history of truffle research at Oregon State University, its truffle industry is still young and relatively undiscovered. Much like Oregon chanterelles… Read the complete story here on Wine Press Northwest. 

pinot paddle

Paddle for Pinot: Willamette Riverkeeper hosts wine-soaked adventure

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We began our trip dipping paddles into the refreshing river water, splashing ourselves each time we switched sides, as we propelled the canoe forward. Stroke after stroke, mile after mile, we kept paddling, knowing at the end of the day, a fully catered dinner and four Willamette Valley wineries awaited our arrival. But as I paddled along, keeping the ultimate goal in mind, I found myself entranced, swept away by the breathtaking scenic beauty of this stretch of river I’d never witnessed.

One of approximately 70 people, from Oregon and beyond, we poured into kayaks and canoes for the 29-mile two-day journey on the Willamette Riverkeeper’s first wine-themed event, Pinot Paddle. The trip began in Salem, with small pods launching inside the city, traffic din all around. It was surprising how quickly the noise fell away, leaving only rural vibrations in its place. In no time at all, it felt like we were remote — without a house, car or person in sight — though in reality, we were merely a few minutes’ drive from downtown Salem.

When I closed my eyes… Read the rest of the story here on Oregon Wine Press.

Adrift distillers bottles

Local is the Word at Long Beach’s First Distillery

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When relationships with local farmers become the foundation of a distillery, you know you’re on to something tasty. Like those that were the inspiration for starting Adrift Distillers, located on the Long Beach Peninsula in southwestern Washington, a sibling distillery to the popular Adrift Hotel. “The distillery started with us wanting to do a cranberry liqueur,” says Matt Lessnau, the chief distiller for Long Beach’s first distillery. “As far as agriculture goes, cranberries have a rich history on the Long Beach Peninsula and Starvation Alley Farms was farm-blazing a new trail with organic fruit.”

That first collaboration with the local cranberry bog and farm then inspired… Read the complete article here on SIP Northwest.