Feast Portland

Feast on This – Celebration samples hottest food, coolest drinks

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From bacon to kale to pumpkin spice, we know when something catches on, we’ll see it on every menu, food blog, atop a doughnut or mixed into ice cream — Blue Star, Salt & Straw, I’m looking at you. But if you want to know what’s moving and shaking right now in the world of food and drink, look no further than this year’s Feast Portland.

For the double scoop on drink and food trends discovered at Feast Portland, read the entire article here on Oregon Wine Press.

cluster of grapes

Romancing the #Vine

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Yeah, read it into it what you will, a reader always does. But I will remind you, it’s about the vine. It always is.


He stands before her
She is naked
All life and limbs
His hot breath on her bare extremities
Cuts the chill of the biting morning air
She quivers

He stands before her
Coaxing from her
Gentle beauty
She grows
She develops
All the promise of the future

He savors each moment with her
As if it’s their last
He’s tender
He loves her
Sees things in her no other sees

He persuades her
Tugs her
Pulls her
Supports her
Tucks her in
He moves her where he wants her to be
And she surrenders to his will
Letting him guide her
Where he wants her to be

He stands before her
His strong and agile hands
Fondling her
Her juicy flesh
Her plump fruit
And she does what she must
She submits
She succumbs

He stands before her
Charming her
Encouraging her
He wants her to finish
Hopeful of her potential
He picks
He plucks
He casts her off
Leaves her to be savored by others

She stands alone
A shell of what she once was
And she thinks only of him
He who allowed her to be

She retreats into herself
She wonders if he even remembers
Knowing he only thinks about the next
As she prepares to give all of herself
To her love

orange wine

Orange Crush: Skin-contact whites color harvest season and cellar

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As the leaves turn and pumpkins ripen on the vine, the color orange reigns. Even the Harvest Moon casts a tangerine hue as the autumnal equinox approaches. Unlike the calculated timing of the season, some orange wines are best described as “accidents gone deliciously right.” No surprise for owner Matt Berson of Love & Squalor, who says, “Isn’t that the prevailing thread in the history of wine?”

Produced from white wine grapes using the red technique of fermenting fruit along with skin and seeds — the source of a wine’s color — orange wine represents a category all its own, with texture, weight and a broad palate of character as its trademarks. Not to be confused with rosé, traditionally crafted from red varietals such Pinot Noir, Grenache and Tempranillo, orange wine is most commonly made from Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer, whose grapes are actually pink in color.

Back to the scene of the “accident.” (Read the rest of the article here at the Oregon Wine Press.)

New Willamette Valley Harvest Website

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Harvest has officially kicked off in the Willamette Valley, and the WVWA’s new harvest website will help us all feel a part of it. Featuring winemaker stories, blog posts, delicious recipes, grape-friendly Spotify playlists, and event listings that all revolve around harvest, it’s like we’re practically in the cellar—except for the punchdowns.


The familial nature of harvest also reaches beyond the intimate work environment of the cellar and into community meals, shared equipment and celebratory events open to all. And while wine is the main focus, harvest season includes the entire Willamette Valley farming community and their bountiful crop of outstanding produce. The age-old combination of good wine, good food and good company is on full display during this plentiful time of year. For social media fans, follow harvest conversations at #wvwines2017 on Facebook and on Twitter @wvwines.

Website visitors can enter-to-win a curated wine country package for two featuring lodging, a winemaker’s dinner, dinner at a select Willamette Valley restaurant, wine tasting passes at hand-picked wineries, and $150 toward a car rental. The contest will run until November 1, 2017.

International Pinot Noir Celebration

Le Véritable Voyage: IPNC toasts Oregon, France and much more

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If I were to sum up the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) in just one word, it would be “resplendent.” And if you’re a wine geek like me, you can relate to how attending the event was a dream come true. Like a kid let loose in a candy store, my mouth drooled, eager to taste absolutely everything. Glass after glass of the world’s finest Pinot Noir. Plate after plate of the season’s tastiest and perfectly prepared gourmet morsels.

Infectious energy filled the air, as consumers, industry members, prominent speakers — including The New York Times wine writer Eric Asimov and IPNC master of ceremonies Allen Meadows of Burghound — and celebrities of the food and wine world gathered July 28–30 on the picturesque and historic Linfield College campus in McMinnville to toast Pinot Noir, and a few others, too.

Read more about the IPNC here at Oregon Wine Press…

idaho winery

The New Frontier of American Wine

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PICTURE BREATHTAKING RIVER VALLEYS and rolling hillsides rich with ancient but fertile volcanic soil, the type of soil that results in wines of remarkable character and exceptional quality. There’s only a few places in the U.S. with soil like that, and one of them is Idaho.

Understandably, wine grapes probably aren’t your first thought when thinking about a state known for growing potatoes. However, in addition to lush, volcanic sediment that’s chock-full of minerals, Idaho enjoys temperate weather, abundant sunshine and plentiful water?all things perfect for vinifera. For information about Idaho wineries, and specifically where to visit, read the full article on NW Travel & Life magazine, here.


Building #Björnson – Eola-Amity Hills #winery opens tasting room

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In the heart of the Eola-Amity Hills, between Salem and McMinnville, a new tasting room has opened on Bethel Heights Road, a welcome addition to the popular Polk County neighborhood.

Opening July 1, the Björnson Vineyards tasting room is a dream realized for owners Mark and Pattie Björnson. Having met in college, the couple discovered they shared a desire to live in the country, plant an orchard and raise a big family. After a month-long bike trip through Europe that included stops at many small wineries, the plans for their land changed into establishing a vineyard, building a winery and, now, a tasting room. (Click here to read the rest of the article on Oregon Wine Press.)


Good #Mead, Indeed… Honey-tongued and sweet-talking

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The word “honeymoon” in English supposedly refers to the practice of a bride’s father dowering her with enough mead for a month-long celebration in honor of the marriage. But, why mead?

“Mead is perhaps the original aphrodisiac, credited with fertility, seduction, and arousal powers.”  When Chrissie Manion Zaerpoor, Kookoolan Farms owner, meadmaker and author, writes these provocative words in her new book, “The Art of Mead Tasting and Food Pairing,” she’s not only referencing the enchantment of the beverage… (click here for the complete article on Oregon Wine Press)

flowers, mustard

East Willamette Wineries Capture Your Heart

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Like a nomad in an unexplored land, feel like you?re discovering a whole new wine country in Oregon?s East Willamette Valley. On the east side of the Willamette River lies more than 1,500 acres of wine grapes and more than a dozen boutique wineries you?ve probably never heard of and must see and taste for yourself to understand what you?re truly missing.

Piluso Vineyard

Owned by Sandee and Pinky Piluso, together they make the perfect team?Sandee makes the wine and Pinky drives the tractor. Four-acres were planted in 2000 and?Piluso Vineyard?yielded their first commercial vintage in 2003, but the property?s history goes back much further than that. Originally an old prune orchard, the magnificent historic home was built in 1890 and the remnants of an old prune dryer still remain on the grounds today. The first acre of their four-acre planting was considered an experiment?with 13 different clones and varieties to determine how each of the grapes performed?the Piluso?s now have Gruner Veltliner, Muller Thurgau, Viognier, Dolcetto, Tempranillo, Gamay Noir, Marechal Foche and Pinot Noir planted to vine. Their wines are all produced using estate fruit, except a Chardonnay dessert wine made in the ice wine style. To say the wines are lovely would be an understatement. They?re well balanced, interesting and complex in both aroma and flavor profiles with excellent structure and really showcase what this area is capable of producing? these are wines you?ll want to purchase by the case.

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Pudding River Wine Cellars|

Nestled against the banks of the river it?s named for,?Pudding River Wine Cellars?is owned and operated by the Bateman family. The 13-acre estate features a 100-year-old farmhouse and five acres of Pinot noir planted in 2003. The winery also sources grapes from nearby growers to produce small lots of Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Viognier. A testament to Pudding River?s accomplishments, they earned 90 points from Robert Parker and gold medals (from the?San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition?and?Oregon Wine Awards) for their very first vintage of Estate Pinot noir? clearly a winery that won?t be a hidden gem for long. Keep your eyes on this one; winemaker Sean Driggers is doing very interesting things in the cellar. He produces three different and noteworthy Chardonnays per vintage, varying only in method; a traditional barrel-fermented style, a stainless steel fermented (unoaked) version and a Reserve, aged two full years in neutral oak. Pudding River?s label, featuring a rooster in tribute to the poultry farm history of the estate, deems ?Life is good, the palate is pleased and the rooster crows again.? Clearly a motto this family can live by.

Alexeli Vineyard & Winery
Located in Molalla near the famous?Oregon Garden?in the East Willamette Valley,?Alexeli?owns and manages a 28-year-old, 18-acre vineyard planted to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gew?rztraminer and M?ller-Thurgau. Alexeli has made a firm commitment to a healthy planet, avoiding the use of pesticides and heavy metals in the vineyards? where they believe the wine is made. Their very memorable wines, made by Phillip Kramer, are worth crossing the river and traveling the bucolic back roads for. Producing less than 400 cases, a year they epitomize the term boutique. Their inviting patio and lake scream out to buy a bottle of?Bubela?s Blend?and relax a while? you may as well just give in.

St. Josef?s Winery
Romance, friendship and warmth abound at?St. Josef?s Winery?where you feel like you?ve walked onto the grounds of a European estate instead of a winery in Canby at the?End of the Oregon Trail. Owner and winemaker Josef Fleischmann, of Hungarian descent, extends his trans-continental hospitality and charm from his magnificent yet truly unintimidating tasting room. Producing wines meant to be affordably drinkable, Joseph produces five whites, five reds and he?s as quick with a joke as he is with the bottle. Enjoy the patio or lounge by the lake; the setting is like an engraved invitation you can?t refuse. With a host of summer events, as well as their traditional?Grape Stomp Festival?each Fall, St. Josef?s welcomes you with something for the whole family.

Battle Ground: Off the Beaten Wine Path

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Over the River and Through the Woods?

It?s true, I can be something of a wine snob. And a food snob, and a beer snob, and a coffee snob, and a music snob? I?m not proud, but at least I’m honest. What I am a sucker for though is high quality. So, when a good friend asked me where in Washington I was going wine tasting, my reply was Camas? Vancouver? I don?t know, it?s all the same, right? And in my narrow Portland bubble mind, if it wasn?t Eastern Washington or the Columbia Gorge, and I had to cross the Columbia River, it was all the same to me. That was until I visited SW Washington area for myself and discovered the rich tapestry of vineyards and burgeoning wine community in the rolling foothills around Battle Ground, Washington.

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Three Brothers Vineyard and Winery (Ridgefield)
You are immediately welcomed by the sounds of the cows mooing and the geese honking. As the farm country setting begins to soothe your weary city bones, you become acutely aware of how time seems to have slowed down from the moment you arrive. This family-friendly winery, with summer concert series and picnic grounds, is open for tasting Fri-Sun. Owner Dan Anderson, who has 25 acres planted, and grows six different types of grapes admits, ?The soil in SW Washington is just lousy enough for growing grapes.? And if you think about the rocky soil in parts of France and the caliber of wines produced there, you understand. With production ranging from 2000-3000 cases, depending on the vintage, guests will find something for everyone including sweet and vibrant whites to the boldest reds.

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Bethany Vineyards & Winery (Ridgefield)
Combine winemaker tradition with the ideal climate of SW Washington and what do you get? You get Bethany Vineyards and Winery. Owned by Walt Houser, who?s affectionately known as the grandfather of wine in Clark County, Bethany is situated on an 80-acre estate, half of which is planted to vine. Planted in 1999, Houser is now growing 10 varieties of vinifera, including Pinot Noir cuttings provided by Mo Momatzi of Oregon?s presitigious Maysara Vineyard. Bethany is experimenting with grapes not typically found in this area but well-suited for the climate, like Zwiegelt, an Austrian high-yield variety tasting of cherries, pepper, and currants. The stunning grounds, which include the vineyards, a lake, and an outdoor pavilion space crafted using mortise and tenon joint (and not a single nail), is the perfect spot to purchase lunch from the onsite caterer, buy a bottle of wine, and while away the day.

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Dolio Winery?(Battle Ground)
Dolio which is latin for ?barrel? is a great name for a winery that focuses on offering the five esstential Italian wines in one place; Sangiovese, Barbera, Dolcetto, Primativo, and Nebbiolo. And because whites do so well in Washington, they also produce Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, and Gruner Veltliner. Less than one acre of the five-acre estate is planted (with cuttings from Bethany Vineyards), sp owners Don and Pam Klase (who were actually high school sweethearts) buy 90% of what they produce from Benton City and the tri-cities, Washington. The Klases produced their first commercial vintage in 2013 and just opened their tasting room in 2015. Don will tell you he makes the wine he likes to drink. And much like this saying on the tasting room menu ?Wine, because no good story started with a salad?, Don and Pam will happily share stories with you all day long.

Olequa Cellars?(Battle Ground)
If you?re looking for unpretentious, I?ve got just the place. Olequa Winery (named for the type of soil the vineyard is situated on) is a small family run winery located due north of Main Street in Battle Ground. With a small tasting room adjacent to the owner?s home, it?s like tasting wine in the winemaker?s backyard. The dog, the kid, and the wife act as an informal greeting committee. Owner/winemaker/vineyard manager Brian Tansy is a chemist in the real world, bringing his scientific approach into the vineyard and cellar. The estate is planted to Marechal Foch, which is right in line with Tansy?s desires to work with more unusual grapes. Expect to taste wines like Cayuga, a crisp and citrusy food wine made from the French/American hybrid grown in Woodland Washington that Tansy finds to be high yield and settles well in the cellar. He also makes a delightful Ros? of Grenache/Mouvedre, Gr?ner Veltliner, Pinot Noir, Viognier, Chardonnay, and Dry Riesling, but beg him to taste the 2015 Gewurtraminer, if he has any left. Its captivating and hypnotic aromas of apricot, peach, and grapefruit will win every inch of you over.

Rusty Grape Vineyards?(Battle Ground)
A visit to Rusty Grape, the closest winery to Battle Ground, feels a bit like you?re a cool teenager hanging in your parent?s basement. It?s a little rough around the edges, but its homestyle atmosphere is welcoming to all and will immediately put you at ease. Owners Jeremy and Heather Brown have gone to great lengths to convert a former horse barn into a community gathering place where the whole family is welcome (kids included). And it?s the only winery in the county that?s open 7 days a week. With a large deck, community events, and daily food specials?like Mac n Cheese Monday, Taco Pizza Tuesday, and free pizza for wine club members on Sunday?it seems like there?s always something going on, and easy to see why they were Voted best of Clark County for six years running. Rumor has it they?re getting ready to remodel, building a separated designated tasting space and community areas. The Sailers have 2 acres of Pinot Noir planted at the winery, but source most of the grapes for their wines from Waving Tree Vineyard in the Gorge, as well as Prosser and Yakima, Washington. No visit to Battle Ground is complete with a visit to Rusty Grape. Fill your hungry bellies with scrumptious thin crust, wood-fired pizza and a tasty bottle Patina?s Recession Red or Rusty Grape Cider. Leave your inner wine snob behind, you?ll be glad you did.

Click here to read?more about the memorable wineries along the SW Washington Wine Trail.