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.

TASTE event photo

Equity in Action: Inaugural TASTE PDX makes a statement

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Gather a large group of people aligned around a shared vision, serve them an amazing dinner crafted by some of Portland’s top chefs, paired with wines from Oregon’s founding wineries, and you have a recipe for inspiration. With the goal of advancing inclusion and equity, more than 450 guests attended the first TASTE PDX at the Portland Art Museum May 31.

The concept was born when Kali Thorne Ladd, executive director of KairosPDX, a nonprofit delivering equitable education to under-served children, shared her idea for TASTE with David Adelsheim of Adelsheim Vineyard, who told her he was looking for more ways to celebrate Oregon wines in Portland. Read the entire story here on Oregon Wine Press.

Domaine Serene wine tasting by Terry Richard

Oregon wine scores are on the rise, and sales tend to follow

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Sometimes what makes a wine great is its score.

Arguably, the wine was great before it received a score in a prominent wine publication. But when a wine earns a high score with the critics, the national or international recognition sells that wine, and likely subsequent vintages as well. Good scores can catapult a wine, winemaker and winery into the spotlight. And some of the most revered critics have been scoring Oregon wines particularly high lately, especially compared to neighboring regions.

Take Colene Clemens Vineyards, a Newberg winery that focuses on pinot noir. Although consistently highly reviewed, this winery broke into Wine Spectator’s top 10 this year, with its 2015 Dopp Creek Pinot Noir ranked seventh out of 100. Try and find a bottle of that vintage somewhere.

All told, Wine Spectator recognized Oregon with six Willamette Valley wines in its Top 100 issue for 2018. That’s 6% of the spots in the top 100 this year, a new record for a state that produces only 1.5% of domestic wines. Read the rest of the story here in The Oregonian.

Belle Pente vineyard featured in Slow Wine Guide

Oregon debuts in acclaimed Slow Wine guide with 50 featured wineries

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Slow Wine Guide 2019While a wine’s aromas and flavors are important, they are far from the only thing that matter.

Just ask the Slow Wine movement, which pays respect to the entire wine production process, with heightened attention to environmental sustainability and the work of the grape grower. Slow Wine takes into account factors such as how well a wine expresses its region and whether winemaking practices mask or homogenize wines’ flavors.

And this year, Slow Wine is including Oregon for the very first time.

Slow Wine arose from… Read the whole story here in The Oregonian.

Tannat from Troon and Day Wines

Tannat or Not Tannat? Where to find the rich, tannic, unusual grapes is the question

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Oh, Oregon, you and your ever-tempting plethora of grapes. Between variations in climate, soil and geography and the experimental nature of the state’s winegrowers and winemakers, finding interesting Oregon wines is never a problem. Such is the case for Tannat.

Tannat, originally from southwestern France, ranks as the national grape of Uruguay — planted by Basque farmers in the 1800s — and is gaining popularity in Oregon. Traditionally used as a blending grape, Tannat is not only known, and named, for its high tannins — the Latin root is tannare, after all — but also for its thick skins, high acid and dark, inky color. Read more here on Oregon Wine Press.

Pinot Noir Auction Slam Dunk

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Two days to taste 81 lots of the Willamette Valley’s best 2016 Pinot noir is a big job for anyone, but buyers (and writers) rose to the challenge. April 6-7, 2018 marked the third annual Pinot Noir Auction at the Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg, OR. Producers brought their A-game, generating over $800,000 in revenue to benefit the marketing and educational initiatives of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association.

The auction presented 78 lots of one-of-a-kind Pinot noir wines and three collaborative lots of Chardonnay from the 2016 vintage. Each wine was produced in quantities of five, 10 or 20 cases, and will only be available to the public through resale by the winning bidder.

Veteran wine auctioneer Fritz Hatton ran the show. Opening bids throughout the auction were greeted by a flurry of raised paddles, resulting in frequent bidding wars and rapid price escalation.

Not surprising, the top selling Pinot noir came from winemaker Maggie Harrison of Antica Terra (watch the video of the action below). The five-case lot produced entirely from the Antica Terra Vineyard, sold for a whopping $33,000.

Reflecting what is clearly a stellar vintage, the top five auction lots were:

• Lot 26: Five cases of Antica Terra “Alder Creek” Pinot noir: $33,000
• Lot 82: Five cases of Zena Crown Vineyard “Barrel and Foot” Pinot noir: $24,000
• Lot 11:Five cases of Alexana Estate Winery “By A Landslide” Pinot noir: $20,000
• Lot 83: 10 cases of Hyland Estates “The Perfect Pair” Pinot noir: $20,000
• Lot 75: Five cases of Bethel Heights “Vesper Bell” Pinot noir: $19,000

According to 2018 auction chair Laurent Montelieu (owner/winemaker for Solena Estate and Hyand Estate), “The 2018 auction exceeded our highest expectations. There was tremendous enthusiasm among the trade for the Willamette Valley region, as well as for the 2016 vintage, which we expect to go down in history as a benchmark year for Oregon.”

Laurent Montelieu and David Lett

Dick Erath and Laurent Montelieu

Wild French Food and Killer Wine Bar “Canard” Opens in Portland

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From the award-winning team behind Le Pigeon and Little Bird Bistro, Canard is opening April 16. A cafe by day, wine restaurant with great cocktails by night, Canard will be serving breakfast, lunch, plus weekend brunch. Boasting wild French bar food, the menu at Canard will be conducive to snacking and dining. Evenings will focus on wine, cocktails, and an ambitious dinner menu. Canard offers the building blocks to an incredible meal, and showcases Rucker’s playful, no rules style in the form of dishes like Steam Burgers, Ducketta, and Foie Gras Dumplings.

“The sky’s the limit here. Our goal with Canard is to make anything possible, for anyone, at any time of day. Andy and I want Canard to be a place people want to hang out, and not take anything too seriously,” says chef/co-owner Gabriel Rucker.

Evening Menu Highlights: (available 4pm until close)

Oysters – zinfandel mignonette, green chile juice
Uni “Texas Toast” – avocado, finger lime, fish sauce
Ouffs in Mayonnaise – trout roe, bacon, roasted garlic, smoky maple
Chips & Dip – smoked mackerel, lemon pepper jam, chips
Rabbit and Prosciutto Terrine – apricot-green pepper relish, frisée, herbs
Pot de Canard – duck rillette, duck liver mousse, port gelée
Steak Tartare – chinese sausage, broccoli, parmesan, cashew
Cabbage Salad – strawberry, cheddar, green onion, ranch
Shrimp Toast – cucumber, avocado, chili mayo, furikake
Foie Gras Dumplings – peanut sauce, truffle, miso-roasted shallots
Chicken Wings – dry-fried, truffle ranch, shaved truffle
Garlic Fries – 18 mo. aged gouda, green goddess
Spring Greens – crunchy quinoa, honey herbs-de-provence
Roasted Carrots – sweet-pea hummus, sesame, radish honey
Mushroom Salad – garlic rosemary breadcrumbs, blue cheese
Baguette – european butter, flaked sea salt
Steam Burgers – pickles, onion, mustard, american, Hawaiian roll
Dry Aged Petite New York – french onion soup sauce, swiss cheese toast
Ducketta – chutney, frisée
Swordfish Oscar – crab, asparagus, béarnaise
Spaghetti – artichoke, asparagus, dill, parmesan

Wines are curated by co-owner and wine director Andy Fortgang, heavy on wines by the glass, with a large bottle list. The wine program at Canard is meant to be broad, deep and fun. Fortgang’s hope is people come in for a glass and a snack and leave hours later after dinner and several bottles. Just as the food menu is conducive to both snacking and dining, the wine list will be, too. Canard will offer 20 wines by the glass, over 250 bottles including a range from the inexpensive to the unique, and a big list of bottles that Fortgang has been slowly collecting over the years. Canard will have Burgundy, sure, but not just collectibles. The restaurant will also have well priced wines that show the value that is there if you look. Canard will have delicious fruity prädikat wines from Germany, many with some bottle age, but also the drier racier wines blowing people away these days. Oregon Pinot of course, but California, too. Loire, Rhone, Galicia, Catalonia, Italy from the north and the south, and many other regions. The only rule, is that it must taste good.

“This wine list is meant to spark conversation. Some of the wines on this list are about innovation, and some are about tradition. We hope our guests will feel encouraged to ask questions, explore, and enjoy,” says co-owner and wine director Andy Fortgang.

Cocktails at Canard do not take themselves too seriously. Crafted by bar manager Aaron Zieske, they compliment Rucker’s food in a way that maintains the aesthetic of the restaurant by being inventive and whimsical, yet still approachable. Featuring unique European herbal spirits throughout the menu, as well as a thoughtful brandy list for after dinner. Once lunch begins in May, Canard will feature boozy milkshakes, with sprinkles. Cocktails will include the Foie Turn, foie gras fat-washed bourbon, sauternes, apricot brandy, sherry, bitters, with a house candied apricot, the Breakfast of Champions, gin, caper brine, dry vermouth, celery bitters, garnished with a lemon twist and optional oyster side, and the Great Pyrenees, tequila, bruto aperitivo, grapefruit juice, lemon, salt. Canard will have two happy hours, from 4-5pm and again from 10pm to midnight. The happy hour menu will include ½ off oysters and steam burgers, as well as $5 aperitifs and a daily wine that will constantly rotate


Canard will initially be open daily at 4pm, and will add breakfast, brunch, and lunch in May. Follow along on Instagram @CanardPDX, Twitter @Canard_PDX, and Facebook Canard PDX.

Located at 734 E Burnside Street Portland, OR 97214.

lambic beer

Lambic – The wine-minded beer

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Lambic, thought to be the oldest beer in the western world, may also be the most unusual and most polarizing: Some see it as the ultimate expression in the art of brewing; others don’t think of it as beer at all.
True Lambic is produced in a specific part of Belgium, where the style originated. If made here, the beer is “Lambic-inspired.”  Because of its fermentation style, it’s one of the closest beers to wine, expressing a sense of place, or terroir.

Exposed to wild yeasts and bacteria — as opposed to cultivated strains of brewer’s yeast — the beer develops distinctively dry, vinous and cider-like flavors with high acidity and a sour aftertaste. Brettanomyces (Brett), a volatile yeast strain typically unwelcome in both breweries and wineries, dominates Lambic’s fermentation, delivering the funky, earthy, tart flavors people either love or hate. Click here to Read the full article with reviews of Oregon lambic-inspired beers.

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.