7 Budget-Wise NW Wines for National Wine Day

by Hannah Kivi

Did you know that May 25 — this upcoming Thursday — is National Wine Day? One day out of the…

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After several consecutive years of hot, early vintages, the Pacific Northwest looks poised for something rather different in 2017. A cold, wet winter turned into a cold, wet early spring, with early stages like bud break several weeks to a month behind previous years in many sites.

Compromised of 18 specific wine grape growing regions, the state of Oregon has diverse climates and locations perfect for growing more than 72 wine grape varietals. Each viticultural area is specific to its geographic location, soil type, climate and topography. In honor of Oregon Wine Month, here is the second installment of getting to know your Oregon AVAs. Missed the Chapter One? Read about the first nine here. Facts provided by the Oregon Wine Board.

Union Wine Co. isn’t afraid to push boundaries. Owner-winemaker Ryan Harms and team have served wine out of a vintage French van; won over the masses with Pinot Noir in a can; explored gutsy flavor collaborations with fellow Oregonian artisans, from a hot sauce brand to a candy shop; and now, they’ve gone and canned sparkling wine.

In case you haven’t heard the good news, it’s Oregon Wine Month. It’s time to bake up some decadence — you deserve it. Alisha Falkenstein, the innovative pastry chef from Pazzo Ristorante at the Hotel Vintage in Portland, recreated the Italian restaurant’s pastry lineup, and has been utilizing delicacies to showcase authentic Northwest ingredients ever since. Now, she’s sharing the perfect, indulgent recipe for us to express our love for Oregon wine.

The start of Oregon Wine Month is here, and it’s important to understand exactly where your local wines come from within the state. Oregon is compromised of 18 specific winegrowing regions, each distinguishable by geographic location, soil type, climate and topography. These regions are called American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) defined by The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Taking a page from a chapter in her own life, Brianne Day — the winemaker behind Day Wines — recently opened a cooperative tasting room in Yamhill County. Day Camp features a total of 11 small wine producers under one roof who share the many tools of the trade that go into crafting palate-pleasing wines.
“Cooperative living, in general, is efficient as opposed to every household having their own everything,” Day explains. “I lived on a cooperative, of sorts, for a year.

Standing on top of Owen Roe’s Union Gap Vineyard in Washington’s western Yakima Valley, I got a sense for the incredible convergence of powerful geologic forces that shaped the very ground I stood on. From massive lava flows out of the Cascades that defined the very edges of the valley, to the meandering path of the Columbia River that carved out hillsides and the catastrophic impact of the Missoula Floods that deposited huge amounts of sediment, it was all there beneath me.

Now in its sixth year of service, Oregon Wine Month 2017, presented by the Oregon Wine Board, features local wineries, winemakers and vineyards from across the state for the entire month of May. All 31 days are dedicated solely to Oregon wines and wine events focused on knowing and understanding Oregon wine, where it comes from and how it is being made. Lucky for us Pacific Northwesterners, we get to experience the legitmacy of local through this flourishing wine industry.

While California might be the continent’s largest wine producing region, the burgeoning enological areas of the Pacific Northwest are nipping at its heels. Lucky enough to experience all four seasons, the warm summer days and cool nights create ideal conditions for grape-growing, and the Northwest has been offering a more consistent and quality climate than the Golden State in recent years.

 
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