Wine lovers savor diversity, shade at Celebration

Photo by Janet Cook

Glenn Bartholomew, left, of Three Sleeps Vineyard in Mosier, pours wine for Eric Nisley of Dry Hollow Vineyards. Behind him is Karen Deveney of Portland.


News staff writer

August 10, 2005

A shady corner of the Hood River County Fairgrounds provided the perfect venue for the 2nd annual Gorge Wine Celebration on Sunday. More than 400 people attended the afternoon event, hosted by the Columbia Gorge Winegrowers, a 40-member association of local wineries and grape growers.

Tastings were offered by 16 Gorge wineries, and the event drew people from around the Gorge as well as from farther away.

“I love your wine up here,” said Karen Deveney, who drove from Portland for the event. “What’s interesting is how diverse this climate is. There aren’t very many other places anywhere that you can grow this variety of grapes in a small area.”

Tess Bar Blues and Tilly Jam provided live music throughout the afternoon. In addition, a dozen local artists had their work on display, a silent auction was held and food was catered by Crawdaddy Junction. But attendees, who paid $25 per person in advance ($30 at the door), were unquestionably there to sample wines and meet winery owners and grape growers from this burgeoning wine region.

Last year the Columbia Gorge received federal designation as an American Viticultural Area (AVA). Designated viticultural areas allow vintners to better describe the origin of wines and consumers to better identify the wines they purchase. The unique climate of the Columbia Gorge AVA, with vast changes from its west end in Hood River to its east end in The Dalles (the AVA extends along this corridor on both sides of the Columbia River), provides ideal conditions for growing a wide variety of grapes.

This year’s celebration marked the one-year anniversary of the AVA designation.

Organizers were pleased with the event.

“I think it went really well,” said Christie Reed of Mt. Hood Winery. “We were pleased with the cooperative weather and the great location.”

Deane Seeger of Seattle attended the Wine Celebration to sample wine as well as to meet people involved in the local wine industry. Seeger and three partners recently planted an acre of Pinot Noir grapes on property Seeger owns just south of Hood River. On Sunday, he and one of his partners worked in their newly planted vineyard, then headed to the Wine Celebration for a couple of hours before driving back to Seattle.

“See, I still have dirt under my fingernails,” Seeger said, holding out his hands. He and his partner were introducing themselves to as many vintners and grape growers as possible; they hope to land work with some of them, trading “labor for knowledge,” he said.

Knowledge was available for the taking in several mini-seminars offered throughout the afternoon that turned out to be very popular, according to Reed. The seminars ranged from a discussion of grapes and soils of the Columbia Gorge led by Hood River County Extension Agent Steve Castagnoli to a talk about the health benefits of wine by Hood River nurse Kim Stolte. A lively discussion called “Wine Tasting 101” was given by Linda Derrickson of Pheasant Valley Vineyard and Winery.

“We call this the Gorge Wine Celebration,” Reed said. “It’s not just about drinking wine in the afternoon. It’s about learning about wine and the characteristics that make our Gorge wines so good.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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