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Uncorked

May 5, 2016 03:00 AM

Oregonians have many loves — the outdoors, beer, having someone pump their gas for them — but high on that list of favorites are wine and running. In 2013, the minds at Pink Buffalo Racing devised an event that combined the two in glorious perfection: the Grapes of Half Marathon.

“That always gets a laugh from literature buffs,” says Piper Ruiz of Pink Buffalo Racing, a local race management company that puts on the annual half marathon that meanders through Eugene’s wine country, starting at Noble Estate Vineyard, passing by Silvan Ridge Winery and ending at Sweet Cheeks Winery.

May 5, 2016 03:00 AM

The popularity of Oregon wine, especially our pinot noirs, has soared. From a handful of wineries in the 1970s, we have seen a near-explosion: Now there are more than 400 wineries in the state, with that number increasing almost daily. Wine contributes several billion dollars annually to Oregon’s economy. The wineries and their owners also contribute greatly to various Oregon charities and nonprofits. 

May 5, 2016 03:00 AM

Nearly every restaurant sells some type of wine, but just ordering “red” or “white” and not even glancing at the selections means you could be seriously missing out. Many of Eugene’s restaurants offer interesting and affordable wine lists that showcase both regionals and wine from the corners of the Earth.

May 7, 2015 01:00 AM

Oregon’s best wine? Seems a silly question, at first. Pinot noir? Pinot gris? Nah. One very wine-savvy professional is ready to offer a rather shocking response: chardonnay.

May 7, 2015 01:00 AM

A logo with two salmon on your wine bottle doesn’t mean the wine pairs well with salmon — it means the wine came from a vineyard certified salmon-safe.

May 7, 2015 01:00 AM

I’m no oenephile. Don’t get me wrong, I like wine, but its niceties are lost on me, perhaps because in my college years my idea of “good wine” was strawberry Boones Farm, preferably after it had sat in the freezer long enough to give it a certain Slurpee-like texture.

May 7, 2015 01:00 AM

According to recent data, wine now generates $3.5 billion annually and accounts for 17,000 jobs in wine and related businesses in Oregon. Now, that’s impact.

May 7, 2015 01:00 AM

Many a romantic notion is attached to wine, like zooming past the city limits, wind in your hair and finding a sunny patio nestled into the rolling hills of a country winery where you can sip vino and take in the vistas. Eugene, however, has more tasting rooms in the city than ever before, easily reached by foot, bike, bus or a short drive.

May 8, 2014 09:37 AM

Thanks to its cool, moist climate, the Willamette Valley is renowned for its wines. But climate isn’t the only atmospheric condition that affects grapes grown for wine — weather, or atmospheric conditions in the shorter term, also changes grapes. 

May 8, 2014 01:00 AM

The tiny town of Elkton, Ore., boasts just 200 people but six wineries. Its cooler climate, atypical of the Umpqua Valley, means that wine grapes that won’t grow in most Southern Oregon vineyards flourish in Elkton.

Grape-growing regions are known as American Viticultural Areas, or AVAs. Based on climate and geography, AVAs tell winemakers and connoisseurs a little bit about what to expect from the wine. As of 2013, Elkton is Oregon’s 17th AVA, just an hour southwest of Eugene.

May 8, 2014 01:00 AM

Bruce Biehl, the owner of Eugene Wine Cellars (EWC), once dreamed of being a cowboy. He became a winemaker instead. With a soft spot for European wine culture, influenced both by his travels and a brother who makes wine in southern France, Biehl brought the first “urban winery” to Eugene in 1999. It was a family effort, with Biehl siblings Beverly and Brad, which made EWC the first licensed winery within city limits.

May 8, 2014 01:00 AM

Every once in a while, a bottle of wine — even a very good wine, from a reputable producer — breaks bad. Excuses abound, but reasons are harder to find.

May 8, 2014 01:00 AM

Valleys aren’t the only places for making wine. While most of Oregon’s 450-some wineries are located in cooler, more temperate climes, central and Eastern Oregon are in on enology culture, too. For a treat on your next road trip east, drop by one of these wineries to get a taste of Oregon’s east side.

May 8, 2014 01:00 AM
May 8, 2014 01:00 AM

The origins of wine are shrouded in the thick mists of pre-history. Still, largely due to the mystique of wine, historians, anthropologists and other scholars continue to delve into the mystery. Lately, they’ve been joined by geneticists exploring grape DNA. All fun stuff, but, for now, suffice it to say that once upon a time, long ago (probably some 3,000-plus years), in a land far away (probably Persia, aka Iran), someone (probably a woman, since almost all good aspects of civilization seem to have originated with women) discovered that wild-picked grapes, left alone, would release their juice, then ferment, and fermented grape juice tastes pretty good. 

May 9, 2013 02:28 AM

May in Oregon — a month comfortably nestled between spring and summer. The rains have ceased, the days are sunny and mild, and the nights are breezy and fresh. It’s the perfect time to pop open a pinot warmed in the modest sun or a chilled rosé, grab a blanket and relax in the grass and watch the sun sink into the cool blue valley.

May 9, 2013 01:00 AM

In the golden years of my youth (ages 8-11), our family was transferred by the U.S. Navy to Rabat, Morocco. My mother blithely enrolled me in a French-run school. I made some friends. My closest bud was Pierrot; his dad was a sergeant in the French Air Force, his mother Bedouin. Pierrot periodically invited me to lunch at his house.

May 9, 2013 01:00 AM

Indie vintner Mark Nicholl started his own label for an elegantly simple reason: He wanted the freedom to make wines that he loved, whether that’s a dry riesling or a Müller-Thurgau white.

May 9, 2013 01:00 AM

Living as a landscape painter in a geographically diverse state such as Oregon is like being a kid in a candy store. Between the coast, mountains, deserts, the gorge, old-growth forests and the rolling hills of vineyards, the Beaver State is an artist’s paradise.

May 9, 2013 01:00 AM

Say hello to a winemaker’s little friend. For thousands of years, yeast has graced us with its ability to turn grape juice into wine. Wine lovers owe a debt of gratitude to one species in particular, known to professionals as Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

May 9, 2013 01:00 AM

Old School Vineyard’s 21 acres are tended by one full-time human employee, grower Stephen Hagen, and a crew of four-legged colleagues, including a team of Belgian draft horses, Ike and Olivia, who help Hagen cultivate under vine rows, till the soil and drill cover crops with precision and accuracy.

May 9, 2013 01:00 AM

The Oregon wine industry is a driving economic force, particularly in Lane County. Statewide, the wine business employed approximately 14,000 people in 2010: everyone from winery managers to vintners, from servers in tasting rooms to those tending the vineyards.