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Uncorked

May 4, 2017

“I served in restaurants, and I was one of those people who asked, ‘Do you want red or white, lighter or bolder?’” says Madeline Puckette, wine blogger at Wine Folly, the site she started with her partner, Justin Hammack, six years ago in Seattle. “Figuring out what people’s sweet spot is can be useful and informative.” But, it’s also an easy path to what you typically drink rather than a map for discovering something new.

May 4, 2017

Sitting 15 miles west of Junction City, Antiquum Farm bursts with life. In the spring, this gorgeous site, nestled in the foothills of the Coast Range, dappled with oaks and cut by Ferguson Creek, becomes a veritable farmyard nursery. 

May 4, 2017

Whether you’re buying the spendy top-shelf corked wines or if the main criteria for your fermented grape drink is being able to unscrew its top with your bare hands, being a wine-drinker in the Willamette Valley doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of money or have an educated palate. Turns out, screw-top wines are more than just a bargain, and you can partake in a wine tour without leaving downtown Eugene.

May 4, 2017

For lots of people, wine tasting means driving long distances to the countryside to bucolic wineries like King Estate or LaVelle Vineyards.

But in the center of Eugene’s fermentation district is an artery of urban wineries and tasting rooms, connecting the Whiteaker neighborhood to downtown. And they’re all within walking or biking distance from one another — an urban wine tour, if you will. 

May 5, 2016

“Our property used to be Christensen Brothers Ranch, a working rodeo stock ranch for horses,” says Abbelone Vineyard co-owner Angela Ferry. In the routine operations of running the winery, “we find lots of remnants from those days, like horse bits and fencing,” she says. 

Ferry, a financial recruiter, and her husband, Kristian Ferry, a surgical oncologist, bought their 34-acre property in 2002. 

 “We planted our first vines that spring,” Ferry says. 

May 5, 2016

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.

May 5, 2016

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. 

How, and how much?

May 5, 2016

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

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.

Say what? 

If it’s even partly true that chardonnay rates as one of Oregon’s best wines, the phenomenon could be called a renaissance, a revival, even a re-birth, because Oregon chardonnay had effectively died in the ’80s. And it wasn’t a pretty demise.

May 7, 2015

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. Vineyards in the Willamette Valley can have an impact on the water quality of nearby streams, but salmon-safe vineyards go through an extensive certification process that ensures winemakers preserve riparian areas, protect water quality and prevent erosion. 

May 7, 2015

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.

 I’m still that chick who, when asked what I’d like to drink at an elegant restaurant, responds, “Give me your cheap red.” 

May 7, 2015

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.

And it seems to be growing. Consider our (fairly) recent history:

May 7, 2015

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. 

May 8, 2014

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

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.

Bad chemistry. The sequence is predictable: We buy a decent wine, treat it well until we pull the cork. We pour the wine, bring it to our lips. First, we’re assaulted by nasty aromas: moldy, musty, damp basement, mildewed stacks of old newspapers … Descriptors vary. Flavors, too, remind us of soggy basements. If the condition is advanced, the wine is undrinkable.

May 8, 2014

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

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.

 

Volcano Vineyards 

930 N.W. Brooks St., Bend, OR 97701 • 541-390-8771 • volcanovineyards.com

May 8, 2014

Eugene Wine Cellars

255 Madison St., 342-2600

May 23-26 Memorial Weekend Celebration, Sunday urban wine circuit  noon-6pm Saturday-Monday.

 

J. Scott Cellars 

520 Commercial St., Unit G, 514-5497

May 23-25 Memorial Weekend Celebration, music, food truck, guest wineries, 4-9pm Friday, 1-9pm Saturday, noon-6pm Sunday.

 

Noble Estate Vineyard & Winery

29210 Gimpl Hill Rd., 560 Commercial St. Suite S, 954-9870

May 8, 2014

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.

May 8, 2014

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. For example, rain can dilute the sugar levels and flavors that accumulate during ripening. Weather also encourages or tamps down prospects for various pests and diseases.

May 9, 2013

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. Or throw on a light sweater, grab a friend and head for the hills of wine country, where patios and tastings await. Better yet, pour yourself your favorite vino, sit in your favorite chair and take notes on 2013’s Uncorked.

May 9, 2013

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

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

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.