Dear Wine Lovers,
Welcome back to The Good Drop Wine Shoppe’s wine blog. It’s Katherine here today and I thought I would highlight my experiences with Oregon wine, in honor of May being Oregon Wine Month.
When I was in college, I studied abroad in Tuscany, Italy where I worked for the Consortium of Brunello di Montalcino. It was in Italy that my love for wine blossomed. A few years after my trip to Italy, I started working at Sweet Cheeks Winery, a small family-owned and operated winery and vineyard nestled in the Willamette Valley. I found such a pride for wine when I worked in Oregon wine country, a place where my love for wine and my love for home became intertwined. I found a sense of belonging in the wine experience as my knowledge grew of the the work and emotions put into the fostering of great Oregon wine. While I worked at Sweet Cheeks, I was able to participate in harvest and see all the moving parts of the wine industry. Many people only see the glamor and luxury of the wine experience… but few are fortunate enough to see it in its infantry, to see the tight-knit community of hardworking farmers who bring this dream to life.
I remember while visiting a winery in Tuscany called Col d’Orcia, the winemaker and owner expressed his desire for us students to call him a farmer not a winemaker, as the grapes are the true winemakers. On his property he had goats, lamb, pigs and gardens of vegetables and fruits, and, of course, hectares of vines. At the end of my visit, I was able to taste a bottle of his 100% organic Brunello Riserva 2012 with salami, honey, and cheese that was made and harvested on that plot of land that I had walked. That experience opened my eyes to the wine world in its wholeness and gave me the perspective I needed to embrace wine. The wine industry is certainly newer in Oregon than it is in Italy, but I see so many signs that our state is learning to do more than just make wine. Our state is an agricultural paradise built upon the hard work of loving hands and respect for the Earth’s fruits. I see here the same holistic passion for wine that I saw in Italy, an understanding that to experience wine is to do more than just sip it absentmindedly. Oregon openly bears its soul as an old-world producer would and I’m very excited to see the wine industry grow and thrive in the state. With approximately 790 wineries, Oregon is very quickly becoming a prominent wine region, but don’t let the speed of growth fool you. Oregon wine is made by hands very cognizant of the history and age-old values that first made wine special. With over 50 grape varietals grown, Oregon has been experimenting and collaborating with soil types, climate changes, and perfecting the coveted Pinot Noir. We are sure to see fantastic things come from Oregon wine in the coming future.
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The Good Drop Girls