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Wine Blog

Unusual White Wines of the Willamette Valley (Part 1)

Last week I wrote about the king of Willamette Valley grapes: Pinot Noir. This week, we’re discussing some lesser known grapes a few pioneering vineyards have embraced: Müller Thurgau and Grüner Veltliner, Auxerrois. *Geek warning!* You may never run across these grapes in your wine journey if you’re not looking for them but for us…

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April 13, 2022

What’s the big deal about Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley?

If you’ve ever visited the Willamette Valley for a wine tastingone thing becomes apparent: Pinot Noir, the king of Oregon grapes, dominates the wine offerings here in the valley. Why? First, a little history and geography lesson. Don’t worry, the modern day Oregon wine industry only goes back to the 1960’s so it won’t be…

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April 6, 2022

Sherry, Port, Madeira, Marsala: Wine or Spirit?

Have you ever been confused about port wine? What exactly is it and how does it differ from “regular” wine? When do you serve it and how long does it last once opened? Let’s start in Portugal, namesake for Port and city of Oporto. Port wine is a separate category of wine called fortified wine…

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March 30, 2022

Wine Skins 101

By popular demand (aka my daughter, the millennial) this blog post will be about grapes and wine types. Talking to her, I realized not everyone knows what makes a wine a white, red, rosé, etc. I wrote this blog post to help people understand how the color of a wine is determined. More specifically, I…

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March 24, 2022

Wine & Fire in Willamette Valley

Climate change comes in many guises: floods, drought, monsoons, polar vortexes, atmospheric rivers, wildfires. Temperatures soar or drop way above their “normal” or average ranges since records have been kept over the last 100-200 years. Prior to modern record keeping scientists relied on archeological, or literary evidence to give us clues as to how long…

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March 17, 2022

To Cork or Not to Cork: Part 2

Who doesn’t love the pop of a cork at the beginning of a dinner with friends or a New Years Eve celebration? The history of cork usage for wine bottles goes back millenia. The natural cork is punched from the bark of the Quercus Suber or cork oak tree, grown primarily in Portugal (50%) and…

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March 9, 2022

The Story of Sulfites and “Natural” Winemaking

As I sit in my office/dining room on a typical rainy Portland day in March, I am clearly reminded that weather has a huge impact on wine making. As everyone knows, Portland has a reputation for rain, which I can confirm in my short time here. It seems 3 out of every 4 days has…

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March 2, 2022

Wine Faults and Wine Storage

How do you know if a wine is bad and what to do? You are in a restaurant and the waiter pours you a taste of the wine you chose. You take a sniff and recoil at the odor. What do you do? a) Pretend it’s fine. It must be me  b) Look quizzically at…

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February 23, 2022

Components of Wine— and How to Begin Tasting Them

  So what exactly is in that glass of wine?   Simple answer: water and ethanol make up approximately 98% of what’s in your glass. Let’s begin there.   The Big Picture   Ethanol is one of many types of alcohol (from a chemistry angle) which includes methanol (wood alcohol) and isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)….

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February 16, 2022

Wine History in a Hazelnutshell (Part 2)

  Just tuning in? Check out Part 1 of this story here.  California Dreamin’ Although the earliest winemaking was recorded in Florida in the 1560’s and the oldest winery in the USwas established in 1839 in New York, California is the center of the US wine universe. The Golden State claims over 80% of US…

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February 9, 2022