April Showers Bring May Flowers and Bloom for Oregon Wine

Oregon is officially declaring May 2012 as Oregon Wine Month, to recognize the importance and impact of wine in Oregon’s economy. It’s only been two decades since Oregon political leadership—the governor and legislature—acknowledged the importance of Oregon wines by designating a month of official recognition.

below, an April rainbow over Willamette Wine Country

Other than Gov. Kitzhaber reading a proclamation and shaking hands with leaders in the wine industry, what does it mean for consumers? Actually, it can mean plenty, especially when combined with consumer, trade and media activities and events are included.

Restaurants will feature Oregon wine specials, liquor stores will pass along special sales to customers who purchase wine, events will showcase the variety of the Oregon wine industry, from Pinot Noir to Cabernet, Pinot Gris to Chardonnay. The emphasis is focused on getting the word out on the great wines now produced in Oregon. Tourists will be exposed to Oregon’s wine bounty and those who are “locals” can taste new and established wineries at events such as “Unwine’d: Celebrating Oregon Wine,” a grand tasting of Oregon Wines on April 29 in Portland. This is Oregon’s version of Taste Washington and is open to the public, featuring more than 100 Oregon wineries.

Take advantage of the promotion and go to the activities. If you go to the grand tasting, be careful to taste and spit and keep track of wines you would like to taste further. If you don’t spit, by the time you reach your fifth winery, you won’t really taste the nuance of the wines. It simply becomes red or white alcohol, and you will miss spectacular wines and hidden gems that could send you to heaven and back. As they say in Washington, “it’s hip to spit.”

There are several other things to keep in mind if you attend Oregon’s wine events in May. Don’t wear white or light-colored clothing. If you spit, you could splatter. Also, take a plastic cup, or ask for a plastic spit cup (I’d bring my own, just in case). At big events, the wineries generally have dump buckets for the public to spit out the wine. It is so…disgusting to spit into a bit spittoon. Bring your own cup, and then you can pour the contents into the bigger bucket, rather than lean over and spit. I have this creepy image of “Sideways,” when Myles picks up the dump bucket…well, most of you know the rest.

Happy tasting…

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