Central Oregon Wine Endorsed by OWB
Central Oregon is now formally acknowledged as a winegrowing region by the Oregon Wine Board.
That doesn’t mean it’s an AVA, a formal American Viticultural Area. But it does mean that Central Oregon wineries will have a unique listing on the OWB website, www.oregonwine.org, and on its mobile phone application.
“The wine producers of Central Oregon are passionate and enthusiastic about the future for Oregon wine in their region,” said Charles Humble, director of marketing and communications for the OWB. “The Oregon Wine Board is demonstrating its support while the Central Oregon producers seek to eventually gain AVA status.”
There are three licensed wineries in Central Oregon - Maragas, Volcano, and Faith, Hope and Charity - plus six small, commercially producing vineyards in the region, which extends from Bend north to Warm Springs.
Maragas Winery owner Doug Maragas called the announcement, made in late December, “an incredible Christmas present.
“This puts a whole new face on the wine industry in Central Oregon,” Maragas said. “It’s an important aspect of establishing our credibility. Just like the Willamette Valley, Southern Oregon and the Columbia Valley, our current and future grapegrowers and wineries are bound to profit from the recognition.”
Maragas established his winery, the first in Central Oregon, in Bend in 1999, initially producing wine from grapes grown in other regions of Oregon, California and Washington. After relocating in 2006 to 40 acres in southern Jefferson County, near Culver, Maragas began growing its own estate fruit. Its first wine made entirely from its own grapes — a dessert varietal known as Beat Red - earned a silver medal in 2009 in the annual San Francisco Chronicle wine competition.
“When we started here and released our first wine, I fielded numerous comments that the venture was foolish, and that I was a bit crazy to put forth the effort,” said Maragas, a former trial attorney from Ohio. “Now, I feel exonerated.” John Gottberg Anderson