Walk on the Wine Side
Industry luminaries honored during 15th anniversary event
On Oct. 30, the Dundee Bistro and Ponzi Wine Bar hosted a celebration of its 15th year in business. Highlighting the event was the induction of 15 new members into the Oregon Wine Walk of Fame. Their names will be added to a distinguished list of individuals previously honored with plaques affixed to the Walk.
The 2014 inductees include Pat and Joe Campbell of Elk Cove Vineyards; Ed King III of King Estate Winery, who almost singlehandedly planted Pinot Gris on the Oregon map; Jim and Loie Maresh of Maresh Red Barn; veteran vineyard managers Allen Holstein and Joel Myers; Eric Hamacher of Hamacher Wines; Mark Vlossak of St. Innocent Winery; and Maria Stuart, IPNC mainstay and co-owner of R. Stuart & Co.
Also joining the 2014 list are Karen Hinsdale, Oregon’s earliest wine distributor and consultant; Tom Elliot, whose Northwest Wines Ltd. introduced Oregon wines to California; and Terry Sherwood, longtime manager of Davison Winery Supply.
Adding more enjoyment to the affair were the presenters. Some have already been so honored and others may themselves be in the next induction in 2019.
Keeping the atmosphere lively throughout, master of ceremonies Maria Ponzi led off the presenters; they included Remy Drabkin, Terry Casteel, Deb Hatcher, Dick Erath, Leigh Bartholomew, Rob Stuart, Pat Dudley and Rollin Soles.
When it opened, The Dundee Bistro marked an important moment in Oregon wine history. Not only was this neo-classical edifice an eloquent addition to the Yamhill Valley wine scene, it also made a significant statement about the industry. The interconnected businesses underscored the compatibility between fine wine and fine dining, with a major emphasis on some of the best Oregon has to offer.
Carrying the pleasurable connection a step further, the Ponzis instituted the Oregon Wine Walk of Fame in 2004. That first year, 27 individuals were recognized as the core group whose efforts were pivotal in ensuring the industry’s success.
Pioneering winery owners included David and Diana Lett, Dick Erath, Dick and Nancy Ponzi, David Adelsheim, Myron Redford, Susan Sokol Blosser, Bill Fuller, Richard Sommer and Charles Coury.
Following the first wave were Robert Drouhin of Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Scott Henry of Henry Estate, Steve Vuylsteke of Oak Knoll, Jim Bernau of Willamette Valley Vineyards, Paul Hart of Rex Hill, Mark Wisnovsky of Valley View Vineyards, Bryce Bagnall of Witness Tree Vineyard, and Bethel Heights partners Ted Casteel, Pat Dudley, Terry Casteel and Marilyn Webb.
Also honored were restaurateur Nick Peirano of Nick’s Italian Cafe, ¡Salud! Director Leda Garside, vintner and oenology instructor Barney Watson of Tyee Winery, Oregon Pinot Camp Director Susan Horstmann and former Oregon Gov. Neil Goldschmidt.
Inductees pressed their feet into concrete for placement on the walk that first year. But what seemed like a good idea initially was abandoned for the future when the logistics turned out to be messy, cumbersome and not all that attractive.
Five years later, in 2009, the names of five more industry luminaries took Walk of Fame places, with plaques rather than footprints. They included Chehalem Winery founder Harry Peterson-Nedry, Dundee Hills wine pioneer Cal Knudsen and winemaker Lynn Penner-Ash.
Retired Oregon State University viticulture professor and researcher Porter Lombard was another honoree. So was Argyle Winery co-founder Rollin Soles, who proved Oregon’s ability to make great bubbly.
The Oregon Wine Walk of Fame now contains 47 names. The custom of naming new inductees every five years allows enough perspective for evaluation of what will likely be a long list of worthy candidates. And here’s predicting, as the prestige of the Oregon wine industry continues to grow, that the honor will be even more meaningful five years hence.
The Ponzis — Dick, Nancy, Maria, Luisa and Michel — deserve the sincere thanks and appreciation from everyone who loves Oregon wine. Because of them, the Oregon wine industry has had the Ponzi Winery since 1970, The Dundee Bistro and Ponzi Wine Bar since 1999 and the Oregon Wine Walk of Fame since 2004.