A Sweet Day to Turn 150

By Hilary Berg, Managing Editor

This Valentine’s Day, Oregonians have a lot to celebrate. Not only is it a day reserved for candy hearts and romance, but it is also Oregon’s birthday, 150 years to be exact.

America’s 33rd state is commemorating its sesquicentennial—that’s a mouthful—and us residents should honor this beautiful place we live in with—but, of course—birthday gifts.

How do you give a geographic location a gift? Well, it’s really quite easy. You could plant a tree. Volunteer in your local community. Donate money to a local charity. Or you could make a commitment to buy local; that would be a great gift.

I know I have mentioned this before in my letter, but now more than ever is the time to think local. Oregon—and the entire nation—is facing major economic challenges both on Wall Street and Main Street. With the state’s unemployment rate expected to reach double digits in the coming months and with 401Ks taking a daily beating, now is the time to embrace your neighbors’ businesses. It is time to reach out and make every dollar count.

When you buy local, your money stays in Oregon’s economy; not to mention, it fosters local job creation and nurtures community, along with many other advantages.

This Valentine’s Day, instead of buying wine from our neighbor to the south or across the ocean blue, you should seriously consider pouring Oregon wine in your lover’s glass. Better yet, make it a date and head out to Wine Country.

In every AVA across the state, wineries are hosting special tastings, offering chocolate truffles, live music, Riedel glassware, stunning scenery and world-class wine. Sounds romantic doesn’t it?

If you’re single, no problem. Cupid is said to buzz around many tasting rooms, aiming his amorous arrow at unsuspecting wine lovers.

Specifically, Columbia Gorge wineries are hosting an all-weeked open house and members of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association are celebrating the state’s birthday with “I Love Oregon Wines,” a Valentine’s Day kick-off event for the promotion “150 Days of Wine” (see page 6).

As area wineries honor Oregon and toast the state they’ve planted their vines in, I think you ought to do the same. Give a gift. Buy some wine.

Happy birthday Oregon! You don’t look a day over 145.

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