COMMENTARY

Thanks Be to Wine

By Hilary Berg, OWP Editor

As I write this letter, I can clearly hear the sounds of fall: rain sputtering, leaf blowers buzzing, the heater clicking on and off.

And as I look out of my house, I see a wondrous sight: the grapes have all been picked and early morning fog enshrouds what is left, burnt umber vines and leaves the shades of saffron and rust.

Among the rows, I notice the birds finally have the domain they have been so desperately trying to invade all season, only to find remnants of a bountiful harvest.

I am so grateful November is here and the mad hours that made up October are in the past. In Oregon, most wineries worked long hours this crush to bring in what looks to be a bumper crop of great proportions.

Here in the northern Willamette Valley, winemakers were anxious to find extra space and tanks for the abundant crop. And, of course, wineries helped one another out as friends, not competitors.

Oregon’s wine industry is one-of-kind in the way the wineries take care of and look out for one another. Of course, it is not always one big, happy family, but for the most part, it is a friendly business community.

And, as you know, the wineries also must count on their customers as well, and Thanksgiving Weekend—every weekend, actually—is the perfect time to show the love and celebrate the local treasure of Oregon wine.

During the festive weekend, you will have the opportunity to taste the 2008 vintage, which is quite special, but I encourage you to snatch up what remains of the 2007s, in particular the Pinot Noirs.

After a year’s time in the bottle, 2007 Pinots have shown to be elegant, finesse-driven foodie finds. These wines are all about the classic form. They are Pinots that look, smell and taste like Pinot. No obnoxious over-extraction here. If you are a real Pinot-phile, then you must stock up.

Now, for some Thanksgiving Weekend advice you may or may not want to read, but here I go: Please, slow down. When you find a winding road, it is not the place to test your Beamer’s handling. We love our vineyard doggies and cats, and sometimes they wander a little close to the road. Be careful.

You must also be on the look out for deer, skunks, raccoons and, most importantly, cops. We appreciate our small-town police; they work hard for their money, which means they will pull you over for speeding in town limits. Trust me, I have the pink slips to prove it. So when the sign says, “25 mph,” go 25. No joking here.

The only other advice I have is to enjoy yourself and, of course, have a designated driver. We want everyone to be safe and come away from Thanksgiving Weekend with wonderful memories; and I have no doubt you will. 

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