News Briefs for November 2009

Doggone Good Idea

Paula Sendar of Ashland loves two things in a big way: animals and wine; and she’s embarked on a project to bring them together, making her own wine at Pallet Wine Company, the new custom crush facility in Medford. She will be selling it for the benefit of animal organizations and agencies.

Sendar’s company, Philanthropie, will produce a wine called Two by Two. The label will feature the silhouette of a dog and cat for varietal blends, two cats for white wines and two dogs if it’s a red.

“Everyone I talk to thinks this is a great idea; my passion is animals,” said Sendar, who is normally an interior designer and enjoys planning special events. She said she has reached a point in life, like a lot of people, where she wants to “give back.”

Sendar uses Crater View Ranch—part of Quail Run Vineyards—and Steelhead Run Vineyard in nearby Applegate Valley. Her Viognier and Rosé will be ready in spring 2010, with the others following in 2011.

She hopes to place her 170 cases with Rogue Valley restaurants, shops and tasting rooms, and sell direct to animal lovers over the Internet. Later she wants to expand to the Northwest and and beyond. Her plan is to start small and proceed steadily.

Although it seemed an original idea, she noted a winery in California, Caravintas Winery, is already selling wines with a percentage going to animals—95 agencies receive its benefits.

With the availability of Pallet Wine Company, the guidance of its experienced winemaker, Linda Donovan, a seasoned knowledge of wines and access to a flourishing abundance of wineries in the Rogue Valley, Sendar has a positive outlook for her wine future.

“I never made wine before, but Linda offers expertise and guidance to novice winemakers like me so they can achieve the desired outcome with their wines,” said Sendar, who did buy barrels, corks, foil and grapes, with Donovan’s assistance.

Sendar’s inspiration comes from a childhood spent without pets—they came to her later in life and touched her heart.

“I realized the plight of abused and endangered animals,” she noted. “We have to be their advocates; they don’t have a voice. There are a lot of wonderful pet owners and animal lovers out there [who would support animals by buying the wine].”

Her price line is targeted at under $25, with 5 to 10 percent going to pet charities. For more information, go to . —Story by John Darling

VinoLab Adds Art

Applegate Valley’s Troon Vineyard has this pairing thing down to a science, of sorts. Team Troon calls it VinoLab, “a culinary exploration of the art of food and wine.”

Normally, VinoLab just focuses on pairing food and wine for gourmet-loving guests, but on Sept. 28 at the winery’s northern tasting room in Carlton, a third element was added: art—Steve Taylor’s oil and acrylic paintings, to be specific.

At the early-autumn affair, attendees were served four courses. The first included a cranberry-citrus biscotti served with Port crème anglaise paired with Troon’s 2008 “Jeanie in the Bottle” Rosé and three vibrant nudes by Taylor—“Alone,” “Changed” and “Long Day.”

“My goal was to capture the same energy in the food and wine pairing,” said Sommelier Liz Wan, Troon’s resident culinary director. “The biscotti and wine both had an innocent sweetness to them that was contrasted by the crisp, bright cranberries and citrus mixed in with the bright acids that offset the beautiful Rosé. I also attempted to carry over the richness of color in these three pieces into the rich and complex Port crème anglaise.”

The next three courses followed suit. From a caprese skewer paired with Sauvignon Blanc to a bittersweet chocolate cake with spiced buttercream and three-berry caramel garnish paired with Insomnia Port, all the courses leaned toward fresh, bright flavors, which were evident in the paintings.

For more about VinoLab, check out , and for visual examples of the event’s paintings, plus more information about Taylor, go to .

Give It a Swirl

Wine Swirl is the latest gadget to hit wine shop shelves. Made in Oregon, this one promises “the most effective patented method of wine aeration.”

Unlike wine aerators that use a single pour through a funnel, Wine Swirl’s sustained aeration method claims to improve all red wine, regardless of cost. More efficient than decanting, Wine Swirl aerates red wine in minutes.

“Allowing a red wine to aerate or ‘breathe’ smoothes and opens the wine, enhancing its aroma and improving taste regardless of price,” said Roger Hall, company president and inventor of Wine Swirl. Aeration has long been important to red wine lovers.

In multiple blind tastings, over 95 percent of testers preferred wine aerated with the Wine Swirl compared to un-aerated wine from the same bottle.

The gadget works by creating an aerating vortex, increasing the surface area of wine exposed to air. According to Hall, this produces a more controlled and effective method of aeration than pouring wine through a funnel, swirling in a glass or decanting.

“What makes Wine Swirl different than competing products is its completely innovative, more effective aeration method. It’s natural, it’s fun, and it works,” noted Hall. “Our customers tell us repeatedly how much more they enjoy their red wine using Wine Swirl.”

Wine Swirl is available for purchase at or by calling 888-400-7955. The Wine Swirl package, which includes carafe, is $149.95.

To Health!

Now in its 18th year, ¡Salud! The Oregon Pinot Noir Auction has raised over $6 million to support efforts to bring health care to seasonal vineyard workers and their families.

Each November, winemakers and wine aficionados alike come together for a weekend of wine, food and fun, and to raise money to ensure the health of the workforce on which Oregon’s wine industry so heavily depends. This year’s signature event will be held Nov. 13 and 14.

Friday’s Big Board Auction of 2008 Pinot Noirs created exclusively for ¡Salud! will once again be held at Domaine Drouhin Oregon in Dundee.

Saturday’s festive auction and dinner gala will be held at Portland’s historic Governor Hotel, where Chef Philippe Boulot, culinary director of The Heathman Restaurant & Bar, and executive chef of Multnomah Athletic Club and Grand Cru Estates will prepare this year’s feast. The live and silent auction will feature rare wines, special dinners with the winemakers and one-of-a-kind wine trips.

A limited number of special raffle tickets, 50 at $200 each, will be sold before the live auction. The winner will select any one of 14 special wine and dinner packages consisting of three cases of ¡Salud! Cuvée—each from three different Vintners Circle wineries—plus a celebration dinner at one of Portland’s noted restaurants with the three winemakers. The drawing will take place before the auction and the selected lot removed from the live auction. In addition to the 14 wine lot packages, there are other specialty wine and travel packages.

For more information and absentee bids e-mail . Tickets are $395 for both events.

Celebrating Southern Oregon

Southern Oregon wineries and winemakers are traveling to Portland again to showcase the best they have to offer as Celebrating Southern Oregon Wines Grand Tasting returns Nov. 1 at the Governor Hotel in downtown Portland.

From 4 to 7 p.m., area wine enthusiasts will have the opportunity to sample select Southern Oregon wines, featuring varieties like Albariño, Viognier, Pinot Gris, Roussanne, Syrah, Tempranillo, Zinfandel, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, plus red blends.  

Tickets are $35 and available by visiting the Southern Oregon Winery Association website at or by calling 866-501-3881.

The Governor is located at 614 S.W. 11th Ave., Portland.


While Oregon photographer Jánis Miglavs was at the Yantai International Wine Festival in China, he was surprised to find his latest book, “Oregon: The Taste of Wine,” was one of four finalists in a prestigious book competition. He had no idea.

When he attended the Festival as a guest of China’s largest winery, Changyu, he stopped by the booth of Gourmand World Cook and Wine Book Awards. While looking at the catalog of 2008 finalists, Miglavs found, to his surprise, that his book was one of four finalists in the “Best Book on New World Wines” category.

Vancouver Gets Vinified

On Oct. 24, Vancouver’s first downtown winery, Gougér Cellars Winery, opened its doors.

Owners Gary and Bonnie Gougér buy grapes from Washington, Oregon and California to make their full-bodied red wines.

The winery is located at 1812 Washington St. For more information, call 360-909-4707. Tasting room hours are Friday, 2 to 8 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m., and Sunday, noon–5 p.m.◊

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