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Cultivating Awareness

As Oregon consumers become more familiar with the increased focus on sustainability in local vineyards and wineries, one winery has taken a step further and created Cultivate, a new label specifically to help fund sustainable agriculture.

For Kevin and Robyn Howard, founders of Oregon winery Séjourné, the new label is about giving back.

"We received tremendous community support in launching our vineyard and winery, from our industry, from our customers and from local businesses," Kevin said. "We wanted to start giving back to charitable groups to express our gratitude, and now we can do this with dedicated donations from Cultivate."

Five percent of all sales revenue from Cultivate wines will be donated to local and international sustainable agriculture organizations.

Supporting sustainable agriculture was a natural choice for Cultivate.

"Our family has been farming in Oregon since the 1850s, so supporting farmers was our first priority," Kevin said. "We have committed our company to low-impact production, so the combination of sustainability and agriculture is the perfect criteria for Cultivate's charitable contributions."

Organizations supported by Cultivate wines include Roots For Peace, a nonprofit organization dedicated to removing landmines around the world and returning land to agriculture. Its first efforts have, appropriately, focused on exchanging mines for vines, with projects underway in Afghanistan to revitalize their table grape industry.

"Only around one-quarter of Oregon's vineyards are certified sustainable, and this is in a state and in an industry that has strongly embraced sustainable and low-impact farming," Kevin said. "We have an opportunity to improve and expand sustainable farming techniques, not just for our industry and not just for Oregon, but on a much larger scale. We want our customers to be able to enjoy raising a glass to giving back."

Cultivate wines are produced at Séjourné Estate, located in the Yamhill-Carlton District, and will feature grapes sourced from premier Pacific Northwest vineyards with a focus on sustainability. The first release, Cultivate Red, is a warm-climate blend of Syrah and Cabernet available for $20. A multiple-vineyard Pinot Noir cuvée and a dry white blend will also be released later this year, both in the same price range.

Cultivate wines are featured at the Séjourné Wine Room at 448 N.E. Third Street in downtown McMinnville, as well as at wine retailers throughout the Northwest. For more information, visit www.cultivatewines.com

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