COMMENTARY

A New Look, a Look Back

By Hilary Berg, OWP Editor

You hold in your hands the new and improved Oregon Wine Press.

As you can see, it is now flat and stapled, which is much easier to handle; and the design has been spruced up, giving our 25-year-old pub another makeover.

We are launching the new format with January, but please note that the departments you are used to seeing will be back in February — along with some new ones, too.

Every year, we pare down this first edition in order to focus our attention on the top ten stories of the year, as well as OWP’s highest honor: Wine Person of the Year. And as you have already noticed, we have added another award we felt was pertinent: Wine Organization of the Year.

For the two awards, OWP has chosen to recognize Dave and Deolinda Coelho of Amity and Umpqua Community College’s Southern Oregon Wine Institute in Roseburg.

Both Wine Person — okay, we realize it technically should be “Persons,” but we voted, and the title is to remain singular — and Place have made an impression on us and an impact on their respective communities.

On a personal note, the Coelhos are refreshingly genuine and approachable. They have a deep passion for their family business along with their Portuguese heritage, and their wines are fantastic.

If you haven’t been to the Coelho tasting room, you should check it out. It is instantly cozy with old wood beams, a long wooden bar and a wood stove — perfect for winter wine tasting. 

As far as SOWI, I have to admit, I have yet to visit Umpqua Community College; but I have experienced the new wine school’s impressive beginnings through stories and photos, through e-mails, phone calls and the school’s impressive website

I believe SOWI is going to augment the Southern Oregon wine industry, creating major growth for many communities down there.

Like Chemeketa Community College’s Northwest Viticulture Center, many Oregon winemakers will get their start at SOWI, providing the Rogue, Applegate, Illinois and Umpqua valleys with even more qualified workers who will already be versed in the area’s soils and microclimates.

Congratulations to the Coelhos and the staff at SOWI. We honor you for your hard work and passion for Oregon wine.

As far as OWP’s new format, we hope you like it. Be sure to pick up February for the full effect. Again, January is a special issue reserved for our much-deserving honorees.

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