Harvest rainbow at Monkgate Vineyard outside Carlton. ##Photo provided

All the Colors

Broadening the spectrum

By Hilary Berg

Oregon is truly a colorful state. The landscape shines with a rainbow of hues: red Jory soil (our official dirt), golden bursts of native Oregon sunshine (also known as wooly sunflower), emerald Douglas fir, lime-green grass, chartreuse moss and, not to mention, the “Pacific Ocean Blue.”

Blessed with a diversity of flora and fauna, the nation’s 33rd state has long attracted nature nuts and adventure seekers, including those entering the wine industry. Although Oregon winery and vineyard ownership, and winemaking positions, have traditionally lacked diversity — skewing primarily white, mostly male — the last decade or so has seen an exciting, modern shift to inclusivity.

Over the years, OWP has covered this trend, including the immense impact of the Latinx community — without them, our wineries and vineyards would suffer greatly — and the important role of women in every aspect of the business, from winemaking to tending vines to running the whole shebang — pun intended. Add yet, OWP had never produced a cover story about the influence of Asian Americans. Until now.

Although the Asian culture is ubiquitous here on the West Coast — food, aesthetics, philosophy, art, etc. — the number of Asian Americans in the wine industry remains small. However, their unique perspectives and interesting journeys are worth telling.

While writer Sophia McDonald and photographer Kathryn Elsesser profile only three people — Mark Chien, Tai-Ran Niew and Junichi Fujita — we know others are making their marks, too, including winemakers Stephanie Pao of Foris Vineyards, Leo Gabicia of Sweet Cheeks and Akiko Shiba of Shiba Wichern Cellars.

What an exciting time to be part of this community, and even more thrilling to be telling the vibrant stories surrounding it.

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