Party for the People

With harvest and crush looming in the not-so-far distance, winery workers are relishing their free time while it lasts. And for cellar rats and winemakers in the northern Willamette Valley, it was that time to let loose at the annual Pre-Harvest Celebration.

On Sept. 11, wine folk gathered at Kelty Estate Bed & Breakfast in Lafayette for an evening of savory food, toe-tappin’ tunes and, you guessed it, local wine. But this year, the pre-deserved hedonism for soon-to-be-dog-tired wine workers had an added bonus of raising money for Yamhill County Commissioner Mary Stern.

“About a month prior to the event there were rumblings in the wine community about Stern’s Commissioner seat

being challenged,” said Meg Murray, the celebration’s founder/co-organizer and owner of Élevage Consulting. “She has been a great advocate for responsible land use and the wine industry. It just made sense to turn it into a fundraiser for her.”

With a nod to sponsors, about $4,000 was raised for Stern.

Under stately old trees, party-goers were greeted with the aromas of slow-roasted pork and lamb sausages from Tony Soter’s Mineral Springs Ranch made by chef Paul Bachand, owner of REC-I-PE (a soon-to-be brand-new local supper club), a table packed with spotless wine glasses and Murray, as well as co-organizer Nicci Stokes, owner of All-Event Rentals and Kelty Estate.

As you rounded the corner, Portland bluegrass band Jack Straw played in front of a sizable crowd atop neatly placed hay bales. And to the left was a line of tables covered with wine. Guests brought bottles from their cellars — many were made with their own hands. Needless to say, this is where most guests congregated and conversated.

After all, wine is their line of work.

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