News Briefs for January 2010

Vuylsteke Switches to Saké

Steve Vuylsteke, an Oregon Pinot Noir veteran of three decades, has made the leap to Japan’s national beverage at the pioneering American saké brewery SakéOne.

A native Oregonian, Vuylsteke’s family founded Oak Knoll Winery—one of Oregon’s pioneers in the industry—in 1970.  He worked in the family operation helping where he could, and, then in 1981, he formally joined the family winery as sales and marketing director and ultimately took over as president and CEO in 1988.  

Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, Vuylsteke worked to promote Oregon wine as a product and Oregon wine country as a destination. During these years, he served as board president of Washington County Visitors Association, Washington County Winery Association and International Pinot Noir Celebration. He was also the steering committee chairman of ¡Salud! Oregon Pinot Noir Auction as well as the treasurer of the Oregon Wine Marketing Coalition.

In 2002, Vuylsteke moved on to Erath Vineyards as its general manager/sales manager.  Four years later, the winery had nearly tripled in size, and was purchased by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in 2006.

After spending a year consulting for several Oregon wineries, he joined Corus Estates & Vineyards in 2008 as general manager of its 12th & Maple Wine Company, a custom crush facility in Dundee.

With the desire to return to a leadership position, Vuylsteke recently accepted the role as president and CEO of SakéOne. His experience and talents honed in the Oregon wine industry provide a strong foundation to lead Oregon’s saké brewer as it expands to meet growing demand.  

“Saké today is much like Oregon Pinot in its early days,” Vuylsteke said. “You have saké enthusiasts, explorers and hardcore fanatics. Most fanatics are stuck in an only-from-Japan mentality; just like wine fanatics were once locked into an only-from-Burgundy mindset when talking about Pinot Noir. The fact is that there is little great saké made in America, but it does exist, and we are making it here in Oregon.

“Much like Pinot Noir, craft beer, coffee and tea, people can look to Oregon for premium craft saké. I am honored to join this team and excited about the advancements we’ll make for our own saké, let alone saké’s perception in America.”

SakéOne, is the only brewer and bottler of premium saké in America. Available brands include: Momokawa (classic), Moonstone (flavor-infused) and G (Genshu). 

Hong Kong Kudos

Willamette Valley Vineyards 2007 Riesling recently won the Gold Medal Food & Wine Award at the 2009 Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Competition as the perfect wine to match with food.

The Riesling competed against about 1,300 wine entries from 18 countries. The competition’s results were announced Nov. 4, in conjunction with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council’s Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair.

Jim Bernau, founder/president of WVV, said the award represents the many opportunities now available throughout China.

“The [award] is a huge honor, and I am thrilled about the potential the Hong Kong market brings to our WVV brand,” Bernau noted. “Now that Hong Kong has lifted its tariffs, we see it as our gateway into China.”  

Hong Kong lifted duties on U.S. wine imports in February 2008. According to an article in Wines & Vines magazine, Hong Kong imported $370 million in wine in 2008—an 80 percent increase over the previous year. U.S. wine shipments to Hong Kong totaled $18 million, twice the value from 2007.

WVV started distributing its wines in Hong Kong with Golden Gate Wine Co. after the winery held a real-time Hong Kong virtual wine tasting at the WVV tasting room on June 25.  In Hong Kong, virtual wine tasting participants included more than two-dozen wine distributors, sommeliers and retailers, as well as U.S. government representatives. 

Cooking for Kids

Morrison Child & Family Services’ 14th annual Cooking for Kids is now accepting reservations for the popular gourmet series, which includes an estimated 30 unique dinners, January through June.

Each Cooking for Kids event features a gourmet dining experience at one of the Portland area’s premier restaurants paired with a Pacific Northwest winery. Approximately 30 guests enjoy a multi-course dinner accompanied by hand-selected wines with each course, presented by the winemaker. During the meal, the restaurant’s executive chef gives a cooking demonstration and sends guests home with the recipes.

Tickets are $150 per person. Net proceeds go directly towards funding critical programs to restore childhood for those who have experienced adversity and trauma and to rebuild families in our community.

Morrison Child & Family Services is the leading provider of children’s mental health services in Multnomah County. A private, non-profit organization headquartered in Portland since 1947, Morrison employs proven, evidence-based practices to support children who have suffered from family abuse, substance abuse, neglect, and other traumas, resulting in mental and emotional issues.

For more details about Morrison Child & Family Services or Cooking for Kids, call 503-258-4200 or visit  

CFK Pairing Menu

23 Hoyt | Apolloni Vineyards
Acadia | Beresan Winery
Alba Osteria | Bishop Creek Cellars
Bay 13 | Owen Roe Winery
Beaker & Flask | Boedecker Cellers
Ciao Vito | Grochau Cellars
clarklewis | Abacela Vineyards
Davis St. Tavern | Domaine Serene, Bethel Heights
Deschutes Brewery | Deschutes Brewery
Fenouil | Capitello Wines
Genoa | Ponzi Vineyards
Laurelhurst Mkt. at Simpatica | Scott Paul, Cameron
Lincoln Restaurant | St. Innocent Winery
Nostrana | Domaine Trouvere
Pazzo Ristorante | House Spirits
Sel Gris | Cristom Vineyards
Tabla | J. Christopher Wines, Et Fille Wines
Ten 01 | Hawks View, De Ponte, House Spirits

The Blacksmith Restaurant | Anam Cara Cellars

Black Walnut Inn | Sokol Blosser Winery

The Painted Lady | Soléna Estate

Riverview | Lange Estate Winery

Vancouver, WA
Hudson’s Bar & Grill | Maryhill Winery

West Linn
five-O-three | Roots Wine Co. 

A Ruby Rendezvous

On March 20, the 40th anniversary of the Greatest of the Grape will be celebrated at the Seven Feathers Casino Resort & Spa in Canyonville. Sponsored by the Umpqua Valley Winegrowers Association, this event will feature vintages from 28 Southern Oregon wineries divinely matched with the culinary creations of 14 of the area’s best restaurants.

Tickets to the Greatest of the Grape are now on sale. They are $75 per person and can be purchased online at . Tickets are also available by phone or in person at: Abacela Winery, 12500 Lookingglass Road, Roseburg (541-679-6642); Henry Estate Winery, 684 Hubbard Creek Road, Umpqua, (541-459-5120); Melrose Vineyards, 885 Melqua Road, Roseburg, (541-672-6080), RoxyAnn Winery, 3285 Hillcrest Road, Medford, (541-776-2315), and in person at Pedotti’s Italian Restaurant, 1332 W. Central Avenue, Sutherlin. 

Breaking Ground

Raptor Ridge Winery just broke ground on a 10,000-case winery. The new facility will bring owners Scott and Annie Shulls from downtown Carlton to their estate property outside of Scholls. While Raptor Ridge wines will fill most of the barrels and space, the winery will maintain a few outside clients like Atticus, CAW and Le Cadeau.

Visit for updates on the new winery.

New Wine Gadget

Fiorino Italian Imports has launched a new in-bottle decanter that aerates the wine as you pour it from the bottle. Made of hand-blown Italian glass, the Centellino is designed to immediately enrich and enhance wine’s bouquet and flavor.

Patented and lab-certified, the Centellino took three years of research and trial to obtain its design and glass composition.

As wine is poured into the amphora of the Centellino, the wine covers and moves through the inside surface of the glass; similar to the action of swirling wine in a glass. When pouring the wine from the amphora into a glass, it will effervesce, adding more oxygen and accelerating the decanting process.

For more information about this new gadget, visit

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