Sip, Sip, Hooray!

Oregon Chardonnay Celebration Offers A Full Experience Package

Panel discussion during 2019 event.From left; Robert Brittan, Brittan Vineyards; Kate Payne-Brown, Stoller Family Estate; Jason Lett, The Eyrie Vineyards, Ben Castell, Bethel Heights Vineyard and Michael G. Etzel, Beaux Frères.##Photo by Neal Hulkower


The proof exists in the numbers: Oregon Chardonnay is in a bull market. From 2018 to 2021, planted acres increased over 13 percent from 2,406 to 2,724, and harvested acres were up almost 5 percent from 2,185 to 2,291. Over the same period, the price per ton rose a whopping 45 percent, from $1,860 to $2,700. The great white grape of Burgundy firmly holds third place after Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris as the most planted grape in the Beaver State.

Marking and perhaps fueling the rise of the grape, the initial, more modest, Oregon Chardonnay Symposium was held in 2012. The event allied with the International Pinot Noir Celebration in 2015, dropped the more academic-sounding moniker, moved to posher, larger quarters, inviting the public to taste for themselves what the Anything But Chardonnay (especially from Oregon) naysayers have been missing.

Care to taste for yourself what all the fuss is about? Attend the 2023 Oregon Chardonnay Celebration. Now a two-day affair, it will be held Friday, February 24, and Saturday, February 25.

Domaine Serene Winery, in the Dundee Hills above Dayton, will host “The Côte to Coast Chardonnay Soirée” from 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. Friday. While not exactly a replay of the famous Judgment of Paris competition with Oregon substituting for California (though one should really be organized!), the seated tasting presents an opportunity to compare wines of this variety from the two best regions. The estate’s Chardonnay portfolio winemakers Michael Fay and Rachel Zasadni guide the tasting as people sample wines from two properties owned by Grace Evenstad: Domaine Serene and Château de la Crée in Santenay, Burgundy, including its Maison Evenstad label. The evening concludes with a walk-around tasting of Champagnes and Burgundies from over a dozen international producers along with hors d’oeuvres from Hunt & Gather Catering.

Continuing the tradition of educating, the Grand Seminar will be held from 1 - 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. As has been the case since 2016, The Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg will host. The seminar features four Oregon winemakers who have traveled to other regions as they learned their craft. Keeping with the theme, “Global Inspirations,” each will share an Oregon Chardonnay and one from the region that served as the influence. The Chardonnay Grand Tasting follows from 3 - 5:30 p.m., during which time wines from over 50 wineries will be available to taste, accompanied by hors d’oeuvres.

The celebration moves to Stoller Family Estate in Dayton from 6:30 - 9:00 p.m. with the Oregon Dungeness Crab Feast. Bubbles, oysters, and hors d’oeuvres begin the event with a sit-down dinner of the featured crustacean, served family style, paired with Chardonnay from Stoller and guest wineries.

The Full Experience (includes all events) costs $595 plus a $23.80 fee. Each of the four events is available à la carte with the Côte to Coast Soirée priced at $195 plus $7.80; the Grand Seminar & Grand Tasting Package at $199 plus $7.96; the Grand Tasting only at $125 plus $5; and the Dungeness Crab Feast at $250 plus $10.

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