Bertony Faustin of Abbey Creek Vineyard pours his wine for guests attending TASTE PDX at the Portland Art Museum on May 31. ##Photo provided
Michelle J. DePass accepts the Innovate Award on behalf of Meyer Memorial Trust. Standing behind her is Michael Alexander, recipient of the Inspire Award. ##Photo provided

Equity in Action

Inaugural TASTE PDX makes a statement

By Tamara Belgard

Gather a large group of people aligned around a shared vision, serve them an amazing dinner crafted by some of Portland’s top chefs, paired with wines from Oregon’s founding wineries, and you have a recipe for inspiration. With the goal of advancing inclusion and equity, more than 450 guests attended the first TASTE PDX at the Portland Art Museum May 31.

The concept was born when Kali Thorne Ladd, executive director of KairosPDX, a nonprofit delivering equitable education to under-served children, shared her idea for TASTE with David Adelsheim of Adelsheim Vineyard, who told her he was looking for more ways to celebrate Oregon wines in Portland. He then connected her with Joth Ricci, a board member and adviser for the winery, and the president of Dutch Bros. Coffee.

Mike Fetch pours Maison Noir wines at the celebration. ##Photo provided

Together, Thorne Ladd and Ricci envisioned the event, a celebration of the best organizations, individuals, chefs and winemakers for whom equity is a priority.

With such a hot-button topic, it was no surprise chefs such as Gregory Gourdet of Departure, Katy Millard of Coquine, Peter Cho of Han Oak and Maya Erickson of Langbaan joined the cause, alongside wineries such as Adelsheim, Domaine Drouhin, Penner-Ash, Ponzi and Stoller. Needless to say, the dinner sold out.

Prior to the meal, guests enjoyed a walk-around tasting featuring a bounty of diverse bites from Creole Me Up, Magna, Nong’s Khao Man Gai, XLB and Tamale Boy, paired with wines from Cramoisi Vineyard, Eunice Cheweshe Goldstein Winery, Et Fille Wines, Helioterra Wines, Mason Noir Wines, Patton Valley Vineyard, RAM Cellars, Remy Wines and Abbey Creek Vineyards, where Bertony Faustin is Oregon’s first black winemaker.

After dinner, spoken-word artists performed and an awards ceremony honoring community change-makers reminded guests of the party’s purpose. Emotional speeches were also given.

From the stage, individuals encouraged the crowd to be vulnerable and foster new friendships, as truly healthy communities are built through diversity.

“Gather with people who are different from us as well as those who are like us,” says Inspire Award winner Michael Alexander, the interim vice president of Global Diversity at Portland State University and formerly the president and CEO of The Urban League of Portland. “Think about what you are doing and how you do it. Realize that while anger has its place, as it tells us something is not O.K., it’s just a start. Think about your vision and what it means to live in a more equitable world.” And as Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Beneficiaries of the event included: KairosPDX; NAYA, Native American Youth and Family Center; Q Center, an LGBTQ community center serving the Pacific Northwest; and the Latino Network, an education organization transforming the lives of Latino youth, families and communities.

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