Make a Month of It

Telling the story of Oregon wine all May long

By Hilary Berg

May. What do you know about the year’s fifth month? The Taurus and Gemini in your life will likely know a few facts, such as the birthstone: the gorgeous, green emerald; and the flower: the sweet Lily of the Valley.

Delving slightly deeper, the word originates from Maia, the Greek goddess of fertility — the Romans called it Maius. Over the years, the name changed a bit. In the 1400s, near the end of the Middle Ages, the term May was first used.

For all you linguists, it’s Maj in Danish; Mai in French and German; Mayo in Spanish; Maggio in Italian; and Pruesaphakhom in Thai — don’t ask me how to pronounce that.

Here in the U.S., we celebrate a number of holidays in May, including May Day (May 1); Cinco de Mayo (May 5); Mother’s Day (May 12); and Memorial Day (May 27) — or the unofficial start of summer. But there are more commemorations; some are deliciously fun and can be combined for pure pleasure.

How about honoring National Barbecue Month with a nice juicy National Burger Month, an organic National Salad Month paired with a handcrafted Oregon Wine Month? — don’t worry about calories because you can work it off during National Bike Month.

That’s right, May is Oregon Wine Month, instituted by the Oregon Wine Board and dedicated to educating consumers on the culture of our state’s thriving industry.

It’s a perfect chance to learn more about the wines, the people, the history, the sites and the future of a bustling trade that contributed $5.61 billion to the state’s economy — according to a 2018 report by Full Glass Research.

That’s a lot of money, and there’s room to grow. A lot of room, which is why Oregon continues as a hot market for wineries looking to plant vines and build brands.

If you recently moved to Oregon wine country, welcome! Newcomers have always been part of the Oregon wine story: Californians, Burgundians, even Kansans — this one. Our stories become the larger story, and there are many chapters ahead.

This May, get to know the whole narrative, and be sure to enjoy some Oregon wine while you’re at it. Cheers!

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