Sophisticated menu item at Maryhill Winery Tasting Room & Bistro. #Photo provided

News Briefs: November 2019

Owen Roe, Salem Airport, Art of Sparkling and more!

Winery Adds Bistro to Brand

Based in the Columbia River Gorge, what consumers once knew as Maryhill Winery is expanding into the restaurant business, with a new brand and name, Maryhill Winery Tasting Room & Bistro, at its four Washington locations: Goldendale, Spokane, Vancouver and, coming soon, Woodinville.

“By adding bistros to all our tasting rooms, we are building on our commitment to make high-quality, approachable wines accessible to more people,” says co-owner Craig Leuthold. 

By mid-November 2019, Maryhill Winery Tasting Room & Bistro will have four signature restaurants, doubling its operations over the last two years. Leuthold and his wife, Vicki, have recruited Ron Vansaghi to lead its culinary program.

The Acquisition of Owen Roe

Another familiar Oregon wine brand now has California ownership. Santa Rosa-based Vintage Wine Estates recently acquired Owen Roe.

Founded in 1999, Owen Roe was based in St. Paul in the Willamette Valley before transitioning production to the Yakima Valley beginning in 2014. It makes wines from both regions.

In 2017, Vintage Wine Estates bought the Willamette Valley brand Firesteed Cellars, which it now calls Firesteed Winery. There have been a number of moves into Oregon by California wine companies in recent years, most notably Jackson Family Wines, Foley Family Wines and The Family Coppola.

While sales have flattened for much of the American wine industry — centered overwhelmingly in California — Oregon wine has maintained a high growth rate.

The latest deal gives Vintage Wine Estates Owen Roe and its companion label, Sharecropper’s, which together account for about 60,000 cases of annual production. Physical assets acquired include the winery, estate vineyards and tasting room in the Yakima Valley, and the Newberg tasting room.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

David O’Reilly will stay on as winemaker. He’ll also become regional winemaking director for Vintage Wine Estates’ Pacific Northwest properties, including Firesteed and two Washington brands, Tamarack and Buried Canes.

“With David taking the lead in the region, we are confident our Pacific Northwest wine projects are in expert hands,” Jeff Nicholson, chief operating officer at Vintage Wine Estates, said in a statement.

Owen Roe Pinot Noirs sell for about $40, so the acquisition gives Vintage Wine Estates a top-end line to go along with Firesteed, which retails for less and has news of its own with the hiring of a new consultant, Bob Cabral, a well-known California Pinot Noir winemaker.


The first weekend of October marked the grand opening of Sheridan winery J. Wrigley Estate. To celebrate, John and Jody Wrigley hosted musicians, a spread of food and estate wines. The family-run operation began in 2006 and crafts Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and sparkling wine in the McMinnville AVA. Find out more details at

Arlyn Vineyard, a 40-acre organic and Biodynamic vineyard bordering Ribbon Ridge in the Chehalem Mountains AVA, now boasts a tasting room. Owner Janis Patel returned home to the Northwest, planting 20 acres of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Gamay Noir in 2013. Thomas Savre is the winemaker. Discover more information at

Award Winners

Wineries across Oregon entered their wines in the Oregon Wine Competition through the Oregon Wine Experience in Jacksonville. Below are this year’s “Best of Show” honorees:

Specialty Wine: Maison Jussiaume 2016 Blanc de Blancs, Rogue Valley

White: Trium Wines 2018 Viognier, Rogue Valley

Red: Valcan Cellars 2015 Syrah, Willamette Valley

In addition to the “Best of Show” winners, 26 wineries merited a double-gold, 36 took gold and 73 received silver. The full list of medal recipients is available online: These award-winning wines represent 13 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) in Oregon.

The Art of Sparkling

On Sept. 14, Argyle Winery and the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) celebrated the unveiling of the 2019 Art of Sparkling artwork at a special event at the Argyle Tasting House in Newberg. Each year, three student artists are selected to receive the Argyle scholarship; they immerse themselves in the Argyle story by visiting the vineyards, winery and tasting room. This experience serves as inspiration for their artwork, which are then turned into labels for the three-bottle set. This year’s winning artists include: Haley Howell, Olivia Harwood and Lydia Mercer.

Salem Flies

Wine country’s most convenient airport is working to expand its services in 2020. The expansion would see direct flights out of Oregon’s capital to cities like Denver, San Francisco and Seattle. Located in the heart of the Willamette Valley, Salem is just a short drive from countless wineries, tasting rooms, restaurants and charming wine country towns. For more information, visit

You Really Should Read the Label

It’s not just what’s inside the bottle that makes wine special. The label has its own magic, too. Hanson Vineyards knows this firsthand. The Mt. Angel winery has commissioned a poem for its inaugural release of Poets’ Lament, an orange wine made from Pinot Blanc. The 2018 vintage begins what will be an annual tradition of showcasing a new poem by an Oregon writer for the special wine.

When winemaker Jason Hanson decided last fall to make an orange wine, he was reminded of the saying “Nothing rhymes with orange,” which led to the idea of a label celebrating local poetry. 

Not being much of a writer himself, Hanson turned to the only professional writer he knew: his sister, EM Lewis, an award-winning Oregon playwright and opera librettist. Her poem is a lighthearted piece on the dilemmas poets face, and how easy other writers and thinkers have it.

The poem — and the wine — are available at the winery, weekends, noon to 5 p.m.

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