Crowds gather at the 2018 SIP! McMinnville Wine & Food Classic at the Evergreen Air and Space Museum. ##Photo by Marcus Larson

Sip City

McMinnville marks 26 years of wine and food celebration

By OWP Staff

The much-beloved SIP! McMinnville Wine & Food Classic invades the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, from March 8 to 10, for its 26th anniversary. This festival combines small independent producers of Oregon wine, beer, liquor, food and art for three days of tasting, toasting and raising funds for St. James School, founded in 1906 in McMinnville

Seventy-five wineries from all over Oregon plan to participate in this year’s event, including such esteemed names as Archery Summit, Beaux Frères, Dobbes Family Estate, Domaine Roy, Pike Road Wines, Torii Mor, Lenné Estate, Yamhill Valley Vineyards and Youngberg Hill.

This year’s installment introduces several new elements. Guests will enjoy live music throughout the weekend and can take home a free stemmed crystal Pinot Noir glass — 1,000 glasses on Friday, 1,500 on Saturday and 500 on Sunday. One-day or three-day tickets are available, as well as a new “decide later” one-day ticket that entitles access on any day.

The event’s formal wine competition, significantly reorganized and refreshed, includes new award categories recognizing Best of Show, Best Red, Best White, Best Pinot Noir, Best Chardonnay, Best Dessert Wine and a double-gold classification. Taking home top honors for 2019 was Cardwell Hill Cellars, which claimed Best of Show, Best Red, Best Pinot Noir and a double-gold for its 2014 Estate Dijon Blocks Pinot Noir, as well as Best Chardonnay for its 2017 The Bard Chard. Best White and double-gold went to Chris James Cellars for its 2017 Cuvée Blanc, while Apolloni Vineyards claimed Best Dessert Wine and a double-gold for its 2015 Muscat Lacrima D’Oro. A full list of winners is available at

Representing the full spectrum of the wine industry, this year’s judging panel assembled preeminent wine buyers, wine educators, winemakers, writers and chefs. New faces included Michael Alberty, wine editor of The Oregonian, Otto Han, buyer at New Seasons Market, Eric Degerman, editor of Great Northwest Wines, and Erin James, editor of Sip Northwest Magazine.

“A major goal of the competition is to introduce Oregon’s great wines to the consumer,” said competition coordinator Rolland Toevs. “So our efforts begin with selecting influential and well-credentialed judges who can effectively communicate the results to consumers. As the competition gets more rigorous, we attract more and more esteemed wineries to participate, in an upward spiral.” Wineries must be event vendors to participate in the wine competition.

In addition to wineries, food vendors, artisans, distilleries, plus local breweries and cideries — Approximately 160 vendors — will participate in this year’s celebration.

For tickets, visit

Fathers and Sons Soirée

New to this year’s SIP! was a special pre-event, the Mac Classic Gala Winemaker’s Dinner, featuring “father and son winemakers,” March 9 at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum. With an impressive five-course meal prepared by The Barberry, winemakers Ken Wright of Ken Wright Cellars with son Cody Wright of Purple Hands Winery and Michael Etzel of Beaux Frères with son Mikey Etzel of Coattails Wine mingled with guests who feasted beneath the Spruce Goose while tasting wines from two of the most influential wine families in the state. The dinner started with an intimate reception at The Barberry before the meal at the museum.

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