Adelsheim unveiled the signature wine labels at a private event in Northwest Portland, April 8. The Blazers mascot, Blaze, made an appearance in the crowded gallery space. ##Photo provided
Adelsheim winemaker Gina Hennen with Michael Lewellen, Blazers vice president of corporate communications, during the label unveiling. ##Photo provided

Sippin' Rip City

Adelsheim toasts Trail Blazers’ 50th

By Mark Stock

Adelsheim Vineyard has teamed up with the Portland Trail Blazers to celebrate the franchise’s forthcoming 50th anniversary. The pioneering Chehalem Mountains label has created two wines to honor the half-century mark for the pro hoops club, fit with a clever label commemorating the rich, winning history of Rip City.

The black and gold labels offer a nod to iconic players like Bill Walton and Damian Lillard, as well as outstanding feats — 814 consecutive sold-out games, 21 straight playoff appearances from 1983 to 2003 — and treasured phrases — “red hot and rolling” — from Blazers former announcer Bill Schonely.

The two offerings, a Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir, comprise a very limited bottling and are expected to sell out. Members of the Adelsheim wine club and Blazers season ticket holders will get early access through an August pre-sale. The general public can purchase the wine starting Sept. 24 only through and the Newberg tasting room; at that time, glass pours will be available for private suites and select locations in the Moda Center, including Adelsheim’s arena wine bar, Local Cork.

One of two labels unveiled at the Blazers party. ##Photo provided

The collaboration is not hugely surprising given the Willamette Valley’s continued excellence in all things wine and the Blazers’ respect for local gastronomy. The Moda Center has become the city’s athletic answer to the airport, where a healthy slice of Portland’s food and drink culture is available to NBA fans during games.

Players, too, have given praise to Oregon’s famous Pinot Noir producers. LeBron James is rumored to enjoy and collect the wine; while, locally, star Blazers such as CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard have talked openly about savoring the local wine scene.

Adelsheim unveiled the signature wine labels at a private event in Northwest Portland, April 8. The Blazers mascot, Blaze, made an appearance in the crowded gallery space. Highlights from past seasons rolled on the screen as attendees sipped wine and snapped photos in front of magnified versions of the label artwork.

The Blazers have made a habit of working with local artists and not just winemakers. The event also featured the artwork created for the Game-Day Poster series. The series asks local artists to design posters related to the Blazers and their opponent for every home game. Akin to rock concert posters, these visuals make for a creative way to document an important date in Trail Blazers history.

The organization will do the same with the help of Adelsheim when they release the wines Sept. 24. The two partners make a lot of sense together, having both launched in the 1970s in the Willamette Valley. Both have become highly visible brands over the years, with spirited fan bases — kudos to the Blazers for not simply outsourcing the project to a generic out-of-state operation.

“Making this wine was such an honor for our whole team,” says Adelsheim winemaker Gina Hennen. “As a fan, to be able to collaborate so closely with the Blazers to create this special limited edition wine to commemorate the team’s 50th anniversary has been a dream come true.”

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