Uncommon Wine Festival

By Tamara Belgard

The spirit of adventure was in the air — as was the heavenly smell of Red Hills Farms wood-fired pizza — at the seventh annual Uncommon Wine Festival (UWF) on July 9th.

The daylong gathering at the treehouse setting of Vista Hills Vineyard and Winery was devoted to petite, up-and-coming Oregon wine labels, serving as a platform to present their unique and individual styles. This year’s lineup included Leah Jørgensen Cellars, Fossil & Fawn, A Cheerful Note Cellars, Paetra Wine Company, Hundred Suns Wine, Martin Woods and Joyful Noise Wine.

Returning festival winemakers like Leah Jorgensen, who’s been participating in the UWF for six of its seven years, was pouring her distinctive lineup of Oregon wines, including a Sauvignon Blanc, her signature Cabernet Franc, and even a succulent Malbec.

“This is actually the only festival I do,” Jorgensen said. “I just love this place: the views, the people in the tasting room, the interesting wines, the mission behind the event. It’s absolutely magical… like a wooded fairyland. And the wines keep getting better and better!”

Other winemakers were sampling their first vintages, some of them micro-producers with just one wine to show and tell. From Riesling to Pinot Noir, and Gamay to Malbec, the diversity of varietals offered something for everyone’s palate.

In addition to wines even the most diehard aficionados would be hard-pressed to find, other “uncommon” delights included bluegrass tunes spinning on a classic turntable, sleeping babies, frolicking kids and pleasant pooches, grounding the family-friendly event.

If the passion, experimentalism and avant-garde approach seen and tasted at the UWF gives any indication about the future of Oregon wine, we can rest assured that future is in good hands.

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