Winery group creates Oregon winemaker trading cards

By on March 15, 2014

Ponzi Vineyards frontNEWBERG, Ore. — Any wine lover who collected baseball cards as a kid can appreciate the latest promotion launched by Oregon’s Chehalem Mountains Winegrowers Association — winemaker trading cards.

Don’t go running into the nearest Plaid Pantry, though. Rather, winesters must visit a participating tasting room in the Chehalem Mountains Winegrowers Association and ask for its Oregon winemaker trading card.

“People are realizing that there is an entire wine region in the mountains of the North Willamette Valley,” Annedria Beckham, executive director of the Chehalem Mountains Winegrowers and founder of Beckham Estate in Sherwood, said in a news release. “We successfully grow wines for every palate and cuisine, and the trading cards are a fun way to encourage visitors to get to know us and enjoy the wines.”

The Chehalem Mountains Winegrowers trading cards, at 3 1/2 by 5 inches, are closer to the size of note cards rather than the traditional baseball card (2 1/2 by 3 1/2), which does make them easier to accommodate a winemaker’s autograph.

Scott Shull - Raptor Ridge frontCollectors of these winemaker cards won’t be handed a plank of petrified pink bubble gum. And fans don’t have to worry about “doubles” either. However, you could yell, “Got him!” when you receive the Harry Peterson-Nedry RR Wines card — if you already picked up the CHEHALEM Wines card. He also appears on that one with his daughter, Wynne.

And just like baseball cards, the backs of these Chehalem Winegrowers Association winemaker cards are packed with statistics and trivia. Each one includes the address of the winery, tasting room hours, phone number and URL. There’s also a long list of wine geek data such as winery bio, case production, vineyard size, soil type and the clones planted.

Not to be outdone, the back of the card even features a quick kernel of knowledge. For example, on the Adelsheim Vineyard card there’s an unusual fact about winemaker David Paige. “David is a polyglot — fluent in French, German and of course English.”

Scott Shull - Raptor Ridge backSome of the winemakers had more fun than others with the photograph sessions that were used for the trading cards. A bare-chested Paul Gates of Gresser Vineyard appears to be naked with nothing but a wine barrel — bunghole appropriately pointed toward the camera — between him and the photographer.

Unlike the baseball cards of our childhood, these winemaker trading cards are not assigned a number on the back. Instead, they are arranged in alphabetical number. One of the fun things to glean from the old Topps baseball cards was to see which players received a card number ending in a zero. Perhaps it was just coincidence that in this first Chehalem Mountains Winegrowers set Maria and Luisa Ponzi of famed Ponzi Vineyards have the 20th card in the series.

Other well-known, award-winning winemakers represented in the first set include David Adelsheim, Jim Prosser (J.K. Carriere), Scott Shull (Raptor Ridge) and Cheryl Francis & Sam Tannahill (Rex Hill).

There is a prize for those who collect all 28 of the cards in this limited edition first series. Get your completed collection verified by the Chehalem Mountains Winegrowers — send an email to info@chehalemountains.org — and you’ll get a complimentary tasting for two. (There are also instructions on the check list card.) You’ll also be entered into a drawing for tickets to the Chehalem Mountains Winegrowers annual consumer event and other prizes.

Wineries with trading cards to hand out identify themselves by displaying a decal on their tasting room window, but you can also see the participants via the association’s website or Facebook page.

With more than 50 wineries and 150 vineyards in the Chehalem Mountains and Ribbon Ridge American Viticultural Areas, there are certainly enough players to warrant producing a second set of winemaker trading cards.

About Eric Degerman

Eric Degerman is the president and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. He is a journalist with more than 30 years of daily newspaper experience and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest with Andy Perdue and served as its managing editor for 15 years. He is a frequent wine judge along the West Coast and contributor to Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine, the region's longest-running golf publication.

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