Oregon Wine Board seeks top Oregon-friendly restaurants

Simon’s Cliff House Restaurant at the Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River is a two-time recipient of an Oregon Wine A-List award. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

PORTLAND – This week, the Oregon Wine Board launched its yearly search for a restaurant worthy of joining the ranks of The Joel Palmer House as part of the third annual Oregon Wine A-List Awards.

“We just opened up nominations for the 2017 Oregon Wine A-List Awards, which recognizes restaurants across the world displaying enthusiasm for Oregon wine and a deep appreciation of the diverse regions, varieties and producers of Oregon,” said Michelle Kaufmann, communications manager for the Oregon Wine Board.

Nominations close Nov. 1, and winners will be announced in January. The top award will be presented during the Oregon Wine Symposium, scheduled for Feb. 21-22 in Portland.

Top program earns spotlight at Feast Portland

Portland sommelier James Rahn receives the 2016 Oregon A-List Wine Program of the Year from Oregon Wine Board chair Ellen Brittan, left. (Photo by Carolyn Wells-Kramer/Courtesy of Oregon Wine Board)

Last year’s nominations resulted in recognition for 112 restaurants. In 2015, Christopher Czarnecki, executive chef/owner of the Joel Palmer House, was named the overall winner of the inaugural Oregon Wine A-List Wine Program of the Year. Czarnecki also oversees the wine list at the second-generation restaurant in Dayton.

Among the perks for winning the overall award is a featured spot in the Oregon Wine Board booth for Smoked! the marquee event for Bon Appetit magazine’s Feast Portland festival.

The 2016 overall winner was sommelier James Rahn for his work at the historic Heathman Restaurant and Bar, which closed this spring as a result of a reported property dispute among ownership groups. Rahn will be joined at Smoked! by Raven & Rose in Portland, which received one of the A-List 2016 Regional Spotlight award.

One of the interesting facets of the A-List Awards program is that it taps into fans of Oregon wine beyond the boundaries of the Beaver State. As a result, a nomination can cast a spotlight on a restaurant anywhere in the United States and around the world, which can help travelers make dining decisions.

Last year’s A-List winners from Washington state were Canlis, The Herbfarm, RN74, Terra Plata, The Whale Wins and Lummi Island’s Willows Inn. Other states and countries represented were Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New York and Virginia as well as Japan and Sweden.

Oregon Wine A-List criteria

Nominations for the 2017 Oregon Wine A-List Awards end Nov. 1, 2016.

The program defines its three award designations as:

The A-List Awards evaluate wine lists, not the service or food quality of a restaurant. Those interested in providing insight and sharing their experience at one of the award-winning restaurants are encouraged to email competition organizers at info@oregonwinealist.com.

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