Oregon Chardonnay Celebration takes more statewide view in 2017

By on December 13, 2016

Ray Isle of Food and Wine magazine will serve as the moderator for the 2017 Oregon Chardonnay Celebration on Saturday, Feb. 25 at The Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg.

NEWBERG, Ore. — Next year’s Oregon Chardonnay Celebration will take a more statewide approach to its Saturday, Feb. 25 seminar, and Ray Isle of Food and Wine magazine is on board to serve as the tour guide.

The theme is “Roadtripping through Oregon Wine Country,” and there are a few changes to the sixth edition of this Chardonnay-focused event that started in 2012 as the Oregon Chardonnay Symposium, but perhaps the most important feature is that the ideal setting remains the same — The Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg.

The afternoon will begin at 1 p.m. with the technical panel, which seats the public alongside some of the state’s top producers. Organizers have added 30 minutes to the grand tasting, which now will run from 3-5:30 p.m.

Ticket prices have been raised for both components of the afternoon. It costs $85 for the grand tasting and $170 for the technical panel/grand tasting. Special weekend lodging rates at The Allison Inn & Spa are available for attendees who call 503-554-2525 to make reservations.

While organizers have not announced the panel of five winemakers for the Oregon Chardonnay Symposium, the list of 40 participating wineries has been determined. North Willamette Valley producers continue to dominate the lineup, however DANCIN Vineyards returns to represent Southern Oregon and Phelps Creek Vineyards from the Columbia Gorge also will pour at the walk-around tasting.

The list includes Adelsheim Vineyard, Alexana Estate Vineyards and Winery, Anam Cara Cellars, Antica Terra, Apolloni Vineyards, Bergström Wines, Bethel Heights Vineyard, Big Table Farm, Brittan Vineyards, Bryn Mawr Vineyards, Carabella Vineyard, Chehalem Wines, Crowley, DANCIN Vineyards, deLancellotti Family Vineyards, Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Drouhin Oregon Roserock, Domaine Serene Vineyard and Winery, Dukes Family Vineyards, Fairsing Vineyard, Fullerton Wines, Goodfellow Family Cellars, Gran Moraine, Grochau Cellars, Haden Fig, King Estate Winery, Knudsen Vineyards, Lemelson Vineyards, Lingua Franca, Longplay Wine, Lundeen, Matzinger Davies, Monte Ferro, Montinore Estate, North Valley Vineyards, Phelps Creek Vineyards, Ponzi Vineyards, Rain Dance Vineyards, Torii Mor, Twill Cellars, Walter Scott, Westrey Wine Co., WildAire and Willamette Valley Vineyards.

Durant, Landon launched event in 2012

Erica Landon and Paul Durant are founders and organizers of the Oregon Chardonnay Symposium. (Mimi Casteel of Bethel Heights Vineyard shares some humor with moderator Rajat Parr and panelists, left to right, Jason Lett of The Eyrie Vineyard, John Paul of Cameron Winery, Craig Williams and Thomas Bachelder during the 2015 Oregon Chardonnay Symposium.

Erica Landon and Paul Durant founded the Oregon Chardonnay Celebration in 2012. (Photo by ©Andréa Johnson Photography/Courtesy of Trellis Growth Partners)

Dundee Hills grower/vintner Paul Durant and educator/proprietor Erica Landon of Walter Scott Wines co-founded the event and moved it from Durant Family Vineyards to Stoller Family Estate in 2014 as support in the Oregon Chardonnay Symposium grew. They rebranded the event a year ago.

There’s a history of strong interest among producers to be involved with the event. More than 70 wineries sought to present their wines at the 2014 grand tasting, but a panel of judges continues to limit the number pouring to 40 producers.

Previous themes for the two-hour technical session have ranged from a historical look at clonal selection in Oregon and a side-by-side tasting/discussion focused on five examples of Chardonnay from the same vineyard by five winemakers. Moderators have included the late Cole Danehower, star sommelier Rajat Parr and Jancis Robinson contributor Elaine Chukan Brown.

Isle, who serves as executive wine editor of Food and Wine, will develop a presentation to feature several growing regions throughout Oregon and lead the discussion among those winemakers. He is regular guest on programs such as Today, The Early Show, CNBC’s On the Money, NPR’s All Things Considered and American Public Media’s The Splendid Table.

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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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