Sip McMinnville to toast 10 years at Evergreen Space Museum

By on December 23, 2016

Organizers of the 24th annual Sip McMinnville Wine and Food Classic recently announced the the festival will return in 2017 to the Evergreen Space Museum for the 10th consecutive year. (Photo by Evergreen Space Museum/Courtesy of the McMinnville Wine and Food Classic)

MCMINNVILLE, Ore. — The 24th annual McMinnville Wine and Food Classic, one of the Oregon wine industry’s largest and most established public festivals, expects more than 5,000 wine lovers to taste through 70 wineries March 10-12 while supporting St. James School.

Organizers recently announced that the historic Evergreen Space Museum will remain as home to the event that’s been nicknamed Sip! McMinnville in recent years. Earlier this year, the Oregonian reported that a group including Utah businessman Steve Down has agreed to purchase the financially strapped museum.

“It’s a great festival,” Rich Washburn, vice-president of Eola Hills Wine Cellars, stated in a news release. “We get a lot of wine-savvy customers who come not only from across the state, but from across the country. It’s a great way to spend a day or more.”

This upcoming festival marks the 10th consecutive year for the Evergreen Space Museum serving as the venue. It began in 1993 at the McMinnville Armory. Wineries remain the featured group among the 170 exhibitors that also include breweries, cideries, distillers and more than a dozen food vendors.

Participating wineries include Armonéa Winery, Denison Cellars, Eola Hills Wine Cellars, Hillcrest Vineyard, J.L. Kiff Vineyard, Methven Family Vineyards & Winery, Misty Oaks Vineyard, Troon, Varnum Vintners and Willamette Valley Vineyards.

Aviation artifacts complement wine festival

The Evergreen Space Museum offers Oregon wine lovers a unique festival experience at the annual Sip! McMinnville Wine and Food Classic. (Photo by the McMinnville Wine and Food Classic)

Some of the Evergreen Space Museum’s historical artifacts are removed to make room for the wineries and other vendors, but organizers plan to display the SR-71 Blackbird and a Titan II missile among the overhead exhibits. Across campus is the Evergreen Aviation Museum, home to the Spruce Goose, the late Howard Hughes’ historic and massive aircraft.

Sip! McMinnville offers early-bird general admission pricing of $15 through Jan. 15. After that, general admission is $20. There will be a $3 discount coupon available for Friday, March 10, and a three-day pass costs $36.

There’s ample parking, but downtown McMinnville also will offer shuttles from McMenamins Hotel Oregon, a convenient landing pad for those who take advantage of Sip! McMinnville’s closing time of 9 p.m. on Friday and 9 p.m. Saturday. Doors open at 3 p.m. Friday, noon Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Wine lovers also can sample and buy bottles and cases of wine via the festival’s streamlined checkout system. A volunteer delivers purchased wines to the buyer’s vehicle.

Sip! McMinnville also serves as a crafts show as regional artists set up booths to sell examples of their painting, sculpture, decorative metal and woodworks.

A Jan. 21 news conference will announce winners of the wine competition. Judges include Elizabeth Clark, longtime winemaker for Airlie Winery; Michele Francisco, a Portland blogger; Jade Helm, educator/blogger/sommelier; Jim Maguire, wine educator, Hawkins Cellars; Max Marriott, winemaker; Patrick McElligott, instructor at Chemeketa Community College; Andrew Minor, account manager, Trinchero Family Estates; Jacques Rendu, sales manager, Coeur de Terre Vineyard; and Kathey Sweeney of Oregon Wine Press.

Sponsors include Pacific Seafood, Davidson Benefits Planning, Les Schwab, Golden Valley Brewery, McMenamins Hotel Oregon, Gormley Plumbing and Mechanical, First Federal, Kathleen’s Hallmark Shop, Moreland Oil Co., and Albertsons – Safeway.

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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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