How Will Climate Change Affect Northwest Grape-Growing?

August 12, 2013

North Willamette Wine Trail

A University of Maryland news release really caught my eye with the title, “Climate Changes Will Produce Wine Winners and Losers.”

It went on to say that, in the not too distant future, your favorite French wine may not come from its namesake region or even from France!

Apparently, climate change is altering growing conditions in wine-producing regions and in the coming decades will change the wines produced there, in some cases shifting to new areas the growth of grape varieties long associated with regions further south, says leading climate scientist and wine expert Antonio Busalacchi of the University of Maryland.

“Climate change will produce winners and losers among wine-growing regions, and for every region it will result in changes to the alcohol, acid, sugar, tannins, and color in wine,” says Busalacchi, who directs the UMD Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center and chairs the World Climate Research Programme’s Joint Scientific Committee and the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate.

Busalacchi, and research assistant Eric Hackert have analyzed climate-change impacts on 24 of the world’s major wine-producing regions, providing snapshots of what conditions will be like at the middle and end of this century. Busalacchi notes that several Champagne houses already are looking at land in Sussex and Kent in southern England as potential sites for new vineyards because as climate warms the region is becoming more hospitable to quality grape growing. The soil type in the region, as seen in the white cliffs of Dover, is similar to the chalky substrate of Champagne, and the cost of land is 30 times less than in France.

“Vineyards in higher latitudes, at higher altitudesm or surrounded by ocean will benefit from climate change, with more consistent growing seasons and a greater number of favorable growing days,” he says. “These include the Rhine in Germany, U.S. states Oregon and Washington, the Mendoza Province of Argentina, and New Zealand.” says Busalacchi, who comes from a family of restaurateurs, is an advanced sommelier, and operates a wine-and-vineyard consulting firm.

On the other hand, Bordeaux and some other regions will suffer compressed growing seasons that yield unbalanced, low-acid wines that lack complexity. South Africa and South Australia likely will see declines in wine production due to severe droughts, according to Busalacchi. More generally, extreme events such as heat waves that shut down photosynthesis and hail storms that can ruin a chateau’s annual production in a matter of minutes will become more commonplace.

In both warm and cooler regions, one result will be the same; wines will lose their traditional character.

“Taken to an extreme, a wine from the Left Bank of Bordeaux may move away from the classic aromas of cedar cigar box, black currants and green pepper and more toward the full, rich, spicy-peppery profile of a Chateauneuf-du-Pape from the Southern Rhone,” says Busalacchi. “Given that most grapevines produce fruit for 25 to 50 years, grape growers and wine makers must consider the long term when determining what to plant, where to plant, and how to manage their vineyards.”

Wine Tasting in British Columbia and Boeuf Bourguignon

August 5, 2013

Cherry Point Vineyards grapes

Planning a trip to British Columbia this summer? Need an excuse to plan a trip to our neighbor to the north?

Then how about making plans to attend the first-ever Campbell Valley Wine Festival, which highlights the best of the Fraser Valley wineries located amongst the rolling hills of South Langley’s Campbell Valley.

Saturday, August 10, is the day to explore! Visit Backyard Vineyards, Domaine de Chaberton Estate Winery, Township 7 Vineyards, and Winery and Vista D’Oro Farms and Winery. From 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., each winery will offer wine samples, snacks, live entertainment, and the chance to win a case of wine.

About the featured wineries: 


Backyard Vineyards is your choice for local wines. With grapes harvested in both the Fraser and the Okanagan Valleys, Backyard offers the very best of BC VQA wines. Sparkling wines to brighten up even the grayest of days, varietal wines from cheeky to sexy and a Nosey Neighbour peeking over the fence, there is something for every day and price range at Backyard Vineyards. Located at 3033 232nd Street, Langley, BC T. 604-539-9463


A quick tasting or an afternoon filled with fabulous food, wine tasting, and a tour of the vineyards. Domaine de Chaberton, one of B.C.’s largest estate wineries and the Fraser Valley’s oldest winery and vineyard, cordially invites you to come and experience a tranquil atmosphere. The 55-acre property, situated off of 216th and 16th in Langley, offers daily tours and free wine tastings. Pack a lunch or picnic and join us on one of our many sunny days for a glass of wine in our licensed picnic area or dine in our Zagat Rated “Excellent” Bacchus Bistro. Located at 1064 – 216 Street, Langley, BC T. 604 530 1736


Founded in 2001, Township 7 has two B.C. wineries, one situated in the scenic Fraser Valley and the other on the picturesque Naramata Bench in Canada’s premier wine region, the Okanagan Valley. Our Metro Vancouver winery is located in the beautiful south Langley countryside in a quaint building reminiscent of the many riding stables in the neighbourhood. Named after this historic community of south Langley, its original name in the late 1800s was “Township 7”- the cottage on our property is an original building from the 1930s. Located at 21152 16th Ave. (at 212th St.),
Langley, BC T. 604-532-1766


Dedicated to providing an ultimate agritourism experience, Vista D’oro Farms & Winery’s orchard and vineyard provide an assorted bounty, all of which can be found in the Farmgate Shop & Tasting Room in some form – whether it’s our flagship D’oro – fortified walnut Wine, our Orchard Pear & Pinot Noir Preserve, or simple pickled cherries on our charcuterie boards. Full picnic provisions are available to enjoy on our deck or under the walnut tree. Located at 346-208th Street, Langley, BC T. 604-514-3539

And as your reward for reading his far, here’s an added bonus!

I featured Domaine de Chaberton in my seventh book, “Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining: The People, Places, Food, and Drink of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia“. Here’s the winery’s recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon.

Oregon Chardonnay Symposium Showcases New Wave of Artisan Winemakers

April 22, 2013

White Grapes

Oregon Chardonnay is garnering national attention, taking center stage in the New York Times article “Oregon Chardonnay Speaks Up” last year and mentions in February’s Sunset Magazine article, “The Great White.”

And it doesn’t show signs of slowing down. The second Oregon Chardonnay Symposium on Saturday, May 4, at Red Ridge Farms will showcase a new wave of smaller producers and set out to define their signature style of North Willamette Valley Oregon Chardonnay.

The event will begin with an educational and interactive panel discussion, featuring eight artisan producers and nationally renowned wine writers. The discussion will include a technical tasting of very limited production Chardonnays from the panelists.

Participating Wineries

Arterberry Maresh

Big Table Farms


Division Winemaking Company

Durant Vineyards



Walter Scott

Participating Media


Katherine Cole, wine columnist for The Oregonian and author of “Voodoo Vintners: Oregon’s Astonishing Biodynamic Winegrowers”


Paul Gregutt, “Wine Adviser” columnist for The Seattle Times and NW editor of Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

W. Blake Gray, author of the Gray Report blog, winner of the 2012 Wine Blog Awards for Best Industry Blog and columnist for, will also be participating in the event.

A walk-around tasting at the Durant Vineyards Tasting Room will follow the panel discussion, featuring wines from the participating wineries along with charcuterie plates accompanied by Oregon Olive Mill olive oils. Participants will be provided with seminar notes, tasting notes, and a logo wineglass.

Tickets are limited to 60 and cost $60 each. Reservations are required and can be made by calling Red Ridge Farms at 503-864-8502.

Panel Discussion Topics:

· Each winery will define their signature style of North Willamette Valley Oregon Chardonnay

· Drive and influence of each producer

· Visions

· Oak regiments

· Vineyard sources, soil and climatic influences

· Winemaking practices

· What does the future hold for Oregon Chardonnay


The Oregon Olive Mill at Red Ridge Farms

5510 NE Breyman Orchard Road

Dayton, OR 97114


Saturday, May 4, 2013

1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.: Panel Discussion and Technical Tasting

3:30 p.m. Expanded Tasting

Find more information on Facebook or Twitter @OregonOliveMill.




My Favorite Dishes 2011

November 8, 2012

Here is a look back at some of our favorite dishes from last year. We are posting a series of Dishes of the Day the next couple of weeks as we take some time away from the office and computer to refresh and relax (our very belated “summer vacation”). 

It has been another great year of wining and dining both around the Pacific Northwest, but in other parts of the United States and Canada.

So I thought it’d be fun to throw up photos of some of my favorite dishes from 2011. Herein are the “winners” on that list in no particular order.

The Seafood Skewer served tableside on Holland America’s m.s. Eurodam.

ART Shrimp Cocktail in downtown Seattle’s Four Seasons Hotel

Shuckers Crab Louie in the Fairmont Hotel in Seattle

Antipasti Plate at The Pink Door in the Pike Place Market

Roasted Beet Salad with Grilled Salmon at Purple Cafe & Wine Bar in Woodinville, Washington

Vietnamese Crepe at Bambuza Vietnamese Cuisine in downtown Seattle (now under new ownership with a new name–920 Pike)

Roasted Chicken Caesar Salad with Cheddar Dressing at Dominion Square Taverne in downtown Montreal, Canada

Crab Tails at Elliott’s’ Oyster Bar and Restaurant in downtown Seattle

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad at Place Pigalle in the Pike Place Market

The Abalone Appetizer at The Oyster Bar along the Chuckanut Drive north of Seattle

The Everything Green Salad with Dungeness Crab at The Pink Door in the Pike Place Market

Grilled Oysters with Cheese at The Inn at Semiahmoo in Blaine, Washington

Octopus and Beans at Lecosho on the Harbor Steps in downtown Seattle

Smoked Salmon Appetizer and Side Salad at Luc in Seattle’s Madison Valley neighborhood

Shrimp and Grits at Joule in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood

Tuna Bowl at Revel in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood

And, just for a bit of final fun:

The Fried Mars Bar with Vanilla-Bean Ice Cream at Garde Manger in the Old City section of Montreal, Canada

Stoller Family Estate New Tasting Room

November 2, 2012

Oregon wine pioneer Bill Stoller’s 20-year vision is coming to fruition (so to speak) this fall, as Stoller Family Estate celebrated three big milestones including a new name, expansion of its wine-growing team, and a new state-of-the-art tasting room which opened last month.

The company’s new name reflects the evolution of the vineyard and entire property over the last 20 years, and maturation of the winemaking team over the last decade.

The just-released 2010 Reserve Chardonnay ($28 SRP) is the first wine displaying the new name and labels; 2010 Reserve Pinot Noir will be introduced in fall 2013.

Founder, Bill Stoller, purchased his family’s 373-acre farm in 1993 and has since transformed it into the largest contiguous vineyard in Oregon’s Dundee Hills, with nearly 200 acres under vine.

He comments, “We knew that this project would require a long-term vision, the right people to achieve it, and a lot of patience. From the beginning, I envisioned building a legacy beyond that of our family — a vineyard demonstrating the top quality of wine being made in Oregon and a property preserving the natural beauty of this agricultural land for generations to come.

“Our winemaker, Melissa Burr, who is this year celebrating her tenth vintage, has been instrumental in achieving this vision with our expanding wine-growing team.”

Stoller Family Estate is a source for several prominent Oregon wineries including Adelsheim, Chehalem, and Argyle.

Stoller continues, “Our new tasting room will allow our guests to learn about wine while enjoying expansive views of the vineyard, which is of course the focal point of our work here at Stoller. Those who want the opportunity to visit surrounding wineries, restaurants and other businesses in Yamhill County can stay at one of our three recently renovated guest homes.”

More about Stoller Family Estate’s new tasting room:

The building integrates environmental sustainability with high efficiency design and will harvest at least 100-percent of its energy with a 236-panel solar panel installation. A few notable design features include a green roof, skylights, salvaged timbers, and plans for an electric-vehicle charging station.

More about Stoller Family Estate:

Stoller Family Estate is one of Oregon’s most highly regarded vineyards and wineries. Pioneering Oregonian and Founder, Bill Stoller, purchased his family’s second-generation farm in 1993 with the vision of cultivating an enduring legacy for the land and Oregon wine industry. Over the last 20 years, he has patiently transformed the 373-acre property into the largest contiguous vineyard in the Dundee Hills and a sought after source of fruit for premier producers. Longtime Winemaker, Melissa Burr, works in concert with Vineyard Manager, Robert Schultz, to oversee the site’s continued refinement and steward Stoller’s legacy of growing exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Stoller Family Estate features North America’s first LEED® Gold certified winery, three guest homes and a new state-of-the-art tasting room with panoramic vineyard views.

A Lovely Online Food and Wine Guide

October 26, 2012

I just found out about a food and wine guide that will be useful to anyone contemplating a trip around the Pacific Northwest, or even just for vicarious “travel” for armchair travelers.

The Northwest Food and Wine Guide features page after page of restaurant descriptions and menus for Portland, Seattle, Vancouver (British Columbia), and northern California.

Following the restaurant descriptors comes touring information for wineries, distilleries, and breweries in the same areas.

I loved “leafing” through the magazine’s pretty pages while viewing them on my new computer’s crisp and vibrant retina display.

The magazine’s editors are based in Portland, so the magazine skews heavily toward that town. I’m sure as they sign up more advertisers, and people find out about the Guide, that Seattle, Vancouver, and Northwest wine regions will get more play in the merry mix.



Sooke Harbour House Honored

August 21, 2012

Sooke Harbour House

Our friends Sinclair and Frederique Philip, co-owners of Sooke Harbour House on Vancouver Island, have been raking in an impressive number of awards lately. And as always, they are very well deserved.

Sinclair and Frederique Philip

According to a press release, “This year Travel and Leisure Magazine Readers’ Poll has dedicated a category exclusively to Canadian properties for their World’s Best Awards. In the last decade Sooke Harbour House has been rated close to the top several times in this poll for continental North America.

“Today, Travel and Leisure has recognized Sooke Harbour House as Canada’s #2 best resort for 2012, and on its list as one of the World’s Best Hotels and Resorts. This recognition comes with a ‘budget’ annotation signifying that the resort offers rooms under $250. Vancouver Island was selected as their best island travel destination.”

In a previous edition, Travel and Leisure Magazine described the 28-room Sooke Harbour House as a “charming clapboard inn overlooking a dramatic Pacific beach and the Olympic Mountains, 45 minutes from Victoria.” The cutting edge, as stated in the T+L 500, is the “inventive Pacific Northwest cuisine that has made this a legendary food and wine destination.” Two of the highlights mentioned were “bald eagle-spotting on the nearby protected Whiffen Spit” and the “Blue Heron Room, for its large balcony and panoramic ocean views.”

You may remember that I profiled Sinclair and Frederique in “Pacific Northwest Wining and Dining: The People, Places, Food, and Drink of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia,” and included their recipe for Coriander-Crusted Albacore Tuna with Spicy Buckwheat Noodle Salad in the book.

Sooke Harbour House also took home two awards at Taste: Victoria’s Festival of Food and Wine. The Best Showcase of Island Wines award recognizes the wine list that best showcases the wines of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. It has a diversity of producers, styles, and price points – and innovative pairing with the restaurant’s menu.

Sooke also won for Best Overall Wine Program thanks to its wine list, which “offers a fabulous selection of quality producers that complements the menu in price, size, and style. The wine program is innovative and promotes wine knowledge and appreciation through by-the-glass offerings, seasonal features, and special tastings and events.”

Congratulations to the Philips on all these coveted awards.

Isn’t it time we all planned a trip to our neighbor to the north (British Columbia and Vancouver Island) and, specifically, Sooke Harbour House?

Willamette Valley Paella Party and Gazpacho Recipe!

August 10, 2012


Our friends Penny and Will Durant, owners of Red Ridge Farms, Oregon Olive Mill, and Durant Vineyards in the Willamette Valley, are planning an after-hours paella party on Sunday, August 19, that promises to be an extraordinary event.

You may remember the Durants, who were profiled in my seventh book, “Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining: The People, Places, Food, and Drink of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia.” Their products have also been featured in Food & Wine magazine, O magazine, and EveryDay with Rachael Ray.

And who could forget the tasty recipe they submitted for my book, Garden-Fresh Gazpacho with Garlic Croutons, that would be perfect to make this time of the year?

During the couple’s first-ever paella party, which takes place on August 19, from 5 to 8 p.m., guests will enjoy authentic Spanish tapas and traditional paella prepared onsite by chef Scott Ketterman of Crown Paella.

Founded in the fall of 2011 by husband and wife team Scott and Emily Ketterman, Crown Paella is an event company focused on traditional Spanish cooking that specializes in giant paella and tapas. Ketterman will prepare a lively outdoor meal on special cookware imported from Spain and utilize fresh, local ingredients including Oregon Olive Mill’s Arebequina olive oil.

Guests can wander through the extensive Red Ridge gardens and take in valley views from the new tasting room as they nibble on tapas and paella.

For dessert, guests will enjoy Salt & Straw’s Arbequina Olive Oil ice cream made with Oregon Olive Mill olive oil, which was featured in the April issue of O Magazine as one of their favorite new ice creams.

Durant Vineyards Estate Wines will be available for purchase by the bottle or glass.

Tickets are $35 per person or $30 for Red Ridge club members. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (503) 864-8502.

On the menu:


Blistered Padrón Peppers with Oregon Olive Mill Arbequina Olive Oil and Sea Salt

Heirloom Tomato Tarta with Moroccan Olives, Basil, and Manchego

Lamb Meatballs in Romesco


Crown Royale Paella: Rabbit, Mussels, Clams, Prawns, Chorizo, Saffron, Piquillo Peppers, and Sofrito

Verdura Paella: Artichoke Hearts, Sweet Peppers, Foraged Mushrooms, Green Beans, Saffron, Garrafón Beans, Sofrito, and Fresh Herbs

Vino (Durant Vineyards Estate Wines)

2011 Pinot Gris $6/ glass $18/ bottle

2010 Chardonnay $7/ glass $25/ bottle

2009 Pinot Noir $9/ glass $28-$35/bottle

El Postre (Dessert)

Salt & Straw’s Arbequina Olive Oil Ice Cream: As the ice cream melts and the rich and spicy Arbequina Olive Oil settles on the palate, the spiciness of the oil, sweetness of the cream and faint hints of salt all contribute to a complex flavor experience.


Historic Yakima Valley B&B for Sale

July 20, 2012

A Touch of Europe Bed & Breakfast and Fine Dining Establishment in the Yakima Valley 

Ever dreamed of owning and operating a bed-and-breakfast inn?

Our friends Erika and Jim Cenci are approaching retirement. And just last week they sent me an email with details of their gorgeous property–an historic bed-and-breakfast inn and restaurant located in the heart of downtown Yakima’s Mansion District–that they have put up for sale.

You may remember the Cencis, as they are prominently featured in my book, “Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining: The People, Places, Food, and Drink of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia.” (PNWD).

I adored Erika’s recipe for Chilled Yellow Watermelon Soup with Dungeness Crab and Watercress Coulis when I dined at the inn while doing research for PNWD, and reprinted in in my book.

And I enjoyed writing a profile of A Touch of Europe Bed & Breakfast and Fine Dining Establishment. This property dates back to 1889, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Erika and Jim have operated the property since 1995.

In their email, they said, “It is hard to believe that we now have entered our 18th year as a successful B&B in Yakima. And, with our ages nearing 75, it verifies that time really does fly by quickly. So now we’re looking forward to moving on, perhaps to Arizona.”

The Cencis will continue to operate their business as usual until they find a suitable buyer. The buyer can purchase it for use in the following three ways: as a turn-key, active, fully furnished/equipped-throughout bed-and-breakfast inn; as a vacation rental; or as an unfurnished residence (some furnishings could possibly stay if sold as a residence).

If this sounds like your dream come true, please contact the Cencis for further information and/or a tour of the property at:

1-509-454-9775/888-438-7073 or

Yakima Valley Summer Vineyard Tour Series

July 3, 2012

Winegrower Hugh Shiels of DuBrul Vineyard/Côte Bonneville winery

Red Willow, DuBrul, Upland, Boushey are the names of some of the best vineyards in the entire state of Washington, rarely visited by anyone other then winery owners and vineyard managers.

But beginning on July 7, and running every Saturday thereafter throughout the month of July, Wine Yakima Valley pulls back the veil to reveal the inner workings of these magnificent grape-growing areas.

The Vineyard Tour Series gives consumers insider access to some of the best grape growers in the state through wine tastings, light hors d’oeuvres, a grower education tour, and breathtaking views of the Yakima Valley.

Tickets are available online, and, for just $75 per person, this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet the growers and learn about the vineyards up close and personal.

Photo courtesy of Wine Yakima Valley
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