Pioneer of the Oregon Wine Industry to Visit Oklahoma During “Thirst For a Cause”

An unforgettable wine tasting event benefiting the employees of Oklahoma’s restaurant industry with urgent medical expenses

Feeling a little thirsty, are ya? Well, have we got the wine tasting event for you! From Thirst Wine Merchants and the Oklahoma Hospitality Foundation comes this 9th annual wine event,  “Thirst For A Cause”, with proceeds going to help those members of the Oklahoma hospitality industry confronted with urgent medical expenses. If you know anything about the Oklahoma restaurant industry, you know that this is much needed.

The event will be held on Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 at the Jim Thorpe Museum at 4040 N Lincoln in Oklahoma City. Forty-three wineries will be present pouring over 200 wines along with twelve local restaurants showcasing their unique fare. Tickets can be purchased in advance on-line for $75 or at the door for $89.

Many big names in the wine industry will be present, both from restaurants and wineries, and the one that we want to focus on here is Adelsheim Vineyards, located in the Chehalem Mountains of the Willamette Valley. Two of The Traveling Winers, Elizabeth & Miki, had the great fortune of visiting the Oregon area this past May and, more specifically, had the opportunity to visit Adelsheim Vineyards and sit down with David Adelsheim, a pioneer in the Oregon wine industry.

David and Ginny Adelsheim began their “little venture” back in 1971 and have been going strong ever since. As one of the original ten wine making families at the time when the wine industry in Oregon was a complete unknown, today the name Adelsheim commands a lot of respect; and when future directions of the Oregon wine industry are discussed along with this name, people listen.

The Future Direction for Adelheim
(and maybe for the Oregon Wine industry)

While the news is already on their website, we felt very fortunate to have had the personal discussion with David himself and heard in his own words the reason & commitment to Adelsheim’s new brand direction: Focusing on just 2 estate varietals.

Over the years, the winery’s direction has been to make wines from their own fruit in addition to fruit they sourced from other vineyards, whether in the Willamette Valley or elsewhere in Oregon. Their new brand direction changes all of this. The future of Adelsheim Vineyards, according to David, is in producing a product that is unique and set apart from others. And this is possible in the Willamette Valley. As David explains:

Willamette Valley is not a monolithic place… there are grapes grown in different places and each place has a somewhat different story [soil], one that is easily seen when tasting the wine. Adelsheim as a winery, as is the model of a lot of the founders, took advantage of other people growing grapes. You buy them and they are spread out throughout the North Willamette Valley. This is how it was back in the beginning and for the last 15 years, making wine from the North Willamette Valley. But in the last 3 years, we came to realize that that story is being told by everybody. It is a common story, a great story, but it isn’t uniquely “our story”. The story that we can tell people in the next 5-10 years going forward is the story of Chehalem Mountains, not the more general story of the Willamette Valley. So, in fact, we are doing a lot of refocusing our brand and giving up buying grapes from other places and really focusing on our estate and the Chehalem Mountains.

And, as if this major change wasn’t enough, David and his team are taking it one step further. They are changing the playing field with regard to their opinion of what should be grown in this part of Oregon, or at least in their own vineyards. David announces:

Two years ago we were making wine from 6 varieties. Going forward from this year we will be making wine from only 2 varieties, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. This decision was a longtime discussion. We could envision it as a Burgundy model if you will. A model that has to do with the imprint of the brand, of the vineyards and the winemaking on what we do. But ultimately we had to show my co-owners and staff that this actually made us a more profitable company, and a more rational company, and a company that was much easier to explain. Once upon a time, we had 6 varietals and we were making wine from all over the Willamette Valley. Well, that elevator speech better have been in a really tall building. The speech now is Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, the Chehalem Mountains, Estate. That’s it.

So, there you have it. A change is in the air for Adelsheim Vineyards.

 

A change to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, the Chehalem Mountains, Estate. That’s it.

 

We look forward to shaking David’s hand again. Come on out yourself to “Thirst For A Cause” and meet this Oregon legend.

 

 

 

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