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Jul 22, 2013 06:45 AM

From The Oregonian newspaper: "Oregon wineries need to retain local authenticity"

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  1. Maybe when I'm not jet-lagged I will be able to discern the point this wine journalist is trying to make, but I doubt it.

    When investment comes in from outside your area, it should be taken as a compliment to the potential of the vineyards there.

    2 Replies
    1. re: collioure

      There are tons of provincial communities all over the world. Keeping things 'as they've always been' is really important to lots of people, and they find change unnecessary if not downright scary.

      I spent 8 years living in a wonderful city that lost having a presidential library because the city couldn't make up its mind if the traffic and development would harm the small-town atmosphere. The library committee reportedly gave up and built somewhere else.

      I don't know where you live, collioure, but this kind of thinking is not uncommon at all. It's just simple protectionism, although it can sometimes be very shortsighted. Just depends on your perspective I think.

      1. re: Midlife

        Thanks. OK, they're afraid of any change.

        I steer clear of people like that. <g>

    2. The "big guys" and the small family wineries coexist quite nicely in Napa Valley. Wonder why she's worried they won't in the Willamette Valley?

      6 Replies
      1. re: ChefJune

        I think the comment "No faux Tuscan villas" is the key here. The writer wants to retain an aesthetic that is particular to Oregon.

        1. re: pamf

          Maybe the writer needs to drop by Domaine Serene and get a new pair of glasses.

          1. re: bclevy

            Can't tell whether that is faux Tuscan or faux Spanish. :)

            How are their wines?

            I must admit that I have only visited only a few Willamette wineries while traveling between Portland and the Bay Area, not a dedicated wine trip. But I got the impression then that Willamette was gearing up to become a resort/tourist destination.

            In stark contrast to the southern Oregon wine regions that I have visited, Umpqua and Rogue River, where the tasting rooms are still in the barn and the winemaker is doing the pouring. Really enjoy that type of place.

            1. re: pamf

              Domain Serene's pinot noir, pinot gris and syrah are first rate but pricy, like their neighbor Domaine Drouhin. Archery Summit nearby has even more stratospheric prices.

              The bottom line is that the Willamette Valley has made it to the "bigs" of the US winemaking business (at least for pinot noir, pinot gris and cool climate syrah). They are no longer artisanal upstarts and with bigger recognition comes a more careful attention to image and marketing. Besides, every wine producing region of California used to be unpretentious and rustic at some point (Napa in the late 70s or early 80s was very different from now).

              1. re: bclevy

                I would also like to add that while certain California structures can be viewed as faux-something, they are
                often part of a branding strategy. For example the
                French chateau replica at Domaine Carneros is
                in fact fairly close in style to the Chateau de la Marquetterie, the home of the Taittinger family
                in Champagne (Taittinger owns Domaine Carneros).
                So the Domaine Carneros replica is really a branding
                strategy to suggest a continuity between the French
                and US sides of the business (not sure that it is really
                present in the actual sparking wines, except for the
                rather expensive $100/btl Le Reve Blanc de Blancs).

                1. re: bclevy

                  Sometimes it's branding strategy . . . sometimes it's merely ego.

      2. Well.............. we ARE talking about Oregon. Back in the '70s and '80's they had an unofficial organization there called the John Blaine Society [ ] whose purpose was to discourage people from moving there. I remember a billboard that said something like: Enjoy Your Vacation Here...... Then Go Home!.

        1. i think you've all made valid points and comments.

          Change / unknown is a major factor in rural development in our area.

          that said - non-mass (ie sustainable) tourism is in part, about authenticity of experience - if tourism is a reason to encourage wineries - which I imagine it is.

          in British Columbia - our tiny little wine region in Okanagan VAlley (up hiway 97) - they have ripped out beautiful traditional (for over 100 yrs) soft fruit and apple growing orchards in favour of "lifestyle" vineyards

          and also some vineyards have arisen out of the semi-desert (no prev agri-biz cultivation) - a first nations (tribal in US?) business etc - in Osoyoos BC is an example - which is not really fair comparison as that is their land.

          we have every bit of architecture from Santa Fe (or is that Santa Faux when it's in Canada) to former small-farm sheds with stylish new paint and some timber-frame trellis upgrades over the new tasting / lunch patio.

          it's an interesting evolution.