Although the post-pandemic era has been rough for the return of popular Oregon beer festivals like the Oregon Brewers Festival and Bend Brewfest, the state’s wine industry is stepping up to fill the void, introducing and reprising a number of festivals dedicated to wine. This spring and summer, major wine events are having a moment, especially in May, which is Oregon Wine Month. In true Oregon fashion, the home-grown wines at these events will celebrate regionality and a sense of place as they’re showcased alongside exceptional food from local and visiting chefs.
Malbec in the City highlights an undersung wine varietal
The Argentine-by-way-of-France malbec grape is perhaps best known in its red wine incarnation, but it is also used to produce the lesser-seen white malbec and sparkling malbec. Argentinian-born winemaker Juan Pablo “JP” Valot of Valcan Cellars is celebrating malbec and its different expressions with the inaugural Malbec in the City event, which will offer an array of Oregon-produced malbec tastings and food pairings, plus tango dancing and live music. The event will take place on April 30 at Castaway Portland; tickets are available now and benefit the BIPOC wine community-focused nonprofit Our Legacy Harvested.
Durant begins its Dinner in the City series to help revitalize downtown Portland
In honor of its 50th anniversary, Willamette Valley winery Durant is starting a dinner series in Portland proper, with a focus on bringing people back to downtown Portland and the city at large. Dinner in the City will feature rotating chefs and other Willamette Valley winemakers throughout the rest of the year; the first sold-out dinner is Saturday, March 25, followed by a May 13 dinner at a yet-to-be-announced location with fellow winery Sokol Blosser. Keep an eye on Durant’s Instagram for more information.
Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Food and Wine Fest will have its inaugural event during AAPI Heritage Month
This year, Cho Wines co-founder Lois Cho founded Oregon AAPI Food + Wine, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting AAPI food and wine businesses and providing education around nontraditional food and wine pairings. The nonprofit’s first event will be a two-day food and wine festival featuring wineries like Evening Land and Shiba Wichern, with bites from AAPI-owned Portland restaurants including Baon Kainan, Matta, Toki, and Sunrice. The event will take place May 20 and 21 at the Stoller Family Estate Experience Center in Dayton.
Pink! Rosé Fest brings together Tualatin Valley wineries
Fans of drinking pink will be able to get their fill of rosé at the Pink! Rosé Festival, which is returning to Hillsboro’s Ron Tonkin Field for the second year. The event will showcase Tualatin Valley wineries exclusively, including Apolloni Vineyards, Helvetia Vineyards & Winery, Montinore Estate, and Rue Cler Wine. Tickets for the event, taking place on May 21, are available for general admission or VIP entry, which grants early access.
Okta will host world-class chefs for its Solstice in the Fields event
Chef Matthew Lightner’s McMinnville fine dining destination Okta will host a chef’s tasting dinner and a live-fire cooking event on June 24 and 25, respectively. The dinner will feature a pantheon of culinary luminaries who will prepare two courses each — Aitor Zabala (of Michelin-starred Somni, Los Angeles), Aisha Ibrahim (executive chef at Canlis, Seattle), Christopher Kostow (James Beard Award winner, chef at the three Michelin-starred The Restaurant at Meadowood, Napa Valley), Leandro Carriera (The Sea, The Sea, London), plus Lightner himself. The following day, local chefs such as Lauro Romero (Clandestino), Jason Barwikowski (Hiyu), Will Preisch (Abbey Road Farm), and more will showcase their cuisine through live-fire cooking while guests also enjoy wines from Bergstrom, Gran Moraine, Penner-Ash, and more at Okta’s farm. Tickets will be available on Friday, March 31.