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Taste. Learn. Celebrate.: Cascade Foothills Winegrowers hold showcase local wineries

Wine tasting and more
Cascade Foothills Winegrowers’
Taste. Learn. Celebrate.
Saturday, April 30, 1-5 p.m.
Mount Angel Festhalle, 500 Wilco Hwy.
Tickets: $10 per person at
Includes 10 wine tastes and an afternoon
of music and wine education.

By Kristine Thomas

Jan Wallinder can offer chardonnay, pinot noir, Leon Millot and dessert wines to visitors at Forest Edge Vineyard in Oregon City.

However, when a guest asks if she has a pinot gris, her answer is a  polite no, followed by sharing a list of local wineries that do make the white wine.

For Wallinder, the goal isn’t just to promote and sell her wine to her visitors. Instead, it is to work with the 15 wineries belonging to the Cascade Foothills Winegrowers Association to promote the family-grown, cool-climate wines of the Willamette Valley’s east side.

“I think people appreciate the fact we are working together and we share what other wineries are doing,” she said. “Our goal is to share our knowledge about wine and growing grapes with our guests in our region.”

To celebrate the kick-off of Oregon Wine Month in May and the associattion’s  new name, Cascade Foothills Winegrowers, the group is hosting “Learn. Taste. Celebrate” April 30, 1 to 5 p.m. at the Mount Angel Festhalle.

Members of the Cascade Foothills Winegrowers include Alexeli, Aurora Cellars, Christopher Bridge, Forest Edge, Hanson Vineyards, King’s Raven, Pheasant Run, Piluso Vineyards, Pudding River Wine Cellars, Silver Falls Vineyards, St. Josef’s Winery, Villa CatalanaCellars, Vitis Ridge, Whiskey Hill Winery and Wooden Shoe Vineyards.

To better reflect the region where they grow their grapes and make wine, Wallinder said the association changed its name from the East Willamette Winery Association to the Cascade Foothills Winegrowers. From Oregon City to the Silverton hills, the area has been home to some of Oregon’s wine pioneers including St. Josef’s (planted 1978), Alexeli (formerly Marquam Hill) and some of its notable newcomers – including Piluso Vineyard where Sandee Piluso, the first female graduate of the Chemeketa Wine Studies Program continues to make wines. With more than 1,500 acres of vines, this 30-year-old wine growing region provides grapes for many of Oregon’s most successful and talked about wines.

Wineries eager to share the their artisan winemaking, Wallinder said, and owners promote the region by sharing where to a hike, pick fresh fruit, eat or shop. A visit to Vitis Ridge in Silverton could lead to visiting Silver Falls State Park, The Oregon Garden, Mount Angel Abbey or historic downtown Silverton.

While each winery is unique in the wine offered and the architecture of the winery, Wallinder said what they all have in common is their genuine hospitality.

“When people visit a winery in the Cascade Foothills Winegrowers, they will be meeting with the farmers who grow the grapes and make the wine,” Wallinder said. “Each winery welcomes the opportunity to visit with guests and share what they know.

“We want to be seen as accessible and friendly. We are farmers doing quality work. We care about our land and we care about the experience each visitor has to our winery,” Wallinder said.

“Our hope is once people discover this area that they will want to come back.”

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