Announcing….Winery and Chef Pairings for Winemaker Dinners

The Winemaker Dinners held on Thursday, July 20 represent the opportunity to enjoy wine and food in a whole different way as part of the Cork & Barrel event series. With winemakers and principals present at each dinner and on-hand to talk, in-depth, about the wonderful world of wine, the Winemaker Dinners are fantastic for the wine connoisseur in Central Oregon.

We have four, very special Winemaker Dinners on the books for the Cork & Barrel 2017 fundraising series. All Winemaker Dinners will be held concurrently on Thursday, July 20 from 6–8 PM.

Announcing….Winery and Chef Pairings for Winemaker Dinners
Announcing….Winery and Chef Pairings for Winemaker Dinners
Announcing….Winery and Chef Pairings for Winemaker Dinners
Announcing….Winery and Chef Pairings for Winemaker Dinners

Phelps Creek Vineyards at 5 Fusion restaurant in downtown Bend

Nestled in the heart of the Columbia Gorge, a visit to Phelps Creek Vineyards affords sweeping views of Mt. Hood as well as tastes of premium, hand-crafted wines made from the winery’s 30 acres of vineyards. The Hood River area was named a Top 10 Wine Country Destination by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, recently, and we are over-the-moon-excited to taste the award-winning wines produced by the fourth-generation, Burgundian winemaker who is Phelps Creek’s winemaker. Owner, Bob Morus will be at this Winemaker Dinner and looks forward to sharing his passion for the Columbia Gorge and producing food-friendly wines that are reflective of their terroir.

5 Fusion restaurant is a long-standing supporter of KIDS Center and the annual Cork & Barrel fundraising series of events. Their fresh and innovative menu focused on asian-fusion and sushi, will pair extraordinarily well with the breadth and depth of wines from Phelps Creek Vineyards, who produces Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Viognier, and Chardonnay.

Doubleback, Caprio Cellars & Va Piano Vineyards at Sparrow Bakery in NW Crossing with Guest Chef, OJ Robinson of the Benson Hotel in Portland

Good things come in threes. In the case of this over-the-top Winemaker Dinner, AWESOME things come in threes. This powerhouse trio of wineries from Walla Walla have generously teamed up on a Winemaker Dinner that will be sure to knock the socks off all attendees. Doubleback is the vision of Bend local, Drew Bledsoe, a retired NFL Quarterback who grew up in Walla Walla and has a big love for wine AND philanthropy. His inaugural release of Cabernet in 2008 received 94 points by Wine Spectator! Caprio Cellars, also owned by a Bend resident, Dennis Murphy, is on the move with a new tasting room in the works in Walla Walla and continued success with his estate Cabernet Sauvignon production. Va Piano Vineyards owner/winemaker, Justin Wylie, just opened a beautiful tasting room in the Old Mill District of Bend and will be on hand at the Winemaker Dinner to talk about how “Va Piano”, loosely translated, means “go slowly” and how this attitude permeates his wine production.

Chef OJ Robinson of the Benson Hotel is no stranger to Bend. He is returning to his home culinary roots for Cork & Barrel 2017 and we couldn’t be more pleased with his participation. OJ has family in Walla Walla and looks forward to creating a menu to complement the wines from all three wineries. The Sparrow Bakerylocation in NW Crossing is perfect for this Winemaker Dinner – not normally open for dinner, this Winemaker Dinner will truly be a private dinner and patrons will have the whole evening to themselves to mix and mingle with Doubleback, Caprio, Va Piano and Chef OJ.

Willamette Valley Vineyards & Adelsheim Vineyard at 10below restaurant in the Oxford Hotel in downtown Bend

Willamette Valley Vineyards and Adelsheim are teaming up on this Winemaker Dinner for a wine lover’s dream evening. Both wineries are steeped in Oregon wine history and with winemakers & principals from both at the table, the Willamette Valley wine aficionado will not be disappointed. Adelsheim is the first winery in the Chehalem Mountain AVA. The Adelsheims planted their first vinifera vineyards in 1972 and they released their first commercial vintage (1,300 cases) in 1978 and haven’t looked back, since. With a pioneering spirit and an eye on innovation and sustainability, we are honored to have Adelsheim participate in Cork & Barrel 2017.

Willamette Valley Vineyards is the only publicly owned winery in Oregon. As such, the winery answers to its shareholders and they have answered with top-notch wine, earning the title of “One of America’s Great Pinot Noir Producers” from Wine Enthusiast Magazine, as well as be lauded as having the best “Vineyard/Tasting Room Experience” by Sunset Magazine in 2016. We are jazzed to have WVV winemaker, Gabbi Prefontaine, at this dinner in July!

Chef Albert Hall of 10below restaurant in the Oxford Hotel has a rich history of creating fine dining fabulousness. We are thankful to Chef Albert for enthusiastically participating in this Winemaker Dinner as well as being a partner in a Sip of Cork & Barrel on Friday.

Woodward Canyon & Gramercy Cellars at Victorian Café with Guest Chef John Eisenhart of Nel Centro restaurant in Portland

Wow and wow! This Walla Walla duo will charm the pants off folks who love authentic people and lovingly made wines. Seattle Magazine named Gramercywinemaker, Brandon Moss, the “2016 Winemaker of the Year” and we welcome his Rhone-style wines (and perhaps a Cabernet!) at this very special dinner. Gramercy Cellars was founded by Master Sommelier, Greg Harrington, with the intent to focus on quality, integrity and sustainability.

Woodward Canyon was the second winery in the Walla Walla Valley and was instrumental in the creation of this region as an official AVA (American Viticultural Area). Along with their 41-acre Estate Vineyard (eponymously named Woodward Canyon Estate Vineyard), the owners source from other, premium vineyards like Champoux and Sagemoor – with a strong belief that wine starts in the vineyard, we look forward to tasting the historical wines from Woodward Canyon at this Winemaker Dinner.

Chef John Eisenhart of Nel Centro restaurant in Portland will be overseeing the culinary direction of this Winemaker Dinner. Housed in the performing arts district of Portland and in Hotel Modera, Nel Centro has generously agreed to be a restaurant partner in Cork & Barrel 2017. The brainchild of chef/restaurant entrepreneur, David Machado, Nel Centro restaurant offers the classic dishes of northern Italy and southeastern France – we can’t wait to taste what Chef John Eisenhart pairs with Woodward Canyon and Gramercy Cellars!

Owner John Nolan of the Victorian Café has offered to house this Winemaker Dinner at “the Vic” on the west side of Bend – as his cherished breakfast locale is not typically open for dinner, Winemaker Dinner participants at this dinner will have the restaurant all to themselves for this very special dinner. We plan to host this dinner on the patio at the Vic and in the inviting summertime environs that Bend offers.