Kelsey heads to Oregon for Pinot Camp!
Saratoga is fortunate to have Kelsey Whalen running our wine and spirits store at Healthy Living and Cafe. Those who know wine, know that Kelsey has the experience and knowledge that makes her the go-to wine pro when you want help choosing wine. Healthy Living believes education, great service, and genuine hospitality go hand-in-hand, and with that in mind, we sent Kelsey to Oregon Pinot Camp. What happens at Pinot Camp? The first two days of OPC include workshops, tastings, and dinners to immerse the group in the Oregon wine experience and give them the opportunity to interact with winemakers and principals from all 52 participating wineries. On the third day, OPC wineries plan special events for smaller groups of campers that tie together what they’ve learned. We’re confident Kelsey will be better prepared than ever to make your wine experience terrific!
Attending Pinot Camp
Oregon Pinot Camp is an annual gathering of winemakers, grape growers, winery owners and industry professionals. Biology and geology seminars, terroir focused tastings and pairing dinners featuring wines pulled from the personal cellars of some of the most well respected vintners in the world are just a few of the many highlights of Pinot Camp. As a trade-only, invitation-only event, the three days provide a personal and inspiring in depth look inside the history and foundation of Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
This world class wine region is a tight knit community of growers and vintners whose relationships define the spirit of the region and the style of the winemaking. They are pioneers with deep rooted family heritages and friendships that span decades, coupled with a commitment to sustainable growing practices. One local winemaker said it best, “we are part of the terroir, we help each other.”
In a region where organic and biodynamic growing practices are used more often than not, the wines express an exceptional level of purity and quality. A leading example of artisan winemaking, over 70% of Willamette wineries produce less than 5,000 cases per year with higher percentages of organic growing practices and stricter labeling regulations than most other regions. Many of the wineries are Certified B Corporation, Deep Roots Coalition, Live Certified Sustainable, Demeter Certified Biodynamic, Salmon Safe, USDA Organic or Oregon Tilth – all entities with missions driven to improve environmental or social welfare.
It was discovered early on that the Willamette Valley showed many climatic similarities to the Burgundy region in France. This led several Burgundian winemakers to plant their roots in Oregon and created an unique crossover between Old World and New World winemaking styles. Nicolas-Jay is a prime example as a collaborative effort between oenophile/music executive Jay Boberg, acclaimed Burgundian winemaker Jean-Nicolas Méo and the inspired associate winemaker Tracy Kendall. They rightfully describe their wines as “alluring” and “expressive” with a heavy focus on paying tribute to the region and specific vineyards where they’re sourcing their fruits.
Some other personal favorites from Pinot Camp were the wide variety of wines from Owen Roe, produced with hand harvested grapes and minimal processing, Eyrie Vineyards, the very first family to plant grapes in the region and Domaine Drouhin, another prime example of Burgundian winemaking influence in the Willamette Valley.
A truly once-in-a-life time experience, you’ll be sure to find many more Oregon wines on our shelves and in my own personal wine glass.
-Kelsey Latham, Healthy Living’s Wine & Beer Buyer
Featured Oregon Wines:
Owen Roe 2017 Sharecroppers Pinot Noir ($15.99)
Owen Roe 2017 Pinot Gris (20.99)
Nicolas Jay 2016 Willamette Pinot Noir ($62.99), 94 Points – Wine Spectator
Eyrie Vineyards 2015 ($34.99) Willamette Pinot Noir, 92 Points – James Suckling
Domaine Drouhin 2015 Roserock Pinot Noir ($33.99), 92 Points – Wine Advocate