A New Era for U.S. Wine-Labeling Laws

SevenFifty Daily – November 26, 2018

Recent disputes find winemakers and legislators reconsidering America’s laissez-faire attitude toward veracity in wine labeling.  Read full article.

Record-Breaking ¡Salud! Auction Raises More Than $1 Million

¡Salud! – November 14, 2018

The 27th ¡Salud! auction season raised a record-breaking $1 million to provide healthcare and outreach to vineyard workers and their families. Read full article.

Wine Spectator: Oregon’s Pinot Nouveau

WINE SPECTATOR – October 23, 2018

The next wave of Willamette Valley Pinot noir stars includes nascent projects from industry vets and an artistic up-and-comer. Read full article.

Sandhill Cranes in Wine Country

THANKSGIVING 2018 – October 29, 2018

Our longtime Wine Country Thanksgiving artist, Portland-based John Fisher, took his inspiration for this year’s cover art from a somewhat unexpected bird: the Sandhill Crane. Read full article

Sandhill Cranes in Wine Country

Sandhill Cranes in Wine Country

Our longtime Wine Country Thanksgiving artist, Portland-based John Fisher, took his inspiration for this year’s cover art from a somewhat unexpected bird: the Sandhill Crane. 

“Distinctive, rare and elegant,” in Fisher’s words, the Sandhill Crane has several subspecies. Flocks of Canadian Sandhill Cranes migrate from the wilderness coasts of Southeast Alaska and British Columbia, where they breed, to points all over the Columbia River, and travel through the Willamette Valley on their way to California wintering areas. These tall, majestic birds have a brilliant red crown that stands out as starkly against their grey plumage as our Valley’s brilliant fall foliage sets off the season’s ever-present charcoal skies and soft rain. 

Impressive to behold in flight, Sandhill Cranes migrate in groups of thousands at a time, flying quite high in the skies and traveling up to 35 miles per hour; a total of approximately 50,000 Sandhill Cranes breed, migrate and winter in the Pacific Flyway. Those that winter in the Willamette Valley do so in relatively small flocks. Sauvie Island Wildlife Area, an island at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers just north of Portland, is a favorite autumn haunt for Canadian Sandhills. Sandhill Crane families remain together through their migration and winter for nine to ten months, and communicate to their flock with a distinctive, rattling “karoo” call.



To learn more, check out this Pacific Flyway map and this summary of ICF’s North American Sandhill Crane Program, which includes the work of crane expert Gary Ivey, Ph.D. To donate to his program, visit ICF’s donation page (under “designation” select “other” and type “Pacific Flyway Project”).


Recipe: Moroccan Chickpeas with Chard (Boedecker Cellars)

Harvest Recipes


 Boedecker Cellars – “Moroccan Chickpeas with Chard”

It used to be that a hearty beef stew, spaghetti and meatballs and Halloween candy were all we ate at Harvest. But health awareness and dietary restrictions have changed our outlook and I started providing the crew hard boiled eggs (plus donuts) and healthy, flavorful dishes vegetarian that keep everyone’s energy up so we can work with smiles during the long days and nights of harvest.

Pair this with a crisp white: Boedecker Cellars Pinot blanc or Chardonnay.


Moroccan Chickpeas with Chard

Servings 6


  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Spanish onions chopped
  • 1 large jalapeño pepper seeded if desired, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger root
  • 2 1/2 tsp kosher salt to taste
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 bulb fennel diced (save fronds for garnish)
  • 1 large bunch swiss chard stems sliced 1/2-inch thick, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 carrots peeled and diced
  • 1 turnip peeled and diced
  • 1 lb dried chickpeas soaked overnight in water to cover or quick-soaked (see note)
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots diced
  • 2 tbsp chopped preserved lemon to taste
  • 1/2 cup cilantro chopped (more for garnish)


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. Add onion and jalapeño and sauté until limp, 3 minutes. 

  2. Add garlic, ginger, salt, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, cumin, black pepper and cayenne and sauté until they release their fragrance, about 2 minutes. 

  3. Add tomato paste and sauté for another minute, until darkened but not burned. (If tomato paste looks too dark too quickly, lower heat.) Add fennel, chard stems, carrot and turnip and continue to sauté until vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes.

  4.  Add chickpeas and water to barely cover. Return heat to high if you lowered it and bring to a simmer. Partly cover pot, lower heat to medium low, and simmer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until chickpeas are softened. Add more water if needed (this should be like a stew). 

  5. Add chard leaves, apricots and preserved lemon to pot and continue simmering until chard is tender, about 5 minutes longer. 

  6. Season with more salt if desired, and serve garnished with cilantro and reserved fennel fronds. 

    Note: To quick-soak chickpeas, bring them to a boil in water to cover by 1 inch. Turn off the heat and let soak for 1 hour. Drain.

Wine Enthusiast: Eugene, Oregon, Is For Wine Lovers

WINE ENTHUSIAST – October 18, 2018

Oregon’s Emerald City is the perfect base to explore the southern half of the Willamette Valley and taste some of the region’s smaller producers. Read full article.

How To Make An AVA

How to Make An AVA

With discussion aplenty in the Willamette Valley surrounding labeling, AVAs (American Viticultural Areas), and proposed legislation on the horizon, it’s understandable for consumers and members of the trade to have questions about the process of petitioning and finalizing a new appellation in the United States.

For starters, a few definitions:

Under the TTB regulations, an AVA is a defined grape-growing region having certain distinguishing features that they describe here. An AVA is meant to provide the public with accurate information about a wine’s origin.

A petition is a written request for rulemaking to establish a new AVA or to modify an existing AVA, signed by the petitioner or an authorized agent of the petitioner, and submitted in accordance with the TTB regulations. Petitions need to include information such as an explanation of the historical significance of a proposed name and boundaries; evidence of characteristics that distinguish the proposed area from the area around it from a viticultural perspective; and a detailed map of the proposed AVA (see the TTB’s guide to proposing an AVA here). Any individual may submit a petition.

A perfected petition is a petition that meets all the requirements of the TTB and contains sufficient evidence for the TTB to decide whether to proceed with rulemaking to establish a new AVA or change an existing AVA. A list of current perfected petitions, including four in Oregon, can be found here.

An NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking) is a narrative document that describes the proposed AVA or proposed change to an AVA according to its petition, and invites the public to comment on it.

Five of the Oregon petitions currently in the TTB’s pipeline would be sub-AVAs—that is, they would fall within the existing boundaries of another AVA, the Willamette Valley. When a new sub-AVA is petitioned, in addition to meeting all new AVA requirements the petitioner must also explain how the proposed AVA is consistent with the existing larger AVA (if it isn’t, that would potentially argue for the larger AVA to be modified to exclude this area) but sufficiently distinct to justify creating a new sub-AVA.

The process of petitioning for a new AVA often takes several years from start to finish. Here is a timeline of every step.


Step 1

A petitioner submits a petition to the AVA section of the TTB’s Regulations and Rulings Division.


Step 2

The TTB performs an initial review of the petition to determine whether it is perfected (whether it contains all required information such as name history, distinguishing features, a boundary description, and USGS maps).

If the petition is missing any of these elements, TTB will return it for correction.


Step 3

After a petition is perfected, the TTB will further review the petition to determine whether to proceed with drafting a notice of proposed rulemaking (see Step 4), or not. If TTB decides not to proceed, they provide the petitioner with their reasoning and the petitioner has the opportunity to  submit a revised petition.


Currently at this stage: Tualatin Hills, Laurelwood, Lower Long Tom, and Mt. Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon (view them here)


Step 4

The TTB drafts a NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking), which is a narrative document that describes the proposed AVA or proposed change to an AVA and invites the public to comment on it for a period that normally lasts 60 days. The NPRM is reviewed and approved within TTB, then published in the Federal Register. View notices open for comment here.


Step 5

After the close of the public comment period (normally 60 days after publication), the TTB reviews the petition in the light of the comments received.


Currently at this stage: Van Duzer Corridor


Step 6

If comments raise significant concern regarding the proposed AVA, the TTB will take those comments into consideration when deciding whether to proceed to a final rule. If the comments raise relevant new issues that are appropriate for public comment, TTB may also decide to reopen the comment period.


Step 7

Four outcomes are possible based on the reassessment of the proposal. The TTB may:

(1) Prepare a final rule document that adopts the proposed AVA, with or without changes to it. This document requires the review and approval of TTB and Treasury officials. If the final rule receives all necessary approvals, the document will be published in the Federal Register.

(2) Publish a notice in the Federal Register withdrawing the proposal and explaining the reasons for the withdrawal.

(3) Publish a new NPRM in the Federal Register requesting public comment on a modified AVA proposal.

(4) Any other action that TTB deems appropriate, including reopening the public comment period for additional public review of and comments on the proposal.


To learn more about the TTB and the process of petitioning a new AVA, consult the AVA page on their website.

Map image by Oregon Wine Press.