The results are in, and Willamette Valley wineries made an impressive showing at the prestigious TEXSOM International Wine Awards inFebruary at the Grapevine Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas. Twelve gold awards went to Willamette Valley wines. In the Judges’ Selection category were Cristom’s 2015 Eileen Vineyard Pinot Noir, Johan’s 2014 Visdom Chardonnay, and Apolloni’s 2016 Pinot Gris, which also won gold for Best Value. Ponzi received a gold Judges’ Selection nomination for their 2015 Pinot Noir Classico.
A total of 149 Oregon wineries placed with gold, silver or bronze awards, 110 of them Willamette Valley AVA or one of its sub-appellations. View the full results here.
“TEXSOM IWA judges results have confirmed Oregon’s great reputation for quality Pinot noir from the Willamette Valley while identifying the quality among the nested AVAs,” says Bree Boskov, MW, consulting education manager to the Oregon Wine Board and a TEXSOM judge. “To the surprise and excitement of the judges and sommeliers was the increasing affinity the Willamette Valley is showing for Chardonnay and some lesser known white varieties like Gruner Veltliner.”
Established in 2005, the TEXSOM conference draws over 1,100 attendees, comprising sommeliers, buyers, and other beverage professionals. It acquired the International Wine Awards, one of the largest and most distinguished wine competitions in the country, in 2014.
“We were excited and surprised at the TEXSOM results, getting the Judges’ Selection especially,” says Alfredo Apolloni, whose 2016 Pinot Gris received gold for both Judges’ Selection and Judges’ Selection: Best Value. Apolloni’s Dolce Vino Viognier also took home a bronze award. He notes that in the sommelier competition segment of TEXSOM, two of the winning somms in recent years have been Oregon Pinot Camp alums, Rachel DelRocco and Andreas Blanco. “The relationship between Oregon and Texas continues to grow; TEXSOM’s support and recognition of the Willamette Valley is an example of that, and it makes us all very excited.”
By Julia Burke
Julia Burke is a wine lover originally from Buffalo, New York, who moved to Oregon in August 2017 to work a harvest and decided to stay. She is the Willamette Valley Wineries Association’s marketing and content coordinator and a fan of Riesling, peanut butter, and the Chicago Cubs.
December Events Preview
December Events Preview
Willamette Valley wine country serves up an idyllic remedy for winter’s persistent chill. Wineries welcome guests with the warmest brand of hospitality, in the form of thawing fireplaces, convivial service and an exceptionally intimate atmosphere only the winter months can provide.
Far away from the tour buses and highway gridlock of the busy summer season, December in wine country spells cozy winemaker’s dinners, uncluttered tasting rooms and a certain peacefulness—one brought on not only by having the most recent vintage put to barrel, but by the company of snow-dusted foothills that bookend the Valley.
With the holiday stretch in full swing, it’s is also the perfect time to stock the cellar in preparation for memorable meals and end-of-the-year soirees. If you’ve yet to make it out to Wine Enthusiast’s reigning Wine Region of the Year, December offers an unparalleled accessibility to both the Valley’s world renowned wines and the colorful characters who produce them.
The transition to winter means hearty fare in restaurants throughout the Valley. Enjoy an earthy, lasting meal at Joel Palmer House or head to the Back Room at Nick’s for outstanding from-scratch pasta and a game of pool. Regional options like La Rambla in McMinnville counter chilly days with spicy, herbaceous offerings and pure comfort food from the likes of Gem Creole Saloon and Valley Commissary are all the more delectable during December.
Those hungry for genuine northwest cuisine will find no shortage of options during this spell, especially fans of seasonal seafood like shellfish and world-class pacific northwest salmon. The ever-growing Willamette Valley culinary scene continues to raise the epicurean bar and define what it means to experience every sense of wine country.
Extend the cozy nature of your Willamette Valley adventure with a night or two at any number of the region’s charming B&Bs or inviting hotels. Hole up in a historic property like Hotel Oregon, exploring its bars and restaurants in between strolls along McMinnville’s fetching Third Street.
Call a vintage Airstream trailer home for a long weekend, set within striking distance of countless wineries and tasting rooms. Or, head for the hills and live like a grapegrower among the vines in bucolic working estates like Youngberg Hill and the Black Walnut Inn. Unwind in the ultra-unhurried environment that is December in wine country. With winter rates in full swing, do yourself a favor and add another day to your fulfilling stay.
Central Valley winery Eola Hills embraces the holiday spirit with a Monday night movie series. Hibernate the wine country way with a relaxing film and a glass of estate wine in hand. Tonight’s screening is The Grinch. Details…
Rollin Soles is synonymous with Willamette Valley sparkling wine. The longtime Argyle winemaker has a relatively new label to boot in Roco and nothing toasts the holiday season quite like well made bubbly. Discover how appetizers can enhance Soles’ award-winning RMS Sparkling Wine and depart with a recipe. Details…
Esteemed Amity label Brooks Winery hosts a gathering devoted to the sometimes intimidating concept of wine pairing. Winery chef Abbey McManigle leads an approachable introductory course on the subject, one you get to eat and drink. It’s time to take your holiday food menus to the next level. Details…
Pinot Noir is one of the most expressive wines on the planet and a great way to experience that is via vertical tastings. Micro-producer Fullerton Wines walks guests through four vintages spanning 2012-2015, showcasing the uniqueness of each and how each distinctive growing season shaped the resulting wines. Details…
Throughout the last two months of the year, participating WVWA wineries and tasting rooms will partner with the Oregon Food Bank network to combat hunger. Select labels and venues will accept donations with the aim of granting 75,000 meals to those in need. Make your day in wine country all the more rewarding by helping the very community that helps make it possible. Details…