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Oregons wine industry depends on many for success

by: STAFF PHOTO: BARB RANDALL - Among the surprises at the variety of businesses involved in Oregons wine industry were Airstrike Bird Control, Inc., which offers falconry-based bird abatement services.

There are many reasons I am happy I live in Oregon, and I was reminded of a big one last week at the Oregon Wine Symposium. I expected the event would be about all things wine — but I was unprepared for all that entails. Certainly I expected to see vendors representing corks, bottles, labels and pruning equipment, but that was the tip of the iceberg.

Many industries and businesses are involved in supporting Oregon’s growing wine industry. It’s a big business, folks, and if you are wise you will find a way to get in it now.

Space doesn’t allow me to list the hundreds of vendors represented at the trade show and attending the symposium, but those I found particularly interesting include:

Have a problem in your vineyard with birds eating the grapes? Bring in a team of falcons to solve the issue. Airstrike Bird Control Inc. offers falconry-based bird abatement. I know several vineyards play recordings of birds of prey screeching to keep smaller birds out; I can only imagine this is even more effective.

Who are you going to call if you’ve got grapevine red blotch? Or to assess the true impacts of viruses, bacteria and fungi that can’t be detected by the human eye.

Yes, there are special laboratories that provide those services. And Oregon State University, Washington State University and Chemeketa Community College had representatives available to talk about their programs.

Need help with languages? Translation services were represented. It would be hard to figure out exactly what methods were used at that little winery in Burgundy if you don’t speak French, or elsewhere, Spanish or Portuguese, etc.

Of course the crushing and fermenting equipment vendors were present and vendors displaying tanks and barrels of all kinds. You could find businesses offering a mobile bottling service, composting systems and a thermal plant treatment technology, which is intended to improve wine quality.

Will you use screw caps or corks? What color and shape of glass do you want to bottle the wine in? Need help designing labels or foils? Need to store your wine, need help distributing it? How will you market your wine, create a wine club, fulfill orders and book wine tastings? Need help with social media? And who is going to teach your staff about wine in general, and about pouring responsibly in the tasting room or managing wine events?

There were vendors offering all those services and more, including specialized wine industry accounting and legal services.

What was most exciting was the entrepreneurial spirit of the group. Like a body needs a head, hands and heart, the wine industry isn’t complete without every one of these businesses, and the success of each business leads to success of the next. It’s a great circle of which to be part.

You, the consumer, can do your part by visiting Oregon tasting rooms and wineries. Mark your calendar for May — it’s Oregon Wine Month.

Last week was eventful. The evening after the symposium I had the pleasure of serving as a celebrity judge at the fifth annual Soup Smackdown for Youth Progress. Chef Michael Uhnak of Besaw’s, fondly referred to by his staff as Cheffy, and Cameron, a young man involved with the Youth Progress, brought this soup to the competition. It is sure to be a winner at your dinner table.

Bon Appétit! Make eating an adventure!

Elk Cheeseburger Soup

Makes about 15 servings

This recipe was created thoughtfully by chef Michael and Cameron for the fifth annual Soup Smackdown held in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Youth Progress.

2 pounds ground elk (OK to substitute another ground meat)

1 cup chopped celery

2 cups chopped onions

1 cup chopped carrots

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 cups white wine

2 quarts chicken stock

2 quarts heavy cream

1/4 pound butter

2 cups dice tomatoes

4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon cumin

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon pepper

Chopped chives

In a pan, sauté elk with celery, onion, carrots and garlic until vegetables are tender. Deglaze with white wine. Add chicken stock, heavy cream, butter, diced tomato. Bring soup to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Add cheddar, stir thoroughly until cheese is melted. Finish with cumin, salt, pepper. Garnish with freshly chopped chives.

Chef Michael and the Besaw’s Crew

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281 ext. 100 or by email at brandall@lakeoswegoreview.com. Follow her on Twitter @barbrandallfood.

By Barb Randall
Staff Reporter
503-636-1281 Ext 100
email: brandall@lakeoswegoreview.com
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