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Unique Willamette Valley tour includes transporation, tastings, solar enegy talks and unbeatable views

COURTESY: SOLAR OREGON - Stoller Family Estate is one of the wineries on the May 6 Solar Oregon tour. It makes sense that grapevines need sunlight to thrive, but did you know that many Oregon wineries also rely on the sun for power?

Solar Oregon, a Portland nonprofit that advocates for clean energy statewide, will lead its annual springtime Solar Winery Tour on Sunday, May 6, to give visitors a look at the wineries' solar-powered systems and discuss the role of solar energy in wine-making.

The daylong tour is $100 for nonmembers of Solar Oregon, and includes transportation by electric vehicle caravan to six solar-powered wineries with a flight of three wines at each, lunch, and a panel discussion on solar energy policy.

Some of the wineries include:

• At Ponzi Winery in Sherwood, all 130 acres of the family-owned vineyards are LIVE Certified Sustainable — the world's highest standard for sustainable viticulture and enology. The winery's 10kW Solarworld modules operate as a feed-in tariff system.

COURTESY: SOLAR OREGON - Lenne Estate Winery is another solar-powered winery visitors can explore on this unique Willamette Valley tour. Stoller Family Estate in Dayton is one of the founding wineries of the Carbon Neutral Challenge, LIVE certified, Salmon Safe certified, and the first in the world to be LEED Gold certified. As part of its LEED certification, the winery has integrated gravity-flow winemaking techniques, energy-efficient heating and cooling and wastewater reclamation to reduce our environmental footprint. Stoller was the first Pacific Northwest winery to produce solar energy. Its 46 kW solar electric system, located on the main south-facing roofs, generates about half of the winery's electrical needs.

Lenne Estate Winery in Yamhill takes a minimal approach, using primarily organic sprays in the vineyard and does not irrigate, using gravity instead on the steep south-facing slope with poor soil. The winery is pursuing LIVE certification, and in the meantime uses a 5kW solar module installation that powers the tasting room.

• At J. Christopher Wines in Newberg, the building operates 100-percent on solar panels installed on the roof of the barrel cellar. The 10kW Solarworld modules have given the winery a credit every month since they began producing wine in 2010.

For tickets to the Solar Oregon tour, and more information: http://solaroregon.org

@jenmomanderson

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