Annual wine festival gives opportunity for small labels to showcase wares

When the Indie Wine Festival in Portland lost its venue, Ryan Fish with Vista Hills Winery wanted to make sure there was still a place for smaller winemakers to showcase their wares.

“It kind of left a void,” Fish said of the loss of the popular event. “We started ours before they went out, but as soon as they stopped doing their annual wine festival we really saw the need to continue ours so there’s a place small wineries could go to be showcased.”

Now in its fourth year, the Uncom­mon Wine Festival continues to bring in new winemakers and give them an opportunity to pour.

“When I started in the wine industry five years ago it was really great to go around and taste the wines, but I really quickly realized a lot of other wines — you couldn’t go to tasting rooms and buy them directly and a lot were not even at stores, some by the glass at restaurants but that’s it,” Fish said. “One of the criteria we try to adhere to is have wineries or winemakers who don’t have a place to showcase their wine.”

This often means winemakers at larger wineries who have their own secondary label or a different wine than they work on at their day job are featured.

“It’s gotten a little bigger every year,” said Vista Hills Wine­maker Dave Pet­terson. “It’s really popular and we really en­joy doing it. It’s an odd event for a winery to put on because we’re not showing our own wines at all, but it’s really fun bringing in new people to our tasting room and really show off the interesting stuff going on in the valley.”

In addition to the seven producers featured at the Aug. 30 event, there will be a new food vendor as well.

“They’re a sweet couple who moved to Port­land recently and started a food cart in the Sellwood area,” Fish said of Ash Woodfired, an eatery based in Portland. “The pizzas are personal size, not large sized like most people doing that down here. They have a good brand, they just have a good sense of style and aesthetic and fits into what we’re doing as well because they are just brand new to Portland.”

Each year there are new wineries featured and Fish said at times the festival can be the exposure needed to expand the brand.

“Teutonic (Wine Company) is a great little brand in southeast Portland. That was a situation where they came at a time when they had very low production and were looking for some more exposure,” he said. “They have since achieved a level where they have a lot of wholesale action and are at a situation where they’ve almost outgrown the event and that’s good to see.”

The festival will take place from noon to 5 p.m. this year at Vista Hills’ Treehouse Tasting Room. Tickets are $30. For more information, visit

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