By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

It’s a classic

News-Register file photoSip! has become a signature event in Yamhill County wine country. The McMinnville Wine and Food Classic is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
News-Register file photo
Sip! has become a signature event in Yamhill County wine country. The McMinnville Wine and Food Classic is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

The Sip! McMinnville Food and Wine Classic will celebrate its 20th anniversary this weekend with more than 160 food, art and wine vendors, live music and chef demonstrations.

The event started as a fundraiser for St. James Catholic School and has grown into a beloved tradition. Organized and run by volunteers, it draws thousands of people from Oregon, Southwest Washington and beyond each March.

“It’s been very, very, very beneficial to the school,” said Chris Browne, who has chaired the event many times and remains a key part of the organizing team.

Proceeds go to scholarships that make it possible for more students to attend the kindergarten through fifth-grade school. “More kids get to go to school, and we simply could not do without it,” Browne said.

Sip! will run from 3 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 8; noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 9; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 10, in the Evergreen Space Museum.

About one-third of the vendors are from Yamhill County, the rest from other places. In addition to selling their wares at Sip!, they fill up local motels and RV parks, dine at local restaurants and shop at area stores, Browne said.

A number of vendors are making their first appearance at the festival. They range from stands offering olives or oysters to artists and craftsmen selling soap or sculptures. The largest group of vendors will be pouring wine for tasting (extra fee) and selling bottles or cases.

One vendor, Kramer Vineyards, has been with the Sip! Classic all 20 years, Browne said. “Trudy and Keith Kramer have been great supporters,” she said.

To celebrate the anniversary, the festival commissioned a 20th anniversary special label wine from the Kramers. Bottles will be for sale throughout the weekend. In addition, a magnum of the special vintage will be auctioned off in silent bidding.

Several guest chefs and eateries have signed up to give demonstrations during the weekend. The schedule includes:

Friday: Chris Czarnecki from the Joel Palmer House, 3:30 p.m.; Ruby Cakes, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday: Chinook Winds Casino, 1 p.m.; Greg Meixner, executive chef from Golden Valley Brewery and Restaurant, 3 p.m.; Kristin Schofield from Harvest Fresh Grocery, Deli & Catering, 5 p.m.

Sunday: The Laughing Bean, 1 p.m.; Executive Chef Anthony Danna, Chefs de Cuisine Society chapter president, 3 p.m.

Regular admission to the Sip! Food and Wine Classic is $17 per person, with children 9 and younger admitted free. No strollers are allowed in the museum. A three-day pass costs $32.

Designated drivers, accompanied by two or more guests, receive a $2 discount. They also receive free, unlimited non-alcoholic beverages.

Friday night, local people can use a $3 coupon, available at area businesses, or get $3 off if they wear Food & Wine Classic apparel from any of the previous 19 years. Festival goers can take advantage of one discount or the other, but not both.

Parking at the museum costs $7 cash.

Free shuttles are available from the McMinnville Professional Center parking lot, local motels and the corner of Third and Evans downtown.

For more information, check the website,

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