A score of Classics
Although final figures are not in yet, it appears this year’s edition of the St. James School fundraiser, which ran Friday, March 8, through Sunday, March 11, topped those of previous years by a substantial margin.
“This was the busiest Sunday I have ever seen,” said volunteer Rebecca Hoffarth. “We are very excited.”
Volunteer Daisy Amerson said you could feel energy in the crowd.
“People seemed really into the whole thing,” she said. “For me, it’s been fun just being here.”
The two remarked on the interest shown in wines and the fact people had the name Methven Gamay Noir, the event’s best of show winner, on the tips of their tongues.
“It was also a treat to be part of selecting the Co-Chair’s Personal Choice,” Amerson said. “It was a port — the Honeywood Black Forest Red.”
Another wine highlight was the 20th Anniversary Label, a 2011 pinot noir crafted especially for the classic by Kramer Vineyards.
The Gaston winery has participated in the event every year since its inception. Joining it for the 2013 Classic were 77 other Oregon wineries representing every winegrowing region in the state.
In addition to the home region of Northwestern Oregon, Southern Oregon’s Rogue and Umpqua Valleys, the Columbia River Gorge and the Walla Walla Valley were all represented.
Complementing this special opportunity to taste wines from so many smaller producers were 20 food vendors whose offerings ranged from crab and oysters to truffles and cheese.
Local notable Steve Bernards, co-founder and avid supporter of the classic, displayed his finest salesmanship skills hawking oyster shooters at the St. James School booth.
The nationally award-winning wheys of the Willamette Valley Cheese Company included its divine Perrydale, Boerenkaas and Brindisi. And you could spread them on Amity’s Blue Raeven baked goods.
An enthusiastic gentleman from West Salem, who preferred to be identified only as Joe, said he hadn’t been to the classic in four years and couldn’t believe how much better it had become.
“I enjoyed it when I came before,” he said. “But this time there was even more and better.”
Among improvements would have to be addition of Native Wine Racks, supplying one-of-a-kind wine bottle holders shaped from stone by Troy Turner of Fairview.
Debra Collada of the Cubanisimo Winery quickly snapped one up. She had it on display at her booth.
“It’s as much a piece of sculpture as a wine rack,” she said.
Turner was just one of 38 artists showing original examples of painting, pottery, glassblowing, woodworking, fashion designing, hat production and so forth.
So it went at the 20th annual McMinnville Wine & Food Classic, by all accounts the biggest and best yet.