The Oregon wine industry honored some of its most esteemed leaders, as nominated by their peers, during the Oregon Wine Symposium Awards Luncheon on Feb. 22. More than 1,900 wine industry professionals were in attendance to celebrate their accomplished colleagues throughout the state who have unequivocally championed the advancement of Oregon wine. Eight awards in six categories were presented.
“Our wine industry has been built upon a long-term commitment to continually improving the quality of our wines, understanding our vineyard sites and enriching our communities,” said Michelle Kaufmann, communications manager at the Oregon Wine Board. “These eight individuals have devoted themselves to the advancement of the Oregon wine industry and we are so proud to have honored them at the 2017 Oregon Wine Symposium.”
Sue Horstmann, executive director of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association, received the Lifetime Achievement Award after 20 years working with Oregon winegrowers and winemakers. Sue has led a tremendous transformation of the Yamhill County Wineries Association to the creation of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association in 2004. Sue developed key programs like Oregon Pinot Camp, and has managed its ongoing phenomenal success for the last 15 years. She helped inspire consumer evangelists with memorable events like Wine Country Thanksgiving, Memorial Weekend in Wine Country and Pinot in the City as well as the Willamette Valley’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2015, culminating in the recognition of the Willamette Valley as Wine Enthusiast magazine’s Wine Region of the Year in 2016.
The Founders Award honors people whose sustained efforts have positively affected the direction and accomplishments of Oregon wine. Few have been as instrumental as Harry Peterson-Nedry, who founded CHEHALEM in 1990. He is a founding member of the Oregon Wine Board and Oregon Winegrowers Association, and has served on the board of WineAmerica. Harry has championed Oregon at events internationally and helped develop key Oregon initiatives like Oregon Pinot Camp. He was also a contributor to the establishment of Willamette Valley AVAs by authoring the Ribbon Ridge petition. Most recently he presented in Europe and is leading the charge for the Willamette Valley to be formally recognized among the world’s most esteemed wine regions to further strengthen protections and broad importance of wine place names.
Leigh Bartholomew has been a leader in the Oregon wine industry from her earliest days, building the Archery Summit vineyard and reputation, participating eagerly in research programs, serving as chairwoman of the Oregon Wine Board and president of the Oregon Winegrowers Association in 2013, volunteering on the Oregon Wine Board’s research and education committees, and being a principal in her own wine label Dominio IV. Leigh also serves on a special wine advisory committee established by Oregon State University’s Agricultural College Dean Dr. Daniel Arp. Her individual dedication has shown exemplary commitment, leadership and service to the industry, which is the definition of the Outstanding Industry Leadership Award. Leigh embodies the very nature of Oregon’s wine community with a remarkably personable, friendly and eager to help attitude.
The Vineyard Excellence Award was presented to two vineyard professionals from different areas of the state, each of whom demonstrates outstanding collaborative support under the supervision of vineyard managers, directors and viticulturists. These employees exemplify remarkable technical knowledge, professionalism and outstanding work ethic. Juan Ordaz and his family typify so much of what the Oregon wine community represents: hard work, commitment and longevity as the rock of the CHEHALEM vineyard crew in the Willamette Valley for the past 28 vintages. Juan has been a tireless and reliable vineyard supervisor for the vineyard crew, encouraging and exhorting at times, calming at others and leading by example. In the Umpqua Valley, Darin Cook started working at Fault Line Vineyards in 2003. He has become the chief tractor driver, proving extraordinary agility on Abacela’s unbelievably steep hillside, and becoming the “go-to” person for all things mechanical. Darin is always looking to improve vineyard operations and fruit quality, while at the same time being ever observant of the grapes and what needs to be done.
Two individuals received the Industry Partner Award, which honors those who, in the course of doing business, significantly assist in the growth and success of the industry and its members. Dr. Scott Burns’ guidance and leadership in studying the soil and geological history of the Columbia Gorge, Southern Oregon and Willamette Valley winegrowing regions have been key in teaching members of the wine industry and trade about what makes Oregon soil and geology unique. Leda Garside has been with Tuality Healthcare since 1993, managing and facilitating the clinical health services for Oregon’s seasonal migrant vineyard workers and their families through the ¡Salud! program, which is a unique collaboration that provides access to care that is culturally and linguistically appropriate.
Ava DeRosier, director of food and beverage at Larks Home Kitchen Cuisine and Neuman Hotel Group, accepted the Oregon Wine A-List Wine Program of the Year Award for setting a standard of excellence among Oregon wine restaurant programs with its depth and breadth of Oregon selections, participation in Oregon Wine Month, and educational opportunities for staff and clientele alike. This is the highest honor awarded by the Oregon Wine A-List awards program, which recognizes restaurants around the world that display deep appreciation, enthusiasm and support for Oregon wines as seen in the diversity of regions and varieties on their wine lists.