PORTLAND — Apr. 21, 2015 — Oregon’s 605 wineries are ready to pop some corks in celebration of Oregon Wine Month. Starting May 1, tasting rooms, wine bars and restaurants will be hosting special events and promotions to honor Oregon’s thriving wine industry, which contributes $3.35 billion in economic impact to the state annually and generates more than 17,000 jobs.

“Oregon vintners are a passionate group of people who are dedicated to making exceptional wines that have earned an international reputation for excellence,” said Ellen Brittan, chairwoman of the Oregon Wine Board. “Oregon Wine Month creates a variety of opportunities for wine lovers to experience Oregon wines and hear the stories of the community of people who grow and make them.”

Neighboring wineries will band together to host festival tastings throughout the month. The Taste Dundee Block Party brings together some of the best area restaurants and wineries on May 2. On May 3, come to Portland for the PDX Urban Wine Experience, an afternoon of wine, food and fun put on by the city’s urban wineries. In the Rogue Valley, wander from winery to winery during the Bear Creek Wine Trail Passport weekend May 16-17 or Roam the Rogue on May 23. On the coast, Seaside welcomes 25 wineries for its Downtown Wine Walk on May 16.

If leisurely wine touring is more your style, individual wineries will offer open houses and unique specials throughout May. Offerings include two-for-one tastings, discounts on bottle purchases, vertical tastings, tastings of older “library” wines, food and wine pairings, barrel sample tastings, live music, games and more.

If you can’t make it to wine country but don’t want to miss out, wineries are offering winemaker dinners at restaurants around the state. For example, the Deep Roots Coalition is holding a dinner series in Southeast Portland that will pair some of the Willamette Valley’s outstanding chefs and wineries to celebrate the bounty of Oregon’s sustainable dry farming initiative.

Wine lovers can also enter to win a dream weekend to one of three Oregon wine country destinations: dramatic Columbia Gorge, idyllic Willamette Valley or rugged Southern Oregon. The grand prize includes wine tastings, dinner for two and two-night hotel stay in one of the three designated regions.

For out-of-state visitors, remember Oregon Wines Fly Free on Alaska Airlines. The Oregon Wines Fly Free program allows Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members to check one case of wine at no cost on their return flight departing from one of four Oregon airports, as well as Walla Walla, Washington. As a bonus, inbound visitors can receive complimentary tastings at any participating winery by showing their Alaska Airlines boarding passes within a week of arrival.

It’s not too early to start planning for Oregon Wine Month. To help you plan, the Oregon Wine Board has a frequently-updated online guide to events and activities happening around the state. Whether at a winery tasting room, wine shop, restaurant, hotel or B & B, you’ll find an Oregon Wine Month celebratory activity sure to whet your palate. Visit oregonwinemonth.org  to discover the full list of events, specials and activities.

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About the Oregon Wine Board:

The Oregon Wine Board is a semi-independent Oregon state agency managing marketing, research, and education initiatives that support and advance the Oregon wine and wine grape industry. The Board works on behalf of all Oregon wineries and independent growers throughout the state’s diverse winegrowing regions. Visit oregonwine.org.