PORTLAND, February 19, 2019 — Oregon’s wine community recognized its peers at a moving awards ceremony luncheon held the final day of the 2019 Oregon Wine Symposium. More than 1,500 wine industry professionals celebrated the accomplishments of colleagues throughout the state who continue to champion the advancement of Oregon wine. Nine awards were presented, including a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award for Jesus Guillén, accepted by his wife Yuliana Guillén.
“There are almost 800 wineries in Oregon, and among them are many leaders who help place Oregon on the international wine stage,” said Sally Murdoch, communications manager at the Oregon Wine Board (OWB). “Each of these honorees can be proud they were recognized by their peers.”
Justin King, Board member of the Oregon Winegrowers Association (OWA) and King Estate Winery presented the Oregon Wine Leadership Award to Representative Paul Holvey and Senator Arnie Roblan. Longtime legislators advancing issues important to the Oregon wine industry; they serve as two of the four co-chairs of the Oregon Wine Legislative Caucus. Sen. Roblan was a strong supporter of the Oregon Wine Country License Plate initiative, and helped secure funding for wine industry market access and research funding (MARIS) from the legislature in 2017. Rep. Holvey has been a key wine industry champion on the House Business and Labor Committee. He was instrumental in passing legislation to establish wine growlers, with Oregon as the first state to do so, and created new conduct rules for music licensing agents. He also has been a key ally of the wine industry on numerous labor issues.Kicking off the ceremony, Carson Wright from the Ardagh Group, the largest wine bottle supplier in North America, acknowledged the packed crowd of industry members.
Kristin Marchesi of Montinore Estate presented the Industry Leadership Award to Alison Sokol Blosser. Sokol Blosser was recognized for her tireless support of the industry including her role as past president of Oregon Pinot Camp. A second generation wine business owner who serves as so-president of the winery with her brother Alex, Sokol Blosser accepted the award and shared with the crowd her passion and enjoyment that the wine industry has given her over the years, and that she hopes the same for the next generation of the Sokol Blosser family.
Jana McKamey, OWA Vice President of Government Affairs, presented the Industry Partner Award to Dan Jarman. Jarman is president and founder of Crosswater Strategies, serving as political advisor to OWA since 2010. McKamey said Jarman brings much to his role, including nurturing many relationships around the state. In 2017 Jarman helped secure $500,000 for marketing and research, the first allocation of state funds to support the wine industry. As well as obtaining unanimous passage for a contentious land use bill that clarified rules governing events and commercial activities allowed at wineries on farmland, Jarman was instrumental in the passage of the first wine country license plate program in the U.S.
Ed Burke at King Estate presented the Vineyard Excellence Award to vineyard manager Meliton Martinez. Martinez began working as a field hand at King Estate at 19 years of age, 35 years ago. He now manages more than 450 acres of vines, overseeing the conversion of King Estate’s farming practices to achieve biodynamic certification, making King Estate the largest biodynamic farm in the U.S. In his acceptance speech, Martinez thanked the King family and remarked that he feels blessed to be living and working in the Pacific Northwest, with its abundant water and great soils.
OWB Chairman Emeritus John Pratt presented the Founders Award to Matthew Thompson at Domaine Serene, who accepted it on behalf of owners Ken and Grace Evenstad. Recalling the history of the Evenstad’s legacy, Pratt recalled they settled in the Dundee Hills in 1989, and began making wines rivaling those of Burgundy. Armed with their pioneering spirit as they grew their winery, Pratt said the Evenstads never lost sight of their philanthropic values, donating $6 million in 2018 for Linfield’s Center for Wine Education. Last year they also led the fight against red blotch disease, pledging up to $500,000 in matching funds for research.
Pratt also presented the Board Service Awards to OWB Chairman emeritus Steve Thomson of Cristom Vineyards and Silvan Ridge Winery’s JP Valot. Pratt mentioned Thompson as a mentor who tucked him under his wing. JP Valot, he said, makes beautiful wine and serves as a tremendous inspiration for Pratt as he brings a diverse and peaceful perspective to the Wine Board, stemming from his Argentinian background.
The ceremony wrapped with a stirring tribute to the late Jesus Guillén. OWB Board member and Abbey Creek Winery founder Bertony Faustin presented the Lifetime Achievement Award with a moving video on Guillén’s life, family and winemaking career. Guillén was winemaker at White Rose Estate and founder of Guillén Family Wines. After the video, his wife Yuliana Guillén accepted the award as the applauding crowd rose to its feet. She thanked the industry for the support it has provided in keeping the winery and tasting room in carrying on her late husband’s legacy.
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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. To learn more, visit industry.oregonwine.org