Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Being Green

In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.  

The woman apologized to him and explained, "We didn't have the green thing back in my day."
The clerk responded, "That's our problem today.  Your generation did not care enough to save our environment."
He was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day. 
Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over.  So they really were recycled. 
But we didn't have the green thing back in our day. 
We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. 

But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day. 

Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throw-away kind.  We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry the clothes.  Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day. 

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. 

In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. 

When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. 

Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power.  We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. 

But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. 
We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. 

But we didn't have the green thing back then. 

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. 
We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances.  And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint. 
But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

Pride of Place

Over the last few years in my travels around the state gathering "One Bottle"  I have noticed that there is a lot of pride on the part of many of the retailers in the areas around the various wine regions of Oregon.
When you go in to many markets, even small ones, in Marion, Yamhill, and other counties you often see "local wines" displayed prominently in the stores.
This is true in Jackson, Douglas, and Josephine  counties as well.
It is NOT true in Lane County.
We have an abundance of local wineries, many that are first quality and are among the top wines in the state. Yet you do not see any displays that show our Pride of Place.
This is odd because some of the breweries get lots of shelf space because they are local, and they are very good. But why beer and not wine?
Is it that the markets must deal with distributors so they are forced to allocate shelf space by how much discount they get?
I am not at all sure what needs to be done but I think it is important to start doing something.
If anyone has any insights please comment.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Salud! Etchings

The Salud! Auction is coming up in November and this year I am donating 10 prints of 10 wineries plus one image printed on wood, like the ones I have up at The Jordan Schnitzer Museum now.
I plan on doing this every year for the next 4 years so that everyone has an image.

 Still deciding which one of these to use...
Here are a few of the images I am developing for etchings. This is the second stage in the process so they will change as they move through the stages of printing. The image size will be 4x5 inches on archival rag paper.
See if you can tell which ones they are from the image so far.
I am also doing King Estate, Silvan Ridge, and Dick Shea's.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Show at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

I have been very honored by having my work on the walls of the museum for the last month and look forward to the dinner on the 27th with all the wineries and Marche' showing off what theey make!
Here are a few of the images on the wall.
 Territorial Vineyards
 Sweet Cheeks Winery
 Saginaw Vineyards
 RainSong Vineyards
Noble Estate Winery
These are etching done in solarplate, inked up and printed with my old press on to birch plywood. Once this is done there can be no more etchings printed on paper as the plate is ruined. With that in mind, I printed an edition of 30 of each etching before printing on wood.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Art of Wine: A Passport to Culture.

The South Willamette Wineries is proud to partner with the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon on an exciting and enriching project:

The Art of Wine: A Passport to Culture.

In the South Willamette Valley, the visual arts and the art of winemaking combine to create “The Art of Wine: A Passport to Culture.”
At the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, we invite you to enjoy an exclusive winemakers’ dinner paired with the regional cuisine of MarchĂ© Restaurant, see the winery-inspired art of Eugene artist Robert Canaga, and sample different wines at two wine-tasting events. Throughout the South Willamette Valley, visit Pfeiffer and other participating wineries for exclusive discounts and to get your passport stamped for your chance to win great prizes at the dinner.
Full Schedule of Events

  • August 2 - 4-7 p.m.
    Kick-off/Wine Tasting at Travel Lane County Adventure Center
  • August 13 - 1-4 p.m.
    Tasting Event featuring “Wineries Without Walls” and wineries from the South Willamette Wineries Association at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
  • August 20 - 1-4 p.m.
    Tasting Event featuring “Wineries Without Walls” and wineries from the South Willamette Wineries Association at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
  • August 27 - Reception 6 p.m.; Dinner 7 p.m.
    Wine Tasting reception and Winemakers’ Dinner at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

The project is supported in part by a grant from the Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, and a Lane County Tourism Special Projects Grant.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Quick Visit to Carlton

Salud! holds an auction every year and sell various items to raise money for the health care of our migrant workers, without whom we would have little wine to enjoy.  This year I have been ask to create ten etchings in an edition of ten to be auctioned off to help raise money. I was honored and have been driving around capturing images to make in to photographic etchings. I also plan to do one of each on wood, gold leafed and framed, as I did for the dismally advertised "Art of Wine" at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum. They were supposed to work to bring tourists in to Lane County to sample our wines...
Oh well.
Anyway, on Wednesday I took one of my studio assistant, who just turned 21, on a tasting trip up the valley with stops along the way.
Left Coast Cellars is one of the most beautifully presented wineries in Oregon. The setting is stunning and the landscaping is perfect. They also have a large solar array and a very good restaurant
They also have a set of fountains that help hydrate the local bee population. As we walked up to the tasting room I looked over and saw a few dozen bees on each fountain happily sipping, then flying off to be replaced with more thirsty companions. I guess I had never really thought about them drinking. Seems appropriate that they have their own tasting room.
We tasted through the whites and I was struck by the depth and complexity of the '07 Chardonnay.
This wine is 100% barrel fermented and has a huge nose of pear and fruit blossoms with a taste of fresh pear and quince jam. There is a hint of pie spices balanced with good acid, a slight mineral after taste, and the overall feel of the wine is elegant and rich. I highly recommend this one. 
 Next one the list of must haves are really ANY of the '08 Pinot Noir. They are all outstanding and complex and all are worth the stop. It is not often that I enjoy every wine I taste but today was an exception.
While you are there, sit down and enjoy some of the wonderful food they prepare on site. Read the article about Oregon's restaurant/ winery news. 
While we were there over a dozen people, from farm hands to tourists came and went, praising the food and the wines. 
We made a quick stop at Bethel Heights to get a picture for an etching. They are one of the major sponsors of Salud! and are on this years list for my donation. I took a few shots and I think I have settled on an image of their wisteria and a view Northeast through the vineyards. I have time and lots of reasons to stop back and try another image.
We drove up through Amity then to Carlton where we were treated to my all time favorite taste treat! Republic of Jam was closed for production and restocking but they let me in and gave Saga a sample of their wares. You can tell by her reaction that she enjoyed the tastes! I ended up buying Blueberry Lavender Jam and Lemon Caraway soda syrup,. I am told that the bartender at  Thistle makes a drink with it involving bourbon that is out of this world! ( last night we tried some shaken with Gin and did not find it lacking ;).
 Next door at Horseradish we had a bowl of soup and a hot sandwich , and of course a glass of great Oregon Pinot Noir. As we sat down at the back bar Ryan showed me a wine I had not heard of nor tasted, Zimri Cellars '06 Pinot Noir. This is an outstanding wine. Rich and deep with a huge nose and wonderful mouthfeel and finish. I was very impressed, and at $30, it is under-priced!
 While we were waiting for our meal Saga found something very special, her own wine!
When we finished we left through the back door and walked over to visit with Dave at Carlton Cellars and taste some of his fine wines.

More on that when I get back from a meeting!
Dave tasted us through his lineup staring with his very tasty and very complex Pinot Gris. This wine has lime and white pear with a little flinty mineral in the nose and a rich dry taste. I really enjoy this wine.
Next we tasted the rose and it surprised me a bit. I had had last years and enjoyed it but this one is far more interesting. Lots of strawberry, hints of flowers, and a very interesting taste that changes rapidly as you taste again. I scored a bottle just for a little sip out on the deck this weekend.
Next came the lineup of the Pinot Noir .
Seven Devils is the everyday, house wine that you keep for the acquaintance (if you can keep your hands of it). This is a gentle, rich wine with a slow start and a long finish. Great food pairing as it has brighter fruits and a lot of ripe blackberry and cherry. In the short time it has been in bottle it has changed a lot. I can't wait to taste it again in a few months.
Roads End Pinot Noir is ina class of its own. The gift that keeps on giving, and if anyone tries to tell you that filtering ruins the complexity and structure of wine, let them taste this one! Here is what Parker had to say:
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate concurred, giving the 2006 Roads End a 90-point score that identifies it as "An outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character. In short, these are terrific wines." Dr. Jay Miller writes in his October, 2008 review:
"The 2006 Pinot Noir Roads End spent 10 months in French oak. Medium/dark ruby-colored, it reveals an attractive perfume of cedar, black cherry, and black raspberry. This leads to a layered, smooth-textured wine with plenty of sweet fruit, good balance, and a medium-long finish. Drink it over the next four years."
 Next stop was in Ken Wright's parking lot next door where I got what will be an etching when I am doe. Here is the image now. When I am done with it I will post it to show the end result.
We made a quick stop a Wildaire and we both loved the Clay Court Pinot Noir. Remarkable wine and worth the stop. Linda and I have bought bottles on each trip up and they don't last long. The wine is best described as plush, like a big overstuffed sofa with solid wood legs! You just want to lay down in it and let it engulf you. The nose really leaps out and grabs you with pie spices, dark ripe cherry, and big notes of hot blackberry pie. The first sip is almost a shock as you find a whole different pallet waiting for you, one of cherry compote and caramel with layer after layer of vanilla and creamy red berry. The finish is long and pleasing with just enough earthy, spicy mix to make you want another sip.
Last stop in Carton was at Troon. I felt I had to school her on the differences in the Oregon wine regions and this is one of the very best places to do it.
It was late so we hurried through a couple of sips, then Chelsea brought in the sign and the other folks, Paul Cronauer and his wife Sarah, tasted through a perfect collection of Southern Oregon wines.
 We got started with the '10 Dry Riesling. I love this wine and just thing Greg killed on this one. Bone dry with very complex minerality and gentle hints of stone fruit and white grape.
The reds are all good and interesting but one stands out as a must have, the 2007 Humbug Fire Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve.  This one was done after the devastating fires down the in '07 and some of the proceeds go to fund the firemen. The smoke in this wine was like being next to a campfire! The fruit was like roasting berries on a stick and eating them while they were still warm. This is just an outstanding wine and should be shared.
Last stop of the day was at Nick's on Third Street in McMinnville for some ribs and a cheese plate.  Then  the long drive home and back to the studio.