Thursday, December 29, 2011

Central Oregon to Become Official 'Wine Region'

Maragas Winery Gets 'Incredible Christmas Present'

POSTED: 12:33 pm PST December 29, 2011
The Oregon Wine Board will recognize Central Oregon as an official wine region, according to the founder of Maragas Winery near Culver, the first to make wine solely from grapes grown on the climate-challenged High Desert.Doug Maragas said Thursday he received confirmation of the news last Friday from Charles Humble, marketing and communications director for the Oregon Wine Board."It was an incredible Christmas present,” Maragas said.For a decade, Maragas had been working on getting recognition for wine-making and grape-growing in the Central Oregon area.“When we started here and released our first wine, I fielded numerous comments that the venture was foolish and I was a bit crazy to put forth the effort,” he said.But a decade later, Maragas said he has been exonerated.“It’s an enormous step forward in recognition and credibility, which directly relates to marketability,” he said.Soon, when people contact the Oregon Wine Board, the official state representative of the Oregon wine industry, rather than have Maragas Winery listed under the “other” category, it will be listed in its own category.And, what category is it? Maragas said it didn’t take long to respond to Charles Humble’s question on what he’d like to call it – “it seemed obvious to me – “Central Oregon.”” Maragas explained that the region would range from Warm Springs to Bend.“The tipping point of finally convincing the State to recognize the Central Oregon wine region was the fact that we now have two other licensed wineries in the area – Volcano Vineyards, and Faith Hope and Charity," Maragas said. "With Maragas Winery, that makes three wineries and six small but still commercial-sized vineyards.”Maragas had tried a year ago to get the recognition for the area when the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the largest competition globally for American wines, awarded Maragas Winery Beat Red a silver medal. This was significant, because this wine was made entirely of Central Oregon grapes. (read the rest)

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