wine events - Page 2

Wine Down Eugene


Wine Down Eugene May 15-21

photo (17)
Bon Mi, 153 E. Broadway, Eugene

My calendar is filling up quicker than ever before, and I am super excited about some events that will be taking me away from everyday life.  From an inaugural Dishcrawl event in Eugene next week to a trip to Murcia, Spain next month, I have loads to look forward to.

Next Wednesday, May 22, I’m joining a group of food enthusiasts for Eugene’s first Dishcrawl event.  If you aren’t familiar with Dishcrawl, it’s an eat and meet event where participants visit four of Eugene’s restaurants while receiving sampling plates and meeting the chef or owner of each establishment. It’s a wonderful chance to not only discover what’s being served in some of Eugene’s restaurants, but to also socialize with like-minded foodies.  Guests aren’t notified of which restaurants they’ll be visiting until 48 hours before the event begins.  But, for those who have already made their reservations with Dishcrawl for next Wednesday, I have some information about one of the restaurants we’ll be visiting:  Bon Mi, a Vietnamese and French restaurant in downtown Eugene, is going to be our first stop for the Dishcrawl event.  I visited Bon Mi today and was able to sample some of their fresh and tasty cuisine.  I tried the Pork Banh Mi Sandwich (lemongrass marinated pork with pickled vegetables and cilantro on fresh baguette) and the Banh Rice Bowl (hoisin marinated chicken, rice, cilantro, green onions, lettuce and cucumbers).  The flavors popped in my mouth, particularly the flavors of the pickled daikon radishes. The meat was savory and high quality, and everything left my mouth feeling refreshed.  It was light, yet filling and really delicious.  I’m looking forward to seeing what will be served during the event next week, which I heard will be all vegetarian.  I’m also looking forward to finding out about the other three restaurants on the agenda.

Bon Mi food
The fresh and tasty Banh Rice Bowl with marinated chicken

On May 31, I’ll be heading south to Cottage Grove, where a special Domaine Meriwether winemakers dinner will be held at the Village Green Resort.  I’ve never been to Village Green, but I’ve heard fabulous things about the property and the food that’s served in their on-site restaurant.  With the always fun Buzz Kawders hosting the event, I know this four-course dinner featuring stellar local wines from Meriwether is going to be outstanding.  A few tickets are still available on Eventbrite.

The first week of June, I’m off to Canada to attend the annual Wine Bloggers Conference – taking place in Penticton, Canada.  This will be my first visit to Canada, so a fellow wine writer and friend, Michele Haid of, and I will be making a vacation out of our trip to the Conference.  Starting with a couple days in Seattle, we’ll then board a bus for a pre-conference excursion from Seattle to Penticton by way of the scenic and breathtaking Lake Chelan Wine Valley with a stay in Lake Chelan.  After spending a few days at the conference in Penticton, Michele and I are renting a car and driving over the Canadian Cascades to Vancouver to celebrate Michele’s 40th birthday in a city neither of us have ever been to.

murcia coastline
Murcia, Spain coastline | photo credit:

Two weeks after I return from Canada, I’m off to Murcia, Spain, for a tour of the wine country that surrounds the Mediterranean seaside city of Murcia.  No words can express how excited I am.  All of these events and trips will be giving me fabulous content for both Eugene Daily News and my award-winning website,  Be on the look-out for a Local Lunch Gals: Flying Solo piece, and I’ll even be writing a special Wine Down Eugene from Spain.


Wine Down Eugene


Wine Down Eugene April 17-23

photo (91)Happy Malbec Day! Today is the day that the Malbec varietal will be celebrated for one 24 hour period – around the entire world.  Malbecs are an inky, dark purple color and often offer aromas and flavors of dark cherry, plum, raisin, tobacco, chocolate and spice. Known to have good acidity and solid tannins, a Malbec is considered to be a big, bold red wine.  Most widely grown in Argentina, this varietal can also be found in other wine regions around the world, including Oregon.

I’ll be celebrating Malbec Day with other wine enthusiasts at Sam’s Place Tavern in Eugene.  Beginning at 5 pm, we’ll be sampling several different Malbecs while using social media to share our thoughts and photos with the world.  But, what I’m most excited about is that I get to use my brand new Riedel Malbec Glass.  A pre-release glass was sent to me to use specifically on Malbec Day. Designed by Argentina’s Graffigna Winery and the world famous Riedel glass company, this glass was made to beautifully showcase and enhance the characteristics of Malbec, which will undoubtedly create an unforgettable Malbec experience.  I’ll let you know all about it on, or join us on Twitter this evening and use the hashtag #MalbecDay to follow our posts.

This Saturday, one of my favorite local winemakers, Jonathan Scott Oberlander of J. Scott Cellars, will be pouring wine out in Veneta at Our Daily Bread Restaurant.  Some of the J. Scott Cellars wines that Jonathan will be pouring have recently been gaining a lot of attention: 2012 Pinot Blanc (Best of Show award Astoria Crab, Seafood and Wine Festival), 2011 Grenache (Best of Show “Greatest of the Grape” and 90 pts./Editor’s Choice Wine Enthusiast) and the 2011 Sauvignon Blanc (90 pts. Wine Enthusiast) – to name just a few.

KeeKees Big Adventures Float-On-Over-EugeneComing this Monday, April 22 from 4-6 pm, I’ll be celebrating the launch of a friend’s incredibly well written and illustrated children’s book: KeeKee’s Big Adventures. Friend and author, Shannon Jones, will be in Eugene all the way from Virginia, and we’ll be having the launch event and party out at Sarver Winery.  Since Shannon is a fellow wine writer, as well as a children’s book author, we thought there would be no better place for the launch event than at family-friendly Sarver Winery.  In addition to the unmatched view from the tasting room at Sarver, there will be lots of activities for the kids, refreshments and wine available for purchase for the adults. It should be a great time, so I hope to see some familiar faces there! To hear more about this event, tune into KPNW 1120 AM Wake Up Call on Monday morning at 8:40 am, where I’ll be talking about the details on this event, as well as some fun stories from my trip to New York City.

Check the side listing for more events -there is a lot going on these days at the wineries and around town. Don’t miss a beat with the weekly Wine Down Eugene.

Wine Down Eugene


Wine Down Eugene March 13-19

New York City | photo:

I have spent the last few days running around Eugene spending way too much money – all in preparation for a very exciting upcoming trip. Next Thursday, I’ll be leaving on a jet plane for New York City to join hundreds of wineries from around the world for Snooth’s First Annual People’s Voice Wine Awards Grand Tasting. is a wine based social website with over 2.5 million subscribers – it’s a site I not only frequent on a regular basis, but it’s one that I’m a mentor on, representing Southern Oregon and the Willamette Valley.

Taking place at the Altman Building in New York City with a live broadcast, the big event is happening on Saturday, March 23.  Attending wine enthusiasts will be able to sample from a selection of over 300 wines, watch cooking and wine pairing demos set up by chefs and sommeliers, and mingle with like-minded people.

As one of the top 30 US food and wine bloggers, Snooth invited me to be a VIP guest to attend the Grand Tasting; in addition to, joining in on media tastings and exclusive seminars throughout the weekend – which I am incredibly excited about.  I’ll be participating in a blind tasting of 2001 Barolo wines along with attending several Master Classes: Wines of Scarpa, Brazilian Wines, White Wines of Italy and Wines of Austria.  Each day is filled with impelling functions, and I am so looking forward to each and every one of them!

Snooth-grand-tasting-logoI arrive a day before the events start, so I’ve been trying to figure out where to go and what to see. Although this is not my first time to the Big Apple, it’s been about 15 years since my last visit – seeing the 9/11 Memorial tops the list of must-dos, and if there’s enough time, I’d also like to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The last time I was in New York City, I went to the top of the World Trade Center, saw the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall and ate some seriously awesome italian food, where I’m pretty sure some shady deals were going down in the back room.  It’s always an experience and an adventure in New York City.

While I’m gone, I will be doing a whole load of writing about the many things I’ll be doing – all on my award-winning website,  So please follow me on my adventure, cheers!


Wine Down Eugene: 100th Edition!


Wine Down Eugene March 6-12

child pic of me with wine
100 weeks seems so long ago… (Julia in 1974: my parents must have had a premonition)

Wow, this is the 100th issue of Wine Down Eugene! For a total of 100 weeks, I’ve been bringing the readers of Eugene Daily News a weekly listing of wine related happenings and events at local shops, restaurants, bars and wineries. From Eugene to Cottage Grove and Oakridge to Yachats, Wine Down Eugene is the ultimate go-to list of events for wine enthusiasts seeking fun in the South Willamette Valley.

Looking back at the very first Wine Down Eugene , I only listed places that were having special events. For the week of April 11-19, 2011, just seven bars and three wineries appeared on the list. It was a very simple beginning to what is now a list of of over 60 wine related listings topped by a story of what I’ve been doing and where I’ve been going in the world of wine.

From issue number 1 all the way to 100, so many great things have happened. was launched in February 2012, and just six months later was awarded Best New Wine Blog of 2012 from the prestigious Wine Blog Awards, I became a Mentor on the world’s largest and longest running wine related social network,, where I represent the Willamette Valley and Southern Oregon, and I’ve written wine articles in a few magazines and publications. One of the greatest perks about all of this wine writing is that I receive hundreds of samples of wine – not just from Oregon, but from all over the world, so I always have fresh content and my palate continues to be educated by new flavors, aromas and varietals.

Silcox Hut and Snowcat
The Snowcat that took us up Mt. Hood to a winemakers dinner at the historic Silcox Hut – one of many great events. | photo: Iwalani Carr

The best perk of all is being invited to join in on incredible wine events in Oregon and around the world. I’ve attended many outstanding wine events and dinners, and I’m heading to New York City in just two weeks to attend the first Snooth People’s Voice Wine Awards. I’ll also be attending my first IPNC (International Pinot Noir Celebration) this summer, and planning a Fall trip to Virginia wine country. It’s been a wonderful journey filled with incredible adventures, outstanding wine and ambrosial food.

And It all started with Wine Down Eugene.

With the success of Wine Down Eugene, we are in the process of working on implementing a similar listing come June 1, for our neighboring wine region to the south: Umpqua Valley. Umpqua Valley is home to stellar wines that range in varietals from cool climate Pinot Noirs and Rieslings to warm climate Tempranillos and Cabernet Sauvignons. There are many excellent wineries and award-winning wines coming out of Umpqua Valley, and for the many wine lovers in Lane County, a visit to the Umpqua Valley is most certainly inevitable.

I’m looking forward to bringing you 100 more weeks of Wine Down Eugene; in addition to, the summer launch of Wine Down Umpqua. Cheers, and thanks for reading!

Domaine Meriwether’s Inaugural Fine Dining in the Cellar


IMG_4888I must admit, I really love my job. Who wouldn’t love attending fabulous food and wine events around the state of Oregon? Like I’ve said before, I’m a lucky wine gal, and I never take that for granted. I feel truly blessed to be surrounded by world renowned wineries that produce some of the finest wines in the world, in a state that is unmatched in beauty and bounty.

One of my favorite wineries in the southern Willamette Valley is Domaine Meriwether. Owner, Buzz Kawders, is not only one of the funnest people to be around, but he’s got a heart of gold and has an affinity for life unlike most. He has a great thing going: a state of the art winery that’s just outside of Oregon’s second largest city, Eugene, located on a beautiful piece of property with views of the nearby Coastal Range, and a stellar winemaker named Ray Walsh, who is well known for his success in crafting outstanding sparkling and still wines.

So, when I was asked to attend their inaugural Fine Dining in the Cellar event, it was marked on my calendar before I could say, “count me in.”

IMG_4882From start to finish, this Valentine’s Day themed cellar dinner at Domaine Meriwether blew me away.The food, wine, service and conversation were truly incredible – there was even a Conversation course offered after a five course meal and appetizers, it was an amazing evening.

Tasting room manager, Jennifer Sennett-Franklin has more events planned for 2013, and food and wine enthusiasts should be keeping an eye out for what’s to come at Domaine Meriwether.

Follow me over to my award-winning wine website, to read the full story on this spectacular evening.

Wine Down Eugene


Wine Down Eugene February 27-March 5

IMAG4414Although I’ll focus on wine in the bottom half of this weeks Wine Down Eugene, I’m going to focus on something a little different for the moment – an issue that is near and dear to my heart.

A couple years ago, my seven year old son, who is now nine, caught a cold that he just could not fight off. Over just a few months, he lost a frightening amount of weight. Nine months and many pounds later, my son was finally diagnosed with a very rare disease called Adrenal Insufficiency. My son is a healthy, vibrant, loving, caring and extremely smart little boy that loves to play baseball – you would never know just looking at him that his body does not produce enough cortisol to generate adrenaline which fights off illness, stress or serious injury. If he gets over-stressed, breaks a bone or becomes ill with a high fever, he can go into an adrenal crisis, which could ultimately take his life.

There is an amazing injection called Solu-Cortef that can save the life of a person with Adrenal Insufficiency. Just like diabetics need insulin, those with Adrenal Insufficiency need Solu-Cortef, or Hydrocortisone. Because so few are educated in Adrenal Insufficiency, Solu-Cortef is not available on ambulances and many people in the medical field are not educated on its importance. We need emergency protocols put into place for Adrenal Insufficiency – an adrenal crisis can’t wait.

A non-profit group called Adrenal Insufficiency United (AIU), which was started right here in Eugene, is on a mission to make sure all people in the medical field are trained and aware of this serious and rare disease. February 28 is National Rare Disease Day, and several representatives of Adrenal Insufficiency United are in Washington D.C. bringing awareness to Adrenal Insufficiency and the importance of Solu-Cortef. In an effort to spread awareness on Adrenal Insufficiency, please visit the AIU website, check out their Facebook page, learn and inquire about this disease, but most importantly, spread the word. Your awareness can save lives.

photo-53Now, on to wine! I have the most exciting project happening on my award-winning website right now. We’ve added a new tab: Best Case Scenario. This tab was inspired by a case of wine that Portland based PR company, Watershed Communications, sent to me that contained twelve bottles of Oregon Pinot Noir, which was labeled as The Best Case Scenario. This case of twelve bottles of Oregon Pinot Noir has a theme, From Blockbuster to Beauty: The Evolving Style of Oregon Pinot Noir.

I’ve decided to highlight one wine from this case every two weeks, where a focus on the winery, the winemaking philosophies, how the style of the chosen wine has evolved over the years, and lots of geeky wine information on how this wine is made from harvest to and bottling.

The first bottle I popped the cork on was the Carabella Chehalem Mountains 2010 Pinto Noir. I’ll also include food and wine pairings and tasting notes over the course of two weeks, and I encourage wine enthusiasts to purchase a bottle of the highlighted wine and share their reviews and notes with me on my website. This is a fun and interactive way to learn and enjoy the bounties of Oregon, after all, we do have the best Pinot Noir in the world!