Reds, whites, rosés and more were poured into awaiting glasses as wine walkers circulated through town seeking their next sip of bliss

When you spend a few days in a coastal town you soak in a lot about it. Take for instance, the Savor Cannon Beach wine walk that took place March 11.

Taste all the wine you want, but there is no substitute for tasting wine alongside those who shepherd it into existence. This was certainly true of the annual festival that saw wine walkers crisscrossing the town and spending time at more than 40 wineries set up at a multitude of locations from the town’s community halls to lodgings, eateries, art galleries and bakeries. Not even the weather could cast a dark cloud over those attending.

Wineries from Oregon and Washington set up their stations with a dizzying array of their top shelf, high-point receivers and medalists. Some wineries such as Pudding River Wine Cellars have been attending since the festival’s inception seven years ago, said winemaker Sean Driggers, who brought along bottles of its 2014 gold medal winning Syrah. “The east Willamette Valley of Oregon is unique and really good for producing high quality grapes much like the great wine growing regions of Rome and France.”

Marissa Ooyevaar-Voorhies and her husband Tyler from Willamette Valley Vineyards spoke of the wine’s minerality and how the soil can bring out the minerals of the Willamette. “The Willamette Valley has a lot of different soil types because of the Missoula floods which scraped the surface of the soil and deposited it in different ways throughout Oregon.” This, she explained is why different wineries from the valley can have different wine tastes from not only the soil type but vine type as well.

This was the first year back for Sokol Blosser Winery since the first year of the festival, according to Lee Medina who was busy sharing the winery’s history and pouring a medal-winning Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir. He explained that when there is an abundance of this versatile grape, there are more rosés coming out of the valley. “It’s all in the process and the first straining of the grape which gives the rosé its color.”

John Derthick of Lujon Wine Cellars has been attending the wine walk for four years and loves being part of this festival. He began working at a winery in Sonoma in 1994, attended the wine program at UC Davis and returned to Oregon in 2003. Relatively a new winery, Lujon was conceived in 2005 and has produced some highly rated wines from Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator ever since. “As a winemaker I think Oregon is in a unique position. From my perspective I’m able to make great wines from a huge variety of grapes from all over the Northwest.”

Savor Cannon Beach continues in popularity. Well over 900 individuals attended this year’s event with almost all tickets presold. But it’s not only the attendees who benefit; the festival donates a portion of the proceeds to a local charity, according to Gary Hayes, owner and publisher of Explorer Media Group and organizer of the event.

“Clatsop Animal Assistance needs all the help they can get and we are proud to have them as our recipient.” Part of the budget, Hayes noted, includes a grant from the city’s Tourism and Arts Fund, which gives a portion of the city’s lodging taxes to arts-related events.

Whether your interests fall to the bold and hearty reds, the aromatic whites or the softer blends and syrah, the overall scope of Oregon and Washington’s wines abounded with a diversity of flavors and styles, enabling wine walkers with enough excellent samples to quench everyone’s thirst.

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