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Local vintners raise a toast to Wine Month

Tastings, other events planned in Portland area for most of May


It used to be that Portland wine lovers would had to drive out to Washington County, the Willamette Valley or other spots nearby for tastings, which were open to the public only on Memorial Day or Thanksgiving weekends.

That’s not the case anymore, due to the explosion of urban wineries that have sprouted within city limits in the past few years. This month the urban winemakers — and Portland restaurants, bars and other wine-sellers — are raising a glass to the fact that May is Oregon Wine Month.

Gov. John Kitzhaber made the proclamation in 2012.

While tasting rooms in Portland are open weekly and even daily, “I think it’s really great to be able to honor these weekends” like Memorial Day, says Kate Monroe, who runs the Southeast Wine Collective with her husband, Tom.

“There’s been a group of younger winemakers that wanted to be able to make wine where they live,” Monroe adds. “We think of the collective as a gateway for people interested in wine. ... We want to make it as easy as possible and get people’s feet wet before they start to explore” the rest of Oregon wine country.

Here are a few ways to check out the scene:

• May 17 and 18 is PDX Urban Wine Weekend, a quarterly celebration of wine tasting for the PDX Urban Wineries association.

Member tasting rooms will have special selections and new releases to try. The association includes 11 members: Bow & Arrow Wines, Clay Pigeon Winery, Division Winemaking Company, ENSO Winery, Fullerton Wines, Helioterra Wines, Hip Chicks Do Wine, Jan-Marc Wine Cellars, Seven Bridges Winery, Viola Wines, and Vincent Wine Company.

They’ll hold their fourth annual PDX Urban Wine Experience event on June 8 at Refuge PDX. Visit http://www.pdxurbanwineries.com.

• May 24 is #Vinlandia, the semi-annual open house for the Southeast Wine Collective, a winery and tasting bar at Southeast Division Street and 35th Ave. The event includes dinner and wine pairings from local chefs.

The Collective includes: Vincent Wine Company, Jasper Sisco, Fullerton Wines, Helioterra Wines, Jackalope Wine Cellars, Division Winemaking Company, Willful Wines, 5Q Wines, James Rahn and Wine Cellars.

Visit http://www.sewinecollective.com.

• May 17 and 18 is the fourth annual Columbia Gorge Wine and Pear Festival in Hood River. Held at the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum, it will feature more than 20 local wineries from the Columbia Gorge, local art, music and food pairings. Visit wineandpairfest.com.

• This month KXL FM 101 will air five-part series on Northwest Vine Time Radio, devoted exclusively to Oregon wine. Host Brian Bushlach will talk with winery owners and industry enthusiasts. Upcoming shows will air on May 17 and May 24.