Wine country gives back
The Willamette Valley Wineries Association (WVWA) has begun a new initiative in conjunction with local wineries to give back to the communities where they operate.
The WVWA's "The Giving Season" is a post-harvest celebration focused on giving gifts to customers and the community at large.
"Through the highs of a spectacular harvest and the lows of an ongoing pandemic, community strength has been particularly invaluable this year," a release from the organization said. "As Thanksgiving weekend and the holidays approach, member wineries and tasting rooms are not only celebrating but giving back to both wine enthusiasts and locals in need.
Those who visit or order from participating wineries will be treated to "gifts" in the form of special offers, events and deals as symbol of gratitude from a grateful industry, the release added. The season includes Willamette Cares Food Share, a collaborative winery donation effort to combat hunger. Last year, the program saw $7,000 donated to the Oregon Food Bank Network at the campaign's kick-off, plus additional donations from winery participants and guests throughout the Giving Season.
Participating wineries will start The Giving Season by donating $100 each to the Oregon Food Bank, a move WVWA organizers hope sets the tone for the season ahead.
"We're always grateful for the community that supports us day in and day out," WVWA Executive Director Morgen McLaughlin said. "But this year we're truly counting our blessings and eager to give back to those who have helped us or simply need some help. We have never felt a closer bond with our friends and neighbors and these events raise a glass to that."
The annual Wine Country Thanksgiving event will be part of the Giving Season as well. The event will cover its normal Thanksgiving weekend of Nov. 26-28, but also the weekend before (Nov. 19-21).
"The tradition began during the local wine industry's infancy decades ago and continues to be the marquee end-of-the-year celebration," the release said. "Participating wineries will offer special tastings, inventive pairings, wine releases, open houses and thoughtful gift ideas for the holidays ahead. This year, due to the pandemic, many wineries are requiring reservations instead of drop-in tastings. Always check in with wineries ahead of time for event details and specific COVID related requirements."
More information on the events and promotions surrounding the Giving Season are available at willamettewines.com/the-giving-season. In the release, McLaughlin acknowledge the special nature of the season ahead.
"Many winemakers will attest that this is the finest time to trek out to the vineyards and tasting rooms of the Willamette Valley," McLaughlin said. "The newest vintage has just wrapped and there's a lingering sense of both accomplishment and gratitude. There's a peaceful festivity to the late-fall vineyard rows, and the peak summer crowds have mostly subsided."
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