A handful of Oregon wineries is donating grapes toward a project aimed at helping fire victims and preventing future fires. Six Oregon wineries, in partnership with Union Wine Company, are producing a limited-production pinot noir cuvee, with 100% of the proceeds going to future fire efforts.
Eighty percent of the proceeds of the wine go to the Oregon Community Foundation's Community Rebuilding Fund, which helps Oregon communities that have been leveled by wildfires. The remaining 20% goes to Keep Oregon Green, an association formed in 1941 aimed at "educating the public of our shared responsibility to prevent human-caused wildfires in the state." Over 70% of the state's wildfires are attributed to humans' daily activities, Keep Oregon Green alleges.
The Oregon Pinot Noir is a blend of grapes from Stoller Wine Group, Furioso Vineyards, Willamette Valley Vineyards, Ponzi Vineyards, A to Z Wineworks and Bjornson Vineyards, and is packaged by Union Wine Company.
"At Stoller, we have a deep appreciation for our land and desire to support our community," said Melissa Burr, vice president of winemaking for the Stoller Wine Group. Stoller opened a tasting room in Bend's Box Factory, on Arizona Avenue, last year.
The Keep Oregon Green wine is available at New Seasons and Market of Choice locations in the state, along with the tasting rooms of the wineries taking part. It's also available online through Union Wine Company's website.
"2020 was a tough year for all of us here in Oregon, but it brought into light how amazing and supportive our wine community really is," said Darin Dougherty, marketing director at Union Wine Company. "We can always find ways to learn, grow and be more aware of the impact we have on our ever-changing environment.
It's no secret that the past several fire seasons have wrought untold devastation on communities all along the West Coast. Massive fires tore through California's Napa and Sonoma counties in 2020, destroying many vintage vines. Oregon's wine-growing regions were also threatened, and some experienced smoke damage, called "smoke taint." Some winemakers opted to make more rosé than in other years, which helped to reduce the effects of the smoke on the final product.
A four-pack of the Keep Oregon Green pinot noir, in cans, sells for $28 on the Union Wine Company site.