Allison Inn & Spa is hosting The Willamette Valley Wineries Association (WVWA) Willamette: The Pinot Noir Auction event on April 3 and April 4, 2020. This non-profit organization is dedicated to achieving recognition for Oregon’s acclaimed Willamette Valley as a premier Pinot noir–producing region.
Located in the heart of Oregon Wine Country, Allison Inn & Spa is nestled amidst the verdant Willamette Valley, home to over 500 wineries. Many are recognized as the leading producers of Pinot Noir in the world.
Nearly 250 members represent wineries and tasting rooms along the bucolic and verdant 150 mile stretch from Portland to Eugene. With the Willamette River running the length of the valley, the area has become a popular weekend destination for oenophiles, foodies and those seeking relaxation.
This elegant retreat offers four different levels of 77 deluxe guest rooms and 8 suites. There is the Terrace, Main, Penthouse and Spa offering king size beds, spa-like bathrooms, cozy fireplaces and window seating with a soft throw blanket. The Allison Spa offers 12 serene spa treatment rooms, plus a fitness studio, indoor swimming pool, hot whirlpool and pool terrace.
The Willamette Immersion Seminar begins the morning of Friday, April 3. Later in the day there is a Welcome Wine Tasting event and Winemaker Dinner at wineries around the Valley.
Besides great wines, the lack of sales tax in Oregon makes this area and the auction an attractive event for wine sellers, retailers, restauranteurs and wholesalers.
David Millman, the 2020 Auction Chair of this year’s event is also Oregon’s Domaine Drouhin winery Managing Director. At a preview tasting of some of the Pinot Noir wines available at auction, he shared “The Auction offers the Willamette Valley wine industry an opportunity to tell their story.”
On Saturday, April 4 attendees will attend a walk-around lot tasting and buffet lunch. The Live Auction is at 2 p.m., and an After Party begins from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
“It all started 5 years ago, as a way to convert rich Cabernet drinkers into fans of Pinot Noirs made in Willamette Valley,” said Millman. Last year 450 people attendee the annual event. Bidders represented 26 states and 3 counties. 38% of attendees were retailers, 41% restauranteurs/hoteliers/private club proprietors, and 21% wholesalers, distributors, brokers and importers.
This year the Auction will offer 93 lots of wine produced in quantities of just five, 10 or 20 cases, which winning bidders can offer exclusively to their customers. There will be 86 lots of Pinot Noir and 7 Chardonnays that winemakers from the region’s leading producers collaborated together to showcase the artful blending of styles and sites by peers who have worked together for decades.
There are 11 new wineries participating at this year Auction. All the wines offered are from each of the Willamette Valley’s seven nested AVAs, emphasizing the diversity of the region.
“Our community has come together to present a statement of why the Willamette Valley has become synonymous with world-class Pinot noir,” said Millman. “We see the Auction as an opportunity to invite the top members of the wine trade into our backyard, so it’s natural that the Willamette Valley producers have risen to the occasion. The 2018 vintage has been thrilling winemakers from the start and this is their chance to show off the results.”
Highlights include collector favorites like Antica Terra, Lingua Franca and 00 Wines. Pioneers of the region like Sokol Blosser, Bethel Heights, Adelsheim, Elk Cove, and Erath Winery will participate, each bottle representing a memento to the deep history hidden in the soils of the valley. The region’s newcomers will also sweep the Auction stage, with lots from sommelier and restaurateur André Hueston Mack (Maison Noir Wines), Burgundian royalty Jean-Nicolas Méo (Nicolas Jay) and Master Sommelier Josh Nadel (Gothic Wines), who is celebrating his winery’s tenth vintage.
Winemakers have crafted just 60 to 120 bottles to tell the stories closest to their hearts, signing each like a personal letter. Winemaker Brad Ford of Illahe Vineyards has created “Upcycle Estate,” a lot made entirely without mechanization––including transporting the cases to the Auction by bicycle. Winemaker Rachel Rose of Bryn Mawr harkens back to the winery’s origin with “The Last Flight,” dedicated to the original “tent winery,” crafted in their driveway, that twice blew away in a windstorm.
Collaborative Chardonnay lots include Domaine Drouhin Oregon and Eyrie Vineyards with “Véro and Jason,” named for winemakers Véronique Drouhin and Jason Lett. Adelsheim and first-time Auction participant Brittan Vineyards will collaborate on “The McRib,” featuring the most distinct qualities from two celebrated AVAs, McMinnville and Ribbon Ridge. The Auction will also feature “The Two Pillars” Chardonnay, a collaboration between Rajat Parr and Sashi Moorman of Evening Land Vineyards and Josh Bergström of Bergström Wines, marrying two of the most important vineyards in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA: Seven Springs Vineyard and Temperance Hill Vineyard.
Licensed members of the wine trade who are interested in attending may visit the website: willamettewines.auction.