PORTLAND, Ore. — The name has changed, but this fall the Oregon wine industry continues its search for restaurants and sommeliers who support, promote and pour wines from the state.
According to spokesman Cole Danehower, “The goal of the program is to guide consumers to restaurants who advocate and celebrate the quality and diversity of the wines of Oregon.”
Results are intended to help guide consumers to restaurants in and outside of Oregon that feature the wines of Oregon via their wine lists and culinary program.
The Washington State Wine Awards, created in 2002 by the Washington State Wine Commission, is a similar program that’s grown and now includes a public ceremony staged each winter at the renowned Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle.
However, while the Washington State Wine Awards has expanded its program to highlight nearly 20 categories for restaurants, sommeliers and wine merchants, the Oregon Wine A-List Awards will be scaled down to focus on three categories for restaurants and two for sommeliers.
Anyone is eligible to submit a nomination, but the deadline to enter is Nov. 30. Winners of the Oregon Wine A-List Awards will be announced Feb. 24 during the Oregon Wine Symposium dinner in Portland.
Oregon Wine A-List Restaurant — This award is given to restaurants that display a distinguished commitment to Oregon wine by featuring a distinctive selection of wines from Oregon on their by-the-bottle and/or by-the-glass wine lists. The Oregon Wine A-List designation will be awarded to as many nominated restaurants that meet the qualifications of the judges.
Oregon Wine A-List Regional Star Restaurant — Six awards will be given to restaurants that excel at promoting Oregon wine through education as well as integration into their offerings. Awards will be given to restaurants Portland Metro, Willamette Valley, Southern Oregon, Columbia Gorge, Oregon Coast/Central Oregon and National/International.
Oregon Wine A-List Restaurant of the Year — The Oregon Wine A-List Restaurant of the Year Award will be presented to top restaurant that has demonstrated the most devotion to promoting, advocating and celebrating Oregon wine.
Oregon Wine A-List Regional Sommelier of the Year — Six individual sommeliers or wine directors, one from each region listed above, will be recognized for their commitment to featuring Oregon wines.
Oregon Wine A-List Sommelier of the Year — This award will be given to the single restaurant wine professional, regardless of location, who has excelled at developing innovative ways to integrate Oregon wines into their restaurant’s offerings and shared their passion for Oregon wines with customers.