DAYTON, Ore. – Wine-loving Oregonians have a well-earned reputation for supporting charities, and their latest effort at Stoller Family Estate on behalf of seasonal vineyard worker health care raised $38,900 for ¡Salud!
The fourth annual Summertime ¡Salud! – The Big Dinner at Bill Stoller’s iconic estate winery in the Dundee Hills has become an unofficial kickoff to the International Pinot Noir Celebration. James Beard Award-winner Greg Higgins of Portland’s Higgins Restaurant and Bar catered the July 28 event for 140 guests.
“The proceeds from (Thursday) night’s event will go directly to providing health care services for the people who make our work as winemakers possible,” Trisaetum owner/winemaker James Frey, co-chair of ¡Salud!, stated in a news release. “This year marks the 25th anniversary of our innovative and highly effective ¡Salud! program, and we are hoping that all lovers of Willamette Valley wines will attend our November auction or donate to this very important cause.”
More than $10 million has been raised for the program during its history. In 2014, there were 4,256 workers and family members registered in the program, which led to more than 6,000 medical and dental encounters.
Roots for ¡Salud! reach to 1991
Tuality Healthcare in Hillsboro and the Oregon wine industry collaborates on the non-profit effort that offers health care for seasonal vineyard workers and their families. The signature event is the annual ¡Salud! Oregon Pinot Noir Auction scheduled for Nov. 11-12.
Nancy Ponzi of Ponzi Vineyards, Steve Vuylsteke of Oak Knoll Winery, Rex Hill founder Paul Hart and Robert Gross, owner of Cooper Mountain Vineyards, are credited with helping in 1991 to create ¡Salud!, named for the Spanish term that translates to “good health.”
Ponzi Vineyards will stage the ¡Salud! Big Board Auction on Nov. 11, which features ¡Salud! Cuvées produced by 44 wineries. On Nov. 12, the ¡Salud! Auction and Gala returns to Portland’s stately Sentinel Hotel.
Half of the Thursday’s fundraising stemmed from the presale of 13 cases of the 2015 ¡Salud! Cuvées at a price of $1,500 each.
Wineries from Oregon, France and Australia poured Pinot Noir from magnums at this year’s Summertime ¡Salud! Those from Oregon were Alexana Winery, Alloro Vineyard, Dukes Family Vineyards, Keeler Estate Vineyard, Panther Creek Cellars, Ponzi Vineyards, ROCO Winery, Stoller and Trisaetum. France was represented by Champagne Henri Giraud, Domaine Marc Roy and Fougeray de Beauclair from France. There also was Coldstream Hills from Australia.
A number of those Oregon vintners – including Alexana, Panther Creek, Ponzi, ROCO, Stoller and Trisaetum – also participate in the Classic Wines Auction, an event founded in 1982 that Wine Spectator magazine ranks among the top 10 charity wine auctions in the country. This year’s Classic raised more than $3 million, moving it up to No. 8 in the U.S. The CWA benefits youth and families in Oregon and southwest Washington.