This shot from the KOIN Local 6 WeatherBug camera at Maryhill Winery was taken on April 1st, 2011 – but it’s no April fools joke.
It really is sunny like this an incredible amount of the time. And it’s much, much drier than places like Portland and Vancouver. Making it a great getaway for an afternoon if you want a break from the rain.
In my ongoing series of Friday interviews, I’m talking with the winery’s Joe Garoutte about the Columbia River Gorge Wineries Passport Weekend, happening the first weekend of April, and the upcoming summer concert series.
- You can visit Maryhill anytime, right? So what makes this Passport Weekend an extra special time to stop by?
There is nothing like visiting Maryhill Winery on a glorious day when there is excitement in the air. An event weekend like this when there is live music (Saturday only), hot food and barrel samples makes it feel like you’re enjoying the day with a large group of your close friends. Everyone is smiling and having a good time.
- How does the weekend work? Do I need tickets and is there a cost?
There is one small fee of $15 that can give you as much as $800 in savings if you were to visit all the wineries. There isn’t a ticket per se, but you’ll receive a very nice Passport Booklet that each winery will stamp, you can make notes in and has a pull-out form to send in at the conclusion of your weekend that may garner you a prize. There is also an iPhone app available that acts as your passport and gives you a GPS, detailed info and is good for years to come. You can find more information and/or purchase the passport at the following address: http://columbiagorgewine.com/passport_week_2011.htm
The iPhone app is available in the App store. Search Gorge Wine or go here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gorge-wine/id421053269?mt=8
- Has our wet winter had any kind of impact on the vineyard…good or bad?
In our unique micro-climate here at Maryhill Winery we have seen good things. The vines are doing very nicely, the weather is warming now, it is 57 degrees as of this writing (12:00pm Pacific) and that will cause vigorous growth which is great at this stage of the game.
- You guys were Washington Winery of the Year in 2009. But despite all your honors, is it difficult growing grapes in the weather extremes sometimes seen in the Gorge?
There are a couple things in our favor Bruce; for our estate vineyards, grown by the Gunkel family, the mighty Columbia moderates the temperature greatly. That coupled with being in the rain shadow of the cascades and the low elevation hovering around 600 ft and much lower in many cases, gives us great growing conditions that don’t vary in a negative way. The warm daytime temperatures and cool summer nights with the aid of the famed Columbia Gorge wind that the windsurfers love make for favorable conditions for the vines.
- I went to the Train concert at your amphitheater last summer. It was awesome. How many people does the amphitheater hold? And is the 2011 summer concert series announced yet?
Train was a record breaking concert for us. We maxed out our attendance for that one at approximately 4300 people. We have all but one act signed for 2011 and are very very close to releasing our lineup. Just like good wine this season’s announcement will be well worth the wait. We will have one of the most diverse seasons yet with 4 acts that will give everyone a chance to come and enjoy what has been voted as the “Best Attraction in the Gorge” in the “2010 Best of the Gorge” awards in the Gorge Guide® publication. http://bestofthegorge.com/results
Thanks, Joe for your time. I love showing your WeatherBug camera on the news!
The winery is located east of the Cascades – just east of The Dalles, Oregon and across the bridge. Maryhill Winery is on the Washington side of the Columbia River. I’ve personally found the drive to be an incredibly scenic 95 minutes from Portland.