Author: Sarah Wolcott, Winery & Restaurant Coordinator
As an agricultural product, wine involves lots of hard work. Think: manual labor like pruning grapes in the winter; driving the tractor through rows of vineyards; sorting grapes on the table during harvest; changing juice lines during crush. Wine almost always incorporates the taste buds in a different way, too: food plays an integral part of living the good life via farm-to-table culinary fare and many wineries focusing on the relationship between wine and food. Sipping one’s way through wine country is an awesome way to get to know the culture of an area and have FUN doing it.
Living one’s best wine life doesn’t only have to happen in wine country, however. Cork & Barrel, KIDS Center’s largest fundraising event, brings the best of wine country to Bend every summer. With an emphasis on a different wine region every year, Cork & Barrel is vested in re-creating wine country experiences in the high desert of Central Oregon. Entering its 8th year, Cork & Barrel is bringing up to 20 wineries from throughout the Paso Robles American Viticultural Area (AVA) to Bend, July 16-18, 2020!
200+ wineries and more than 60 wine grape varieties are grown in Paso Robles wine country, located between San Francisco and Los Angeles along California’s Central Coast. There is, quite literally, something for every wine lover in Paso wine country! Prefer sweet wines? Check and check! Paso has you covered with sweet whites that quench the thirst on a hot summer day. Lover of Zinfandel? Definitely check and check – Zinfandel is the area’s heritage wine varietal. With up to 20 wineries and their winemakers in attendance at Cork & Barrel 2020, guests are guaranteed to have an amazingly intimate time tasting through Paso Robles wine country on the green at Broken Top Club.
And then there’s the food……Cork & Barrel works with upwards of 20 culinary partners during three days of wine, food, and philanthropy for winemaker dinners, small bites to complement all the different wines at A Sip of Cork & Barrel, and the Winemaker Reception and the fine cuisine of the guest culinary team at Grand Cru.
Booker Wines, one of the first winery partners to commit to being a part of Cork & Barrel 2020, has an amazing history of farming and philanthropy in the Paso area: Claude and Dick Booker, two orphan brothers, farmed 1, 200 acres on Paso’s Westside and donated 100% of their estate to charity when they passed.
Alta Colina & Zenaida
Alta Colina and Zenaida wineries, also 2020 winery partners, both produce premium Zinfandel wines, among others, AND own homes in Central Oregon (and, pssstttt, will be hosting separate winemaker dinners in Bend in Spring 2020 before the big show).
Tablas Creek, a pioneer of California’s Rhone movement, imported vine cuttings from France and single-handedly built the reputation of Paso Robles’ Mediterranean climate as the premium location for growing Rhone varieties in California.
Imagine yourself traveling through the gentle, rolling hills of Paso Robles wine country while never lifting a finger, except to hold your wine glass at Cork & Barrel 2020, happening July 16-18 in Bend!