Cheers to 2015!

Here's to 2014 and another 365 days stretched out with untold possibilities
Here's to 2014 and another 365 days stretched out with untold possibilities
Baby Girl & Challenge (a.k.a. Snow & Charming) the first night in their forever home
Baby Girl & Challenge (a.k.a. Snow & Charming) the first night in their forever home

As 2014 winds down I find myself in a reflective mood. My year began with the adoption of our very special pups, Challenge and Baby Girl, from the SW Washington Humane Society. Little did they know how much time they would be spending in tasting rooms, wineries and on the patios and porches of dog-friendly, wine-focused restaurants around Vancouver and beyond. Little did I know how much walking, hiking and jogging I’d be doing to keep these special dogs engaged. For all that effort, I really should be in better shape.

view from W. & J. Graham's in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal (Porto is on the left)
view from W. & J. Graham's in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal (Porto is on the left)

Some of my favorite wine contributions have been bringing a handful of Canadian wineries to you after one of my and my mom’s infamous adventures (don’t ever ask me to navigate although we were never more than a couple miles from a winery), tasting fabulous reds in breathtaking areas throughout Spain and enjoying a vineyard and cooperage tour in Haro, Spain (the heart of Rioja), touring Port lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia (where Port is really aged not the much lauded Porto, Portugal as so many think), driving along the Douro River between Peso da Régua and Pinhão in the Douro Valley and tasting Port in its birth place on my birthday, time spent at Hood River, Willamette Valley and Umpqua Valley wineries, seeing this wine blog come into print with the revamping of The Columbian’s Weekend section and meeting or becoming better acquainted with our amazing area vintners and knowledgeable wine staff throughout Clark County.

Our well-appointed, private tasting room in the cave of Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards in the Umpqua Valley
Our well-appointed, private tasting room in the cave of Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards in the Umpqua Valley

2015 promises to be dynamic with an increase in SW Washington wineries and tasting rooms and I will be broadening my scope to bring some more of those to you. Since I do enjoy traveling, Corks & Forks is also adding a wine travel column four times each year so watch for that. Several of my Facebook followers do not live in the area and I’m trying to be more relevant to faithful readers regardless of residence with suggestions on wine pairings with specific recipes in my Monthly Wrap Up, Wine 101 and Trending Now – a nod to popular wine ideas of the moment.

Wine traces history. It is a constantly evolving art form. Just when you think you know it all (not me by a long shot), you taste a Riesling that blows you away when you swear you don’t care for Riesling or enjoy a bottle of Seghesio Omaggio that, as my sister likes to say, is ‘oh my goshio’ and it cements an afternoon in time as one of the best in memory. In moderation, it can be the backdrop to many a special occasion and elevate food with a perfect pairing. The liquid in each lovingly-crafted bottle is bursting with a bouquet so exquisite that it begs to be picked apart, toasted and treasured. Cheers to 2015!