Oregon Wine + Food Is an Impressive Portland-Authored Guide to Our Local Wine Scene

Plus, the book features 80 recipes from local chefs designed to pair with wines from pinot noir to viognier.

By Katherine Chew Hamilton May 12, 2023

There are some cookbooks you skim for the photos, and there are others that make you want to thumb through every page, finding something new each time. Oregon Wine + Food (May 1, Figure 1 Publishing), the brand-new book from Portland food writers Danielle Centoni and Kerry Newberry, is the latter. It’s equal parts wine book and cookbook, featuring a comprehensive introduction to Oregon wine, profiles of 40 winemakers, and 80 recipes from local chefs.  

With over 700 wineries in just the Willamette Valley alone, how did Centoni and Newberry narrow the profiles down to just 40? “There's pioneers, but there's also some really new producers, there's independent wineries, there's big conglomerates. But everyone had a story to tell and everyone was contributing something to the industry to make it better, to make it special,” says Centoni. You’ll read about Chris Fladwood, the winemaker at Soter Vineyards, who picked up a book about winemaking by chance while he was a soldier deployed in Iraq. Remy Wines also makes an appearance, owned and run by McMinnville’s first woman and queer mayor Remy Drabkin. There are Portland wineries in the mix, too, including Division Winemaking Company and Fullerton Wines. McCollum Heritage 91, founded by former Trailblazer CJ McCollum, is also featured.

And while pinot noir is integral to Oregon wine culture, you’ll also find tons of other grape varieties celebrated in this book. At Day Wines, Brianne Day experiments with Sicilian grapes like Zibibbo and Nero d’Avola. At Valcan Cellars, Argentine-born JP Valot uses Argentina’s most famous grape, malbec, to make an award-winning white malbec.

Danielle Centoni, left, and Kerry Newberry are the Portland-based authors of Oregon Wine + Food.

What was the common thread between all 40 wineries? “There’s a rich variety of people whose different paths in life brought them here,” says Newberry. “There’s a lot of people experimenting with new wine grapes, there’s a lot of people who are adhering to making these beautiful pinot noirs. There’s something about Oregon winemakers, the culture here. People are willing to take risks, and that’s really how the industry started, and it’s never lost that upstart vibe.” What's more, notes Centoni, the spirit of collaboration is strong here, whether it's wineries coming together to form ¡Salud!, an organization that provides mobile health care to seasonal vineyard workers, or multiple winemakers joining forces to turn grapes into wine at Brooks Wine after owner Jimi Brooks unexpectedly passed away right before harvest.

Each profile is followed by two recipes, designed to pair with that winemaker’s wines. One of Centoni’s favorites is chef Tim Payne of Cowhorn Vineyard’s spring pea farinata with goat cheese and pesto alongside the vineyard’s grenache. It’s a chickpea flatbread that you can easily modify with whatever vegetables are in season. Newberry is partial to the summer bean salad with stone fruits and peppers, which comes from Abbey Road Farm’s chef Will Preisch and pairs with their Trousseau Gris rosé. One surprising pairing: oatmeal cran-raisin cookies from McCollum’s personal chef Joy Dario, matched with his rosé. 

Oregon Food + Wine is Centoni’s seventh cookbook; meanwhile, Newberry has written for several food and wine-related publications including Wine and Spirits magazine. It’s a great starting point for anyone new to the world of Oregon wine (I’m going to be using it as inspiration for things to do on the weekend), or folks looking for uncomplicated recipes with wine pairings that’ll impress for weeknight meals and dinner parties alike.

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