This past Saturday we hosted our I Heart Oregon dinner, along with Jason Barwikowski of Clyde Common, David Nemarnik of Alloro Vineyard, and Chris Berg of Roots Wine Company. The idea for the dinner came about because Oregon celebrated its 150th year of statehood on Valentine’s Day and we felt it was appropriate to celebrate our love of this state we all call home. But for me, this event was really much more than just a winery dinner.
My first introduction to Clyde Common came a few years ago, when Jason Barwikowski was our featured chef for an early summer dinner we hosted shortly after I joined Anne Amie. I remember Jason’s kitchen crew being excited about one of the dishes they were plating; Oregon coast sardines, with cracked picholine olives, and fleur de sel. I was equally fascinated by his use of finishing salt as I was impressed by the camaraderie he seemed to inspire in the kitchen. A lot of caterers seem to just hammer out the service, and really appear to be “at work”, but here was a crew that was making beautiful food, and enjoying working with each other.
Clyde Common strikes me as a distinctly Oregonian restaurant. Jason’s dedication to local ingredients and flavors, combined with traditional culinary techniques, create an approachably adventurous experience. So it was a no-brainer to have Clyde Common prepare the food for our celebration of all things Oregon.
Working in wine country has also given me the chance to meet some very talented winemakers (one of whom I work for) and vineyard owners. There is a sense of camaraderie within the industry that is unique to Oregon. I first met Chris Berg at the Yamhill-Carlton AVA Open House we hosted last year. He’s got an easy to like, down to earth personality, and is passionate about making wines that reflect their Oregonian origins. David Nemarnik owns and operates Alloro Vineyard and also shares our passion for crafting artisan wines to enjoy with the incredible culinary bounty Oregon has to offer.
The fact that we’re in this industry alongside passionate winegrowers like Chris and David, and that creative and talented Chefs like Jason and the crew at Clyde Common can turn the incredible local bounty our state has to offer in a spectacular meal are just a few of the reasons why I love Oregon. Thank you to everyone who attended the dinner, and to my crew here at the winery for all your help and hard work, I’m glad I was able to share. Here’s to 150 years.
Director of Hospitality