What’s the Word?In Washington County, Oregon

The Naughty or Nice Guide to the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: December 22nd, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

naughty nice collage

It’s a little late to change your status on Santa’s “Naughty and Nice List.” As you travel to the Tualatin Valley in the New Year, however, your adventures can fall in either the naughty or nice camp. Truthfully, we don’t care either way because your getaway should be as healthy or gluttonous as you’d like! Below, find our own Naughty and Nice List:

Nice

Naughty

Eat Syun Izakaya offers premier sushi and Japanese fare to those who appreciate creative, clean tastes. Not only is the food outstanding, but the heavy dose of Omega-3 makes it healthy, too. Cruise In Country Diner has all the classics you love in an old school setting: burgers, fries and shakes. Though—gotcha!—this spot isn’t all naughty with its focus on organic ingredients and healthy oils.
Drink  

Stash Tea has a flagship store filled with hundreds of delightful tea options. It’s near impossible to go overboard with tea and its health benefits put it firmly on the “Nice List.”

 

Bootleggers Whiskey Bar will have you feeling like a rule-breaker with its prohibition themed cocktails and décor. Feel like a bad boy as you order moonshine to sip in a dark, romantic corner.

Be Merry ME SPA will melt stress away with its premium spa services. The spa is conveniently located in Bridgeport Village, making time for both pampering and tax-free shopping. Glowing Greens is a 3-D miniature golf course with neon extraterrestrials lurking around every hole. The alien vibe will have you feeling like you’re in a scene of MIB. Don’t worry, we’re pretty sure the aliens don’t bite.
Buy  

Wine, wine and more wine! Why not when you can be nice to your wallet and skip hefty baggage fees with the “Oregon Wines Fly Free” promotion from Alaska Air?

 

Cabela’s has all those outdoor toys that you really want, but also really do not need. Go ahead—be bad—and get that sporty gadget from a leading outdoor retailer (tax-free, too!).

We wanted to include places to sleep in our Naughty and Nice list, but all of our hotels truly make the Nice List. So, book a hot deal for a luxurious getaway.

 

New Year’s Eve Itinerary

Posted on: December 19th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
The kitschy, yet regal McMenamins Grand Lodge is a perfect mix for New Year's Eve dancing.

The kitschy, yet regal McMenamins Grand Lodge is a perfect mix for New Year’s Eve dancing.

Let the countdown begin—we’re mere days away from saying hello to 2015. With all the holiday hullabaloo going on, it’s easy to let New Year’s Eve plans fall through the cracks. But not this year, friends! We’ve taken the busy work out of the equation—you can simply use our New Year’s itinerary for a sure-fire good time and good New Year.

First, check into a room at the McMenamins Grand Lodge or one of our other standout hotel options. Just be sure to make reservations ahead of time!

Afternoon Bubbly Excursion
Before the sun sets, hop in the car to search for some sparkling wine to pop open come midnight. Though, you won’t have to search very hard—simply head to Shafer Vineyard Cellars for the Shafer Cuveé. Open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the winery produces its sparkling wine in the traditional French champagne method, Methode Champenoise. Very classy, indeed.

Dinner: Small Plates on a Big Night
We’re looking into your future—near future that is—and we see dancing. Lots and lots of dancing. So make dinner light, yet delicious at small plates at 1910 Main. As the name would suggest, you and your dinner companions can share delicious morsels of creative cuisine. It’s a celebratory meal that doesn’t require a post-feast nap!

Party Time!
Back at the McMenamins Grand Lodge, a night of good music and revelry will kick off at 9 p.m. with  New Year’s Eve at the Grand Lodge. Boogie to live music from three different bands. Choose from Americana, rock or Motown beats.

Welcome to 2015!
Start the year off on the right foot, literally, with the ranger-led America’s State Parks First Day Hike at beautiful Stub Stewart State Park. Here, you’ll find fresh air and a fresh perspective.

Now that you’ve properly worked up an appetite from your hike, chow down at the Ironwork Grill. Using seasonal ingredients from local growers, your meal will fill you with meaningful sustenance for the first day of the New Year.

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DIY Lace Alpaca Shawl

Posted on: December 17th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

 

The Alpacas at EasyGo Farm are really getting into the holiday spirit!

The Alpacas at EasyGo Farm are really getting into the holiday spirit!

Question: What’s softer than soft? Answer: Alpaca yarn

You’d know this first-hand if you have ever visited EasyGo Farm or Alpacas of Oregon, which raise alpacas and sheep. In addition to furry hellos with the grazing alpacas, don’t miss either farms’ shop or the soft alpaca yarn for sale. If you’re a seasoned knitter, then there’s still time to whip up a homemade gift with this luxurious yarn. EasyGo Farm’s co-owner, Linda Bolewicz, shared a pattern for a shawl made with alpaca fiber and large needles, which lends itself to the triple threat of homemade gifts: fast, soft and cozy as can be.

Lace Alpaca Shawl

Pattern by Ronnie Spoll, provided by EasyGo Farm
Level: Intermediate

Yarn:
Alpaca Handknitting Yarn
70% Alpaca, 30% Merino  
Three light & three skeins

Gauge:
10sts = 4” in St st
US #10 (6mm) or size to obtain gauge

Directions:
Stitch Pattern is a YO Flower design. The first half of the shawl is shaped with increases at the end of row. The second half of shawl is shaped with decreases at end of row. When the shawl is narrow there is not room to work the second flower. Continue with increases until the shawl is wide enough to place flowers.
First Half of Shawl: Cast on 3 sts

  • Row 1(RS): K Row 2(WS): K Row 3: K 1, inc, K 1 (4 sts). Row 4: K Row 5: K 1, inc, K 2 (5 sts). Row 6: K Row 7: K 2, inc, K 2 (6 sts). Row 8: K Row 9: K 3, inc, K 2 (7 sts). Row 10: K 3, P 1, K 3. Row 11: K until 3 sts rem, inc, K 2. Row 12: K 3, P until 3 sts rem, K 3. Row 13-18: Rep Rows 11 & 12 (11 sts).

First Flower:

  • Row 1 (RS): K 5, * K 2 tog, yo twice, K 13; rep from * or K until 3 sts rem, inc, K 2. Row 2 (WS): K 3, * P until you reach a yo, P into first yo, drop the 2nd yo; rep from * or P until 3 sts rem, K 3
  • Row 3: K 4, * K2tog, yo twice, K 1, yo twice, K2tog, K 10; rep from * or K until 3 sts rem, inc, K 2
  • Row 4: Rep Row 2. Row 5: K 7, * yo twice, K2tog, K 13; rep from * or K until 3 sts rem, inc, K 2
  • Row 6: Rep Row 2. Row 7: K until 3 sts rem, inc, K 2. Row 8: K 3, P until 3 sts rem, K 3. Rows 9 – 12: Rep Rows 7 & 8

Second Flower:

  • Row 1: K 12, * K2tog, yo twice, K 13; rep from * or K until 3 sts rem, inc, K 2
  • Row 2: K 3, * P until you reach yo, P into first yo, drop the 2nd yo, P 13; rep from *or P until 3 sts rem, K 3
  • Row 3: K 11, * K2tog, yo twice, K 1, yo twice, K2tog, K 10; rep from * or K until 3 sts rem, inc, K 2. Row 4: Rep Row 2. Row 5: K 13, * yo twice, K2tog, K 13; rep from * or K until 3 sts rem, inc, K 2. Row 6: Rep Row 2. Row 7: K until 3 sts rem, inc, K 2. Row 8: K 3, P until 3 sts rem, K 3. Rows 9 – 12: Rep Rows 7 & 8

Repeat first flower and second flower sections until 28” long. This completes the first half of the shawl. Then, the second half of the shawl is shaped with decreases. Continue to work first flower and second flower sections as established until you reach 6 sts rem. Then do the following:

  • Row 1 (RS): K until 3 sts rem, K2tog, K 1. Row 2 (WS): K Rows 3 – 6: Rep rows 1 & 2 (3 sts). Rows 7 & 8: K
  • BO, weave in ends and block.

Finished shawl will measure approximately 84” wide and 28” long.

Have a warm ‘n cozy holiday!

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Winners of the Focus on Autumn Nature Photo Contest

Posted on: December 15th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

We’re on the final countdown to the winter solstice, which means it’s time to soak up the last few days of the official fall season. It has been a gorgeous few months of bright leaves, birds and skies—and we have the pictures to prove it! As entries for the Focus on Autumn Nature Photo Contest came rolling in, we were continuously reminded of how beautiful the Tualatin Valley really is.

After much deliberation, the judges weighed in and the crème de la crème of the photo contest have now been placed and awarded. Though it’s worth mentioning that each entry was standout in its own way. See all of the entries on our Flickr page.

First place: Larry Chow, David Hill Vineyard & Winery

second place_Batmobile_88
Second Place: Corey Rudolph, Autumn’s Pass at Bald Peak

Third place_Corey Rudolph
Third place: Alec Haskard, Solitary Egret in the fog at Fernhill Wetlands

Honorable Mention_Alec Frank
Honorable Mention: Jason Lindseth, Buxton Trestles over the Banks-Vernonia State Trail

Buxton Trestle
The winning photos of the Focus on Autumn Nature Photo Contest showcase a cross-section of the Tualatin Valley outdoor experience. Each location is easily accessible and utterly gorgeous. While the Bald Peak State Scenic Viewpoint is a thing of wonder with its wide view of mountains and valleys, the drive to it on its own—as Corey Rudolph’s photography proves—is well worth it on its own. Use a complimentary copy of our Nature Passport to learn more about the lovely birdwatching at Fernhill Wetlands, as well as smooth cycling jaunts down the Banks-Vernonia State Trail. And, of course, striking outdoor vistas include vineyard views, too. This is the case with David Hill Vineyard & Winery, whose vines gracefully exemplify the best of every season. Use these winning photos—and the places where they were photographed—as inspiration for your own itinerary to Oregon’s Washington County: The Tualatin Valley.

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Holiday Wine Pairings

Posted on: December 12th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey 1 Comment
Pop open some bubbly from the Tualatin Valley when celebrating the holidays.

Pop open some bubbly from the Tualatin Valley when celebrating the holidays.

The holidays are all about excess. And hey—we’re not complaining. With all the decadent cheese plates, buffet spreads, and candy-cane treats, you’re going to need a plethora of drinking options to pair with the best holiday grub. Below, see our suggested beer, wine and cider pairings for each course of your most extravagant holiday meal.

Appetizers
During this time of year, the appetizer course can linger for hours as something delicious slowly roasts in the oven. So drink something smooth, easy and of which you can have a few. Enter, Two Kilts Brewing Company’s Belgian Brune. The Oregon craft brew taste good with just about anything (especially stinky cheeses) and it’s hard to tire of it.

Additionally, amp up your bread and olive oil game by adding Cooper Mountain Vineyards’ 12-year barrel-aged balsamic vinegar to the mix. The vinegar is made from the winery’s organic and biodynamic Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes and, point blank, it’s fantastic.

Toasts
Cin! Cin! Cheers to family and the coming new year with Kramer Vineyards’ 2013 Celebrate Müller-Thurgau. The tropical notes of hibiscus, banana and kiwi will bring a little summer pep into your winter grumbles. Kramer Vineyard’s Celebrate Rosé of Pinot Noir is a cheery choice, too.

Main Course
Let’s switch it up this year. Why not try cider with your honey baked ham? A nice, crisp one like Bull Run Cider’s Powerhouse Dry Cider can also be used in the cooking liquid for a truly tasty dish.

Dessert
We recently re-discovered the greatness of port after dinner. The rich digestif is the perfect send-off to a great meal. Try one of David Hill Vineyard & Winery’s two delicious ports. Sweet lovers sip on the 2008 Estate Muscat Port, while those who prefer a bit more spice will enjoy the 2008 Estate Pinot Noir Port.

Next Day Brunch
After a night of merriment via food and booze, you may need a little hair of the dog in the morning. For a great Bellini, mix a bit of bubbly Provincial Vineyards 2013 Estate Nova Sparkling Pinot Gris with peach purée.

Happy holidays! Drink well and responsibly during this festive season. Cheers!

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DIY Gift: Coffee Body Scrub

Posted on: December 10th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Using local beans, our coffee scrub is the perfect way to wake up without actually taking a sip of coffee!

Using local beans, our coffee scrub is the perfect way to wake up in the shower!

Coffee aficionados never leave a trip to the greater Portland region without a few bags of coffee tucked into their carry on. After all, we do have the best coffee and a pound of freshly roasted beans make a perfect holiday gift. Our coffee is so good, in fact, that it’s worthy of more than just mere morning joe for a solely in-your-cup consumption. We like to take it a step further, jumpstarting your coffee addiction to your shower time, as well. For a thoughtful gift, whip up a batch of coffee body scrub. It’s a caffeinated exfoliation that will perk anyone up for the day ahead.

Ingredients:
1 cup coffee grounds from BJ’s Coffee Company, Insomnia Coffee Company or Longbottom Coffee
½ cup brown turbinado sugar
1 cup coconut oil
2-3 drops of essential oils  or a dash of cinnamon (optional)

Directions:
Mix all of the ingredients together until well combined. That’s it!

Store in an airtight container. Use within 2 months.

To use:
Take a small scoop of the scrub and massage into wet skin, followed by a rinsing with warm water. Hello, soft skin!

P.S. In lieu of scrubbing on local coffee, you can of course just sip it instead! Learn more about Tualatin Valley brews by reading our Buzz on Coffee.

Five Places to Buy Beautiful Ornaments

Posted on: December 8th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Choose from thousands of ornaments at Sleighbells Gift Shop in Sherwood.

Choose from thousands of ornaments at Sleighbells Gift Shop in Sherwood.

What are your most cherished holiday ornaments? Whether they’re pristine crystal or made with dried macaroni and glue, many ornaments hold a special story. Add to your ornament collection—or to the collection of someone you love—at one of our holiday stores or festivals. The ornament will not only add to your home’s festive cheer, but also be a lovely reminder of your trip to the Tualatin Valley for years to come. 

1. Art on Broadway Holiday Boutique
Nestled in historic downtown Beaverton, pop into this holiday sale for handmade ornaments with a sophisticated twist. To create a luxurious gift, wrap the delicate ornament in a velvet throw or silk scarf—also available at Art on Broadway! The holiday sale is open through December 27; closed Christmas Day and the day following.

2. Live Laugh Love Glass
This glass blowing studio has multiple ornament workshops where you can create your own classic holiday or snowman ornament. As a little present to you, the studio is even offering a half-off Groupon deal on ornament classes. For those who prefer to only be around solid glass, you can simply purchase artist-made ornaments from Live Laugh Love Glass’ location at Washington Square—pick up a few for the tree while you’re shopping for all your other (tax-free!) presents.

3. Miki’s Christmas Shop
Find European-styled ornaments at this Old-World holiday shop located in the tasting room at Shafer Vineyard Cellars. In addition to ornaments, you can revel in the shops nutcracker and pyramid collections. Of course, a little wine tasting will add some extra Christmas cheer, as well.

4. Sequoia Gallery All Member Show & Sale
For a truly spectacular sight, check out this show’s annual Holiday Ornament Tree, which sparkles with handmade ornaments of all kinds: glass, wood, miniature painted canvases and more. Pick your favorite from the tree and then add it to your own at home. The holiday sale runs through the end of January; gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm.

5. Sleighbells

Drive through the breathtaking holiday tree farm until a large-scale nutcracker welcomes you to the farm’s year-round holiday shop. With thousands of ornaments to choose from, you can find an ornament to best fit your passions.

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Love Language Gift Guide

Posted on: December 5th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Find the perfect gift in the Tualatin Valley.

Find the perfect gift in the Tualatin Valley.

What’s your love language? By love language, we mean the way that you prefer to express and experience love. Do you connect with those you love via heartfelt words, actions, gifts, time spent together and physical touch? No matter how you express how you care this holiday season, you can best celebrate it in the Oregon’s Washington County: the Tualatin Valley.

Words of Affirmation
Words matter. Tell your honey how you feel over a romantic dinner at decarli (just say whatever you have to say before eating the polenta fries with gorgonzola butter). You can also have live theater express feelings of love for you as Bob declares his love for Betty in the production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.

Acts of Service
For some, actions speak louder than words. Don’t just give a gift—make one! The glass blowers at Live Laugh Love Glass offer classes where you can create one-of-a-kind pieces in their studio. Even if your piece comes out a bit wobbly, the recipient will love it even more for its imperfections.

Receiving Gifts
Big or small, a gift wrapped in a bow is a lovely thing to receive, especially when that present is one-of-a-kind. Support local artisans and boutiques with a shop small mentality while visiting the Tualatin Valley, ranging from sweet little shops to vibrant holiday markets.

Quality Time
In the whirlwind of our busy lives, there is a love language that is spoken through not minutes, but hours and even days. Get in the car for a day of wine tasting on Sip47 Wine Route, complete with 17 purveyors of Oregon wine, saké and cider. Beyond driving the scenic roads, you’ll savor the time spent leisurely sipping locally made libations.

Physical Touch
For many, we have an innate need for touch. With adrenaline pumping after an adventure at Pumpkin Ridge Zip Tour, feel your partner’s heartbeat as you hug each other in congratulations. For a more low key endeavor, there’s always a couples massage at the Ruby Spa at the McMenamins Grand Lodge.

No matter your love language, we hope you have a joyous season of gift giving and gift receiving!

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Holiday Events in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: December 3rd, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Happy ho-ho-holidays! December is a prime time for travel, ranging from family getaways to visiting friends and family. Whatever brings you to the greater Portland region this winter, you’ll find that holidays are especially warm-and-fuzzy when celebrating with Oregonians! Beyond the holiday tree lightings and tax-free shopping events in the Tualatin Valley, we’ve rounded up a gaggle of other festive outings.

beaverton holiday decorations

All I Want for Christmas: Toy and Dolls We Remember
Runs through January 3| Washington County Museum | 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.| $4-$6
Remember when all you wanted for Christmas was a dolly? This museum exhibit showcases iconic dolls through the years, from Scarlett O’Hara to Barbie.

Helvetia Christmas Festival
December 5-December 14| Helvetia Christmas Tree Farm | 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. | free
Celebrate the holidays like they did in the good ol’ days with a warm drink to hold while you wait for your marshmallow to roast over the fire. The holiday tree farm’s gift shop smells of more than evergreens, but homemade lavender gifts, too!

Annual Holiday Market at Cornelius Pass Roadhouse
December 7 | McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse | noon to 5 p.m. | free
Wander the perimeter of the charming octagonal barn while sipping mulled wine and you’ll feel as festive as all get-out. Then up the ante even with holiday treats, décor and presents. Look out for the Dickens Carolers in Victorian garb!

Breakfast with Santa at Cornelius Pass Roadhouse
December 13-14 | McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse | 8 a.m. & 10 a.m. | $13-$18
Who wants to have breakfast with Santa? That’s just what the kids can do at this relaxing event, sharing a hot and toasty meal with the big guy in the red hat.

Storytime with Mrs. Claus
December 13 | Al’s Garden Center in Sherwood | 10:30 a.m. | free
Mrs. Claus loves to read to the elves—so she’s taking storytime to kids in the Tualatin Valley next!

The Nutcracker Ballet
December 13-14 | Forest Grove High School | 1 p.m. & 6 p.m. | $8-$12
Ballet Forest Grove presents its annual production of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. Delight in the a classic story, magical sets and whimsical costumes.

Holidays on the Hill
December 13-14 | Plum Hill Vineyards | 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. | free
What’s the holiday season without a little wine? This tasting room transforms itself into a quaint holiday shop for the weekend.

Live Theater

A Christmas Survival Guide
December4-21 | Broadway Rose New Stage | 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. | $20-$35
A light-hearted revue takes playful jabs at holiday traditions and holiday stresses.

Miracle on 43rd Street: A 1940s Holiday Radio Massacre
December4-23 | Venetian Theatre & Bistro | 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. | $22-$32
The Christmas classic gets a seedy makeover, complete with a mob boss!

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas
December5-21 | HART Theatre | 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. | $11-$17
Be transported to the world of a bygone era, filled with the music and heart of the 1940s.

The Wines of Christmas
December 21 | Renaissance Wines | 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. | $20
Enjoy a tasting of local wine and food pairings while enjoying the merriment of a holiday-themed reading.

Choral & Orchestra Events

Live Nativity Scene and Musical Open House
December 4-6 | Tualatin Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints | 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. | free

ISing Noel: Christmas in France
December 5-7 | Bethel Congregational United Church | varying times | donations welcome

Hillsboro Community Youth Choir Winter Concert
December 10| Liberty High School | 4 p.m. | $2-$8

Spirit of Christmas: A Time for Joy
December 13 | Sherwood High School Performing Arts Center | 2:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. | $6

Oregon Mandolin Orchestra Annual Holiday Concert
December 19 | Walters Cultural Arts Center | 7:30 p.m. | $15-$20

Selections from Handel’s Messiah and Judas Maccabaeus
December 19 | St. Matthew Catholic Church | 7:30 p.m. | $25

That’s a whole lot of holiday cheer for you—and we didn’t even include everything! For a full listing of holiday events, check out our events and festivals page.

Ask a Local: Lee Farms’ Annie Lee-Bartelamia

Posted on: December 1st, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
The Lee siblings prep for the holiday season. From  left to right: Erika, Kara, Annie, Teagan and Tommy.

The Lee siblings prep for the holiday season. From left to right: Erika, Kara, Annie, Teagan and Tommy.

When it comes to vacation planning, nothing is more valuable than the local scoop. So, we turned to Anne Lee-Bartelamia, Farm Manager of the charming tree farm Lee Farms. Born and raised in Oregon’s Washington County, she has the ultimate tips!

What makes Lee Farms so special?
We are a family-run business that is a seven-generation farm! Our ancestors planted their roots in Tualatin in 1869 and we have been here since.

What do you love most about interacting with visitors?
In addition to our farm store and operations we are a kid-friendly attraction. We get to see excited kids come out and enjoy the animals all year! We have an amazing customers that we have grown up with and who are now bringing the next generation to our farm.

What’s your favorite part of the holidays?
During the holidays I feel like I get to connect with our guests on a more personal level. For each person that comes, I feel like I get to be a part of their holiday tradition, which gives me those warm fuzzy feelings that I’m sure a lot of people also get around the holidays.

What’s one can’t-miss attraction?
Well, now we have Cabela’s World Forestry Outfitter; that is a pretty exciting given for a lot of people coming into Tualatin.

Describe a perfect day in Washington County with them.
When we have guests, the first thing we do is tour some of the amazing wineries. We are big fan of Blakeslee Vineyard Estate!

What’s a favorite “hidden gem” of the area?
When we are looking for a break from farm, we love to head out to Hagg Lake and go fishing.

Where do you go when you want some seriously good grub?
Whenever we can’t settle on a restaurant, we head down to Bridgeport Village and see which smell pulls us in. I also vote for Pastini Pastaria so that I can some tortellini gorgonzola.

What should every visitor take home as a souvenir?
Every visitor should go home with an amazing bottle of wine, hazelnuts (covered in chocolate, preferably), Marionberry jam and honey.

Describe Oregon’s Washington County in 5 words or less.
Four seasons of paradise.

Other tips from locals:
Curiosities Vintage Mall’s Travis Diskin
Maggie Buns’ Maggie Pike
Clean Water Service’s Sheri Wantland
SakéOne’s Steve Vuylsteke
Bag&Baggage’s Scott Palmer
Vine Gogh’s Jenny Schildan
Cooper Mountain Vineyards’ Barbara Gross
Abbey Creek Vineyard’s Bertony Faustin
Urban Decanter’s Rebecca Kramer