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CHCIAGO, Il. – As trade events go, Thursday was a smash hit. The Willamette Valley wineries created a standing room only response during their first trip to Chicago.

Organizers said 500 trade (wine importers, wholesalers, retailers, and wine press) members registered and crowded into City Winery on the city’s near downtown west side.

Even more impressive was the 500 registered for the public tasting event Thursday night at $65 per person.

Penner-Ash

Penner-Ash

I was able to interview some old Oregon friends and several I’ve always wanted to meet. I chatted with Lynn Penner-Ash, David Adelsheim, and John Bergstrom among others.

Oregon Pinot Noir has established a standard that almost never disappoints. The wines were amazing. I talked with many of those folks and others about the emergency – or continued emergency – of Oregon Chardonnay.

After catching up with old friends Jesse Lange, Bill and Donna of Winderlea, and David Milliman of Drouhin, I dashed across town to the Provence tasting.

Breban

Breban

The most amazing thing about the wonderful Provence wines is the price point. Fabulous Rose’ can cost as little as $12-$18. I had the chance to interview Jean-Jacquies Breban, President of the Provence Wine Council about Rose’ booming popularlity in the US and what that means to producers back in France.

I have notes on some labels to explore and specific great wines I tasted I’ll get up in next few days. I remain on the road for my real job for a couple more days.

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