Passport to Culture
A few years ago I embarked on a journey that has been life changing. I had the opportunity to visit as many Oregon wineries as possible and to ask for one bottle of wine for the Oregon Mozart Players auction – and I took it. The collection has grown from 150 to over 270 bottles in the last three years from wineries as far afield at Zerba in Milton Freewater, 12 Ranch in Bonanza, and Foris, near Oregon Caves.
During these visits I have learned more about wines and winemaking than I ever dreamed. I’ve been afford the opportunity to take part in all aspects of the industry, from planting to harvest to bottling. Along the way I have sat quietly in a vineyard as the sun came up waiting for bud break, listened to the murmur of activity as the grapes are picked and sorted, and sat down satisfied with a hard day of labor with a glass of freshly bottled Pinot Noir.
I’ve wanted to give something back from this experience, and a few months ago I came up with the idea of creating photographic etchings to show, sell, or give away to help promote wineries in Oregon. It started with Saginaw Vineyards and a picture of their big Birch tree. After turning it in to an etching, I became obsessed with getting an image of a tree somehow related to the different wineries of the South Willamette Valley. The culmination of this, after a conversation with the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, was a show of the works printed on wood, a series of wine tastings at the museum, an edition of 30 etchings of 17 wineries, a show of the works printed on wood, a series of wine tastings at the museum, and a dinner on the 27th of August to celebrate our local bounty.
See the full schedule of events for this month’s The Art of Wine: A Passport to Culture in Eugene.
Robert Canaga currently serves as a board member of Travel Lane County, Lane County Cultural Coalition, Oregon Mozart Players and Eugene’s First Friday ArtWalk. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon, a full-time artist and Oregon wine enthusiast. Robert blogs at Oregon Wine and Music Project.
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