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Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
Free Home Page Stories & Photos
The most in-depth, comprehensive site about the Skagit

Covers from British Columbia to Puget Sound. Counties covered: Skagit, Whatcom, Island, San Juan, Snohomish & BC. An evolving history dedicated to committing random acts of historical kindness
Noel V. Bourasaw, editor (bullet) 810 Central Ave., Sedro-Woolley, Washington, 98284
Home of the Tarheel Stomp (bullet) Mortimer Cook slept here & named the town Bug

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Portal Introduction to Food and Wine

      When I moved back to my hometown of Sedro-Woolley on New Year's Day 1992 to care for my mother, I effectively left behind my former career as a wine writer, administrator and jack-of-all-trades/master-of-none. That coincided very nearly with the launch of the World Wide Web by Sir Tim Berners Lee and the folks at CERN in Switzerland. The concept of connecting remotely from your home office was still just a dream for most of us. When we launched this website in August 2000, my wine-writing days were a distant memory.
      People who remembered that earlier writing, however — along with regular readers over the past years, have often asked if I could incorporate a wine-and-food portal on the website. We stuck our toes in the water last fall after visiting the Sonoma County wineries again after 20 years. Alas, we discovered, that bug was still in our system. We will be writing more such articles for publication after another visit down south this fall and subsequent visits to the Washington vineyards, both east of the Cascades and right here in Skagit County.
      Thus we are launching this Wine and Food Portal. It is tiny to begin, and we will not flesh it out fully until after we complete our highest priorities of finishing our collection of stories on CDs. The story decisions will largely be driven by what our current readers and subscribers request. Thus, if you are one of those who want to read more observations on the history of these subjects, as well as modern trends the wine-bibber encounters on the shelf and on tour, please send us a quick email. And do not hesitate to ask very basic questions about wine, historical or modern, in fear that we will look down our noses. If we do not know the answers, we will consult the experts and founts of knowledge who educated, such as Ron Irvine, Jon Beal, Bob James, Phil Togni, Louis P. Martini, Robert Mondavi, et al. We will also continue the exploration of Washington Wine history that Ron Irvine surveyed expertly in his book that is a must for Northwest Wine Lovers, The Wine Project. Ron Irvine is the owner of "garagiste" Vashon Winery and in turn, depended greatly on the encyclopedic knowledge of the late Walter Clore, who taught everyone in the Northwest about the potential of Washington Wine from his study in the Yakima Valley.
      Meanwhile, we mark the beginning of this portal by quoting from a most interesting article that we excerpt from David Brewster's informative Crosscut daily digest of Northwest news, which is delivered via email by request.

New wine in old bottles
      A European idea is catching on in Washington's wine country: reusable bottles. It saves money and is kind to the environment.
By Harris Meyer

      Wine drinkers in many Pacific Northwest towns get frustrated that there's no place to recycle the heavy glass bottles that hold their beloved vino. In Europe, people go to their local winery and cheaply fill a jug with fresh table wine for the week. Inspired by that tradition, two Northwest winemakers have begun selling wine in reusable liter bottles that local customers can return for refills. Besides giving you a virtuous buzz, it's a good deal for a solid, relatively inexpensive house wine.
      Last summer, Gordon Taylor of Daven Lore Winery in Prosser, Washington, began selling his Recovery Red blend in Italian-style water bottles, sealed with a Grolsch-style snap top, at the nearby Saturday farmer's market. Finding customers enthusiastic, he's continued the program over the winter through a Prosser wine shop, Bonnie's Vine & Gift. He's discussing expanding distribution to Yakima and to local restaurants.
      At a price of $20 for the first bottle and $10 for refills, Taylor so far has sold about 300 bottles, which are gassed to last at least two months. The wine is a non-vintage red whose blend varies with each batch; it's currently cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah, and malbec sourced from Snipes Mountain. The $10 Recovery Red refills are much cheaper than Daven Lore's well-made regular reds, which sell for about $25 for a 750 milliliter bottle.
      Taylor, a gregarious former food industry consultant who's been operating the winery with his wife Joan since 2005, got the idea from traveling around Europe and Australia and seeing people fill their own containers at wineries. "Almost everyone gets the concept quick and embraces it," he says. "For local sales, people are more likely to buy a $10 bottle than a $25 bottle."
      Besides reusing the bottle, Taylor says he doesn't have to buy corks, foil, or labels, which further reduces the carbon footprint.
      Taylor uses the same liter water bottles that James Matthisen of Springhouse Cellar started using about two years ago when he opened his tasting room in Hood River, Oregon, but Matthisen's refillable bottle program works a little differently. Customers at Springhouse Cellar's downtown tasting room can choose from 10 wines he serves from spigots. Matthisen seals the bottle with a snap top and charges customers $5 for the bottle plus the regular 750 milliter price. People then bring the bottle back washed, or swap it out for a fresh bottle, and pay only for the refill. . . .
      Taylor says he hopes his Recovery Red program will be the first of several green initiatives at Daven Lore, including wind machines and photovoltaic panels. "But we're a one man and one woman show, and it will take time to get there."
      [Following the rules of "Fair Use," we only quoted a portion of the article here. See the complete article at: this website.]
      Harris Meyer is a journalist based in Yakima, Wash., and winner of the Gerald Loeb Award. You can reach him in care of

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Story posted on Feb. 18, 2010 . . . Please report any broken links so we can update them

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(bullet) Our newest sponsor: Cygnus Gallery, 109 Commercial St., half-block uphill from Main Street, LaConner. Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 5 p.m., featuring new monthly shows with many artists, many local. Across the street from Maple Hall, 1886 Bank Building and Marcus Anderson's 1969 historic cabin. Their website will be up in early 2010.
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Park your RV or pitch a tent by the Skagit River, just a short drive from Winthrop or Sedro-Woolley
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