Creating the Perfect Springtime Cocktail

Union Wine Co Green Cocktail

There is a particular Portland phenomenon we have been noticing for years. Every Spring there is one weekend when, with no conscious cues or communication, everyone in town decides it’s time to cut their lawn. It’s that first perfect weekend, when the rain has let up, the grass is a little too tall and healthy, and so the ol’ lawnmower gets dusted off, gassed up—or charged up (it is Portland after all)—and put to the task.

During that weekend, all of Portland is filled with that unmistakably sweet, musky scent of freshly cut grass. The kids are playing in the yard, the parks are full and Spring has officially Sprung.

Enter Lucas Plant, bartender and cook extraordinaire, Navy man, father, and all-around charming guy. Lucas has worked at many of the best spots in Portland from Clyde Common to Central to Oven & Shaker. Currently, Lucas is a “Luxury Spirits Broker” for Coastal Pacific, but he is also part owner of Bull In China. We asked Lucas to create a cocktail that captured the happiness of the first weekend of Spring and all the nostalgic flavors it evokes.

Union Wine Co Green Cocktail
Lucas set to the task and concocted an intriguing cocktail, (whose name, coincidentally, originated from the memoir, ‘I Couldn’t Smoke the Grass on my Fathers Lawn” by Charlie Chaplin’s son, Michael.)

Grass Clippings

3 1/2 oz Kings Ridge Riesling
1/2 oz Bee Local Honey Water
1/2 teaspoon Bee Local Bee Pollen
1/2 teaspoon Steven Smith Powdered Matcha Tea No. 7

STEP ONE: Combine all ingredients in a shaker with lots of ice.

Union Wine Co Green Cocktail Union Wine Co Green Cocktail

Lucas uses a professional bar spoon, but a 1/2 teaspoon measure works just as well.

Union Wine Co Green Cocktail

STEP TWO: Shake like your life depends on it!

Union Wine Co Green Cocktail

STEP 3: Strain (to remover solids) into another shaker with no ice.

Union Wine Co Green Cocktail

STEP FOUR: Shake again as if your life depends on it. This step is very important as it aerates the liquid and releases all the pollen and matcha flavors.

Union Wine Co Green Cocktail

STEP FIVE: Pour into a chilled coupe glass and enjoy.

Union Wine Co Green Cocktail

Many thanks to Lucas for lending his time and talents to this post. And, if you dig the custom apron he is sporting, check out Portlands own OROX Leathers.

Also, head over to Bull In China for all your professional (and unprofessional) bar accoutrements.

Photography and Text by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)

Keeping the Portland Airwaves Free: Freeform Portland Radio 90.3 FM

Freeform Portland Radio

Here at Union Wine Co. we think of ourselves as more of a family than just a place of work. We try to encourage and support everyone in their passions and side projects.

Allow us to introduce Amy Carr. By day, Amy is the Logistics and Compliance/Customer Service Supervisor. She has been a part of the Union Wine Company family for about 5 years, beginning at Amity Vineyards before moving over full-time to UWCo.

When Amy was only 12 years old, her father gave her a copy of Nick Hornby’s (best) novel High Fidelity, which introduced her to a main character who is always striving to share the classic music he loves and the new bands he discovers. And so, a seed was planted…

Fast Forward to early 2015. A few of Amy’s friends decided to found Freeform Portland, an entirely independent, community-sponsored, non-profit, freeform radio station. Going live the following year, they broadcast on 90.3 and also 98.3 FM from the NE Alberta Area. Officially they are a “low-power” FM station; their radio broadcast range is only about 5 square miles, but, lucky for us, we live in the digital age so everyone can enjoy their full array of programming at FreeformPortland.org/listen.

Freeform Portland Radio

The DJs are free to play music from records, tapes, CDs or digital files. There are no commercials or talk programs. Generally, the only speaking you will hear are the DJs identifying their chosen songs during music set breaks, although there are some great “in studio” band interviews from time to time. All songs from every show are also listed on their website.

Freeform Portland Radio

Two amazing things that FFP can boast are, 1., it is absolutely 100% volunteer run, and 2., it is absolutely 100% live programming, meaning no prerecorded shows. There is a live DJ playing music in the booth 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

Freeform Portland Radio

At the station, Amy goes by the handle DJ Stellar Luna. Her show, “Nightlight” runs on alternating Mondays from 10 PM to midnight. Amy’s playlist differs every week focusing mostly on Neo Psychedelia, New Wave, Hip-Hop and Latin. Asked what some of her favorite bands are, Amy mentioned, in no particular order:

La Femme (which she plays at least one song by during every show)
Bomba Estereo
LCD Soundsystem
Thee Oh Sees
Echo & the Bunnymen

Amy was drawn to the radio station for many of the same reasons that she was drawn to Union Wine Co.—each puts a great emphasis on authenticity and a truly meaningful reflection of the community.

Freeform Portland Radio

Freeform Portland Radio

As you might imagine, the broadcast booth is small but is filled with all sorts of amazing music, movie and cultural paraphernalia.

Freeform Portland Radio

Freeform Portland Radio

Recently we asked Amy to create our first official Spotify profile, beginning with a Union Wine Co. playlist, a constantly growing curated mix.

In addition, Amy has created playlists to match the vibe of our three labels:

UNDERWOOD (aka the party) playlist
KINGSRIDGE (aka the adult hipster) playlist
ALCHEMIST (aka the sexy) playlist

Subscribe to them all now so you have the perfect soundtrack the next time you are enjoying our wines!

Freeform Portland Radio

We want to thank Amy for sharing her time and passion with us, and allowing us a small glimpse into the amazing world of Freeform Portland. Hopefully this will inspire you to check out some of their programming.

Freeform Portland Radio

Text and Photos by David L. Reamer (@dlreamer)

(Amy’s IG is @amycoche)

10 Things I Learned Working Harvest

saraintern

Did you know that wineries produce an entire year’s wine vintage in just a two month window of grape harvesting? If mother nature doesn’t cooperate, the fruit isn’t picked at the right time, or we get off schedule, things might go awry.

Because of that, Union Wine Company (and most wineries around the world) hire Harvest Interns, the miracle workers that help ensure our harvest runs smoothly. Working directly alongside our winemakers and our production team, this year’s team of 30 Harvest Interns have watched fruit turn to wine (and everything in between).

We asked Sarah Richins, Union Wine Company Harvest Intern, to tell us all about her harvest experience. Without further ado, we’ll let Sarah take it from here.

I started at Union Wine Company last month to work my first ever harvest. We have interns from Chile, Brazil, South Africa, and even Ireland – it is amazing to hear people’s stories and what drew them to working a harvest in Oregon.

Since I started, I have gone from terrified of driving a forklift to operating all kinds of machinery like a pro, I have dug out a tank full of grapes in less than three hours, and I have newfound respect for how much work it takes to craft the perfect Pinot.

Here’s some more things I have learned while crushing the 2018 harvest.

  1. I am way stronger than I think.
  2. Forklifting is like riding a bike – you have to keep practicing, and after you haven’t been on it for a while you can pick it up again (sometimes after a few failed attempts).
  3. Getting dirty is fun, and definitely part of the process – so get ready and always bring a change of clothes.
  4. It’s always important to ask for help. You have to know what you’re doing first in order to execute it properly later.
  5. Staying up until 3AM with coworkers is OK – we all need nights out to dance away to 60s/70s funk. Plus, we work the swing shift, so 3AM is the new 10PM.
  6. Food tastes better after working a harvest. The amount of food I consume now is the same as when I was training for a marathon.
  7. There is no bond like a harvest shift bond. Nothing beats co-workers turned friends.
  8. It’s okay if you have a bad day where nothing seems to be going right – we ALL have those days. Just remember that it will get better and keep your attitude high.
  9. I am even more obsessed with wine than I was before and can’t wait to continue to learn and grow in this field.
  10. Your hands will be dyed purple forever – get used to it.

If you want to learn more about the winemaking process, or just want a killer upper body, I highly recommend working a harvest at Union Wine Co. I can guarantee you will never take happy hour for granted again.

Editor’s Note: if you are interested in working next year’s harvest, please contact ellie@unionwinecompany.com. 

 

Grilled Pizza Cook-off 2.0

There is a tradition at Union Wine Company that involves two tenacious competitors and a heck of a lot of dough. It rolls around every 2-3 years, similar to snowfall in Portland, and like snow after a month of solid rain, it is warmly welcomed by all.

We’re talking about the (Sometimes) Bi-annual Grilled Pizza Cook-Off. The humble but hardy contestants include Ryan Harms, our owner, and JP Caldcleugh, our winemaker. JP took the cake in the last cook-off, and after a couple years of regrouping, Ryan was ready for a comeback.*

Each contender put a lot of heart into their homemade dishes. Ryan devised a signature sauce with hand torn tomatoes that kept us coming back for slice…after slice…after slice. JP concocted a prosciutto pie that featured pizza’s best friend: basil, fresh from the Amity Vineyards garden.

As per tradition, the entire Union team gathered in the winery parking lot to do the real hard work – judging the pizzas. Everyone loves a good comeback story, and in true Hollywood fashion this year’s pizza crowning went to Ryan.

However, with full bellies and faces adorned in post-pizza glow, it was agreed that we all truly won the grilled pizza cook-off.

*Or, our Director of Finance Eric was just in the mood for pizza.

 

Photography by David L. Reamer

Chefs’ Week PDX

PunchCan_1 This past February we were a part of the second annual Chefs’ Week PDX, a four day dinner and party series that brings together some of the best west coast chefs, local artisans and purveyors to celebrate community and creative  collaboration. Some of the highlights for our team: working with our friend Gregory Gourdet to create a delicious canned punch wine, tasting through some spectacular modern cuisine by all chefs at Ataula, watching the reactions of guests as Chef Aaron’s Pot au Fue’s were set down on each table,  Chef Doug’s elk leg at Nedd Ludd, and the gastronomical spectacle that is a 26 course meal finale put on by all chefs involved at Departure. We are proud to be a part of a city that can offer both the resources and creative genius to put together this kind of event, and give a huge round of applause to Gregory Gourdet, Carrie Kissell, and Drew Tyson for making it all happen.

Ataula_I Ataula_31Ataula_blog2Ataula_30Ataula_17Ataula_4R+HAtaula_18StJack_IIStJack_2StJack_16StJack_8StJack_13StJack_5ElderHall_title copyElder Hall_12ElderHall_6Elder Hall_1ElderHall_4NedLudd_IV NedLudd_1NedLudd_3NedLudd_6NedLudd_1Departure_11Departure_8Departure_3Departure_10 DEPARTURE_13Departure_16

Photography by Julia Saltzman