Posts Categorized: Partners

When it comes to Valentine’s

Union Wine Co Galantines When it comes to Valentine’s Day, we could probably argue that most men don’t even think about the holiday until the month of February hits, and for a lot of men, not until the week of Feb. 14th! But, for some reason, in our society, it is an important holiday to a lot of us women. We don’t necessarily know why, but we know we don’t want it to slip by without something special happening to or for us. It could be because we have someone special in our lives and we want to celebrate that, or, it could just be that we see pink and red hearts everywhere this month and we just don’t want to miss out!

Union Wine Co Galentines Day

Union Wine Co Galentines Day

So, we decided to pull together some of our besties and celebrate each other for Galentines Day! Our girlfriends are so important to our everyday lives—they support us when we are feeling down or struggling with something, they are happy for us when things are going well, and they are always up for a fun get-together with a little wine, sweets and catching up.

Union Wine Co Galentine's Day

In our opinion, the holidays of any type are meant to be spent with loved ones. Any excuse to get together with the people in our lives who mean the most to us is what we feel is important. Gather around a table, sharing a meal and company.

Union Wine Co Salt and Straw

Cheers to great friendships! Happy Galentines Day!

Celebrating The One Moto Show and Female Riders

This weekend is the 11th annual One Motorcycle Show, put on by See See Motor Coffee Co. We thought, what better way to express our excitement than spending a day with one of Portland’s very own riders, Rebecca Dreyfus. Not only is Rebecca the owner & rider of one of the rarest bikes in town, but she is an incredibly talented jewelry maker as well.

Please tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, I’m Rebecca! Most people call me Becca, and sometimes my alter ego is BECKY. I’m 30 and a Cancer (lol), hailing from Lawrence, Kansas, aka a cute little artsy and liberal college town outside of Kansas City, and I have been living in Oregon for almost 3 years. I work full-time at Clive Coffee as an espresso machine technician and bench tester. In my spare time, I’m wrenching and riding all two-wheeled things, making jewelry under the guise BKY STUDIO, record shopping, plant tending, and looking for any excuse to get out in nature.  

Union Wine Co One Moto Show

Can you tell us about your motorcycle? 

My main squeeze is a 1989 Honda Transalp. This bike is kinda funny and special in a lot of ways. Honda’s whole marketing scheme with this bike was “take the best parts from all of our bikes and put it into one and then call it a Rally Touring bike.” V-twin engine for a smooth ride on the highway, liquid-cooled for temp control, high clearance for all-terrain, and comfortable stance to name a few. They started importing them to the US in 1989 and 1990 thinking they would be a total hit because they could do any terrain and distance anyone wanted. Turns out no one knew what these weird-looking bikes were and it was a total flop in the states, so they pulled them and they were sold and made for many years all over Europe. Eventually, the Transalp turned into a coveted collector’s item, and still, to this day, is recognized as one of the first touring dual-sport bikes made, as well as one of the best made in its category. After the Transalp, Honda-engineered the Africa Twin as its successor and those are still being manufactured today. I love all things old and 80s-tastic, so I’d been on the hunt for a Transalp for a few years before I snagged mine about two years ago. Since then I’ve done some extensive maintenance to make the bike feel like my own, and taken it on some memorable trips. 

How did you get into riding?  

My first “bike” was a 1977 Columbia Commuter, which is a little two-stroke, 49cc pedal start moped! I remember buying that moped in secrecy back in 2010 because my parents were not into the two-wheeled idea, but I wanted something to ride to a college campus on. Around the same time I bought my moped, I was emailing with another craigslist seller who informed me that there was this whole local—and national—moped scene of people that meet up, wrench, and ride on these silly little things. After my first meet up with the local moped group (they immediately put me to work on fixing my moped), I was HOOKED. Shortly after, I started traveling with my moped friends to different rallies all across the country and just storming the streets on our little bikes. I got obsessed with learning how to work on my bike as well as making epic custom builds to show off at rallies and race sometimes. I barely even knew what a wrench was before I met these people, and I loved that there was always something to learn and everything was like a puzzle to solve when it came to building and tuning little engines. What was initially a grocery-getter purchase has turned into a whole new lifestyle where I’ve become a lover of all things mechanical. And, I’ve traveled to so many places and met some incredible people along the way. I wouldn’t have met some of my closest friends if it wasn’t for mopeds, and eventually motorcycles. Through mopeds, I eventually started buying motorcycle projects. I was too broke to buy anything new, and I wanted to ride motorcycles, so I started working on those. I still have a deep love for two stroke mopeds and motorcycles and how they’ve gotten me to where I am today as a rider. I’m mostly riding four-stroke engines now and try and plan out at least one long trip a year to somewhere I haven’t explored yet. 

Union Wine Co One Moto Show

Union Wine Co One Moto Show

What is the women’s motorcycle culture like in Portland? 

From what I’ve gotten to experience, I think it’s pretty diverse in terms of the bikes and types of riders, and it’s inclusive. Most of the time when I meet women in the community, they are just stoked to ride with you and get to know you no matter what kind of bike you have. 

Union Wine Co One Moto Show

What is your best moto ride story? 

I got a few good ones! But for drama, I got stranded in the desert with a flat this past May. I took two weeks off to make an epic solo trip to Palm Springs to see some close friends of mine get married. After a week on the road, and after witnessing a beautiful wedding full of love and friends, it was time to get back on the road and start the trek back to Portland. I had decided to spend a night camping in Joshua Tree before traveling back north. 18 miles into the park, my front tire blew out and I was stuck with no cell service, no one really knowing where I was, and no one in sight for miles. Starting to feel a slight panic I remembered that I had come prepared in case something like this would happen. I grabbed my can of slime (weird flat tire filler stuff) and started to fill my tire in hopes it would last until I could at least get out of the park and back into cell service. Little did I know that this stuff wouldn’t work on tubed tires and all the gunk didn’t hold and immediately started seeping out of my tire. Starting to panic even more, I remembered I had packed spare tubes and all the tools needed to remove my tire, but then I realized I had no way to prop my bike up and no way to air up a new tube. The sun was beating down and I was really starting to feel fatigued, and my anxiety was shooting through the roof! I ditched my bike and gear and started walking. Eventually, I managed to flag down a tourist that agreed to give me a ride 6 miles up the road to an emergency phone. Several hours of back and forth picking up the emergency phone and talking with local rangers, I finally got a tow out of the park and got dropped off at a Best Western that was next to an Auto Zone. The next morning I called around to different motorcycle shops (all closed because it was Monday) and stopped into various auto shops that were within walking distance hoping that someone would have a car jack or something to just help me replace this damn tube! I had no luck. Feeling super defeated I walked back to the hotel to find these two older gentlemen looking at my bike. The first thing they say to me is, “Hey, you know you have a flat right?!” Unfortunately, I snapped back saying something kinda snarky and started to cry. They immediately asked what the problem was and I explained the whole debacle to them. Come to find out they were touring motorcyclists themselves from Milwaukee, OR riding around and offered to help! In a short period of time, we found some broken concrete chunks and a 2×4 piece of wood from a local construction site to prop my bike up, got the wheel off, the tube replaced, and one of the riders had a travel-sized air compressor to fill it up. After we exchanged stories and some laughs I was back on the road riding through the East Sierras with gorgeous views. I feel so indebted to those guys who helped me. The friendliness and community surrounding the motorcycle community are incredible.   

Any favorite rider/icon? 

I’ve never really thought about that to be honest! If I had to think of someone or some people though, I really admire and respect both Jimmy Hillsack and Anya Violet. I got to meet, and have become friends with Jimmy through working at See See Motor Coffee (I worked there for a few years before Clive!) and I really admire that he’s such a real, down-to-earth person, as well as an incredibly talented rider. Anya is the co-creator of Babes Ride Out, Babes in the Dirt, and ATWYLD. I’ve gotten to get to know Anya through the motorcycle community and also admire how much of a real and genuine person she is. She’s working hard at empowering women in the motorcycle community and her story has always been inspiring for me. Both people are solid friends, humans, and RIPPERS of motorcyclists. It’s all about building a positive community around motorcycles and these two people do that so well.  

How did you get into jewelry making? 

I never really had this definitive moment of wanting to make jewelry, but I’ve always liked making things with my hands and just started making necklaces for myself a few years back. Eventually, I had people asking to buy necklaces off my neck, and the rest kinda snowballed from there! I eventually took a beginner’s metalsmithing class at a local arts center and was just hooked after that. Also, I’ve always been into collecting rocks, so making jewelry that you can set rocks into sounded pretty cool! 

Union Wine Co One Moto Show

Favorite piece of jewelry you’ve made 

That’s a tough one! I’ve fallen in love with a good amount of pieces I’ve made and sold or given away. One of my more recent favorites was a huge statement cuff for a wedding outfit that had one of the most beautiful cuts of plume agate I’ve come across. I made an open-back setting so you could shine light through the stone and see all the details.  

What’s your favorite band? 

I have way too hard of a time picking favorite bands, but I go through music phases. Right now I’m deep in disco, funk, and old soul. 

And lastly, what’s your favorite Underwood wine? 🙂 

My favorite Underwood wine is the bubbly rose because who doesn’t like a tasty, bubbly drink?! 

Union Wine Co One Moto Show

Cheers and thank you Rebecca!

We hope to see you at The One Motorcycle Show this weekend!  

Artist Spotlight: The Ellaphant in the Room

The Man Behind the Cans 

Jeremy Alan of The Ellaphant in the Room is the mural artist and illustrator behind three of our wine can designs—Riesling Radler, Strawberry Cooler and our most recent undertaking, Nouveau Pinot Noir. The first time we reached out to Alan was for a postcard project. After that experience we thought he might be a perfect designer to create a new can design for us.  

That first design was for our Riesling Radler can. As different and beautiful as the wine it holds, this can is a huge hit with everyone who sees it. Since then we’ve continued to work with The Ellaphant in the Room on two more can designs and another postcard. 

We asked Jeremy if he would answer a few questions for us about his work and the process of designing wine cans.  

  • How did Union Wine Co. start working with you? 
    Union Wine reached out to me in 2016 with a project to illustrate a promotional postcard. The idea was to draw the family of Underwood wine cans…crushed. I loved the idea and the visual possibilities of representing the crushed and folded can. 

Underwood Pinot Noir Illustration

  • Would you please tell us a little bit about you and your work?  
    My company is called The Ellaphant in the Room and is based in Brooklyn. I make hand-painted wall murals and print illustrations. I specialize in designing and painting murals by working with concepts and colors that complement existing interiors. My illustrations are small-scale artworks that are commissioned for both commercial magazines and privately sold for home décor. 

Riesling Radler (Released Summer 2017)

  • How did this project start? 
    Ryan Harms and the designer working on this project reached out by email. This was my first time doing product design and I loved the idea of making an illustration that would wrap around a can. Ryan instantly established an open and collaborative approach to working together. He was open to ideas and made it easy to say yes to partnering for this seasonal wine project.  
  • How did this design come to be?
    We started off with several different ideas. Again, the openness to creative possibilities gave me liberty to pursue a number of possibilities beyond the typical industry wine can design. The illustration was meant to reflect the wine flavor which has notes of citrus, hops, and summertime. We settled on tropical floral patterns as the direction. From there I began drawing tropical flora and fauna. I focused on individual leaves and began to work them into a pattern. Additional elements included tropical birds like toucans and flamingos. One thing I knew right away was that I wanted to have the green leaves be on a dark background. 

Strawberry Cooler (Released Summer of 2019) 

  • Please tell us about the design process for the Strawberry Cooler.
    When Union Wine reached out to me about doing another can design the answer was obviously, yes! We immediately hopped on the phone and started talking.We talked about how the illustration should represent the specific wine flavor and reflect the experience of drinking the wine. With this can we came up with a number of different design directions including a surfboard pattern, a sun setting into the ocean and strawberry dreams with floating strawberries on clouds. These options were sketched out and mocked-up on the cans.  

After numerous directions and ideas were explored, it was time to choose one. Since the wine cooler is strawberry flavored, the chosen theme was a field of strawberry flowers. The flowers were intended to look loosely sketched, as though they were made by someone relaxing in a park—drawing and taking in the summer day. 

The most technical part was positioning the flowers on a diagonal so that when it wrapped around the can, it would connect and appear seamless. 

Underwood Strawberry Cooler Illustration

Another central compositional element is the bumblebee. The bee was intended to look like it was on the label, as though it had landed on the can, attracted to the strawberry flowers. The bumblebee was a perfect addition and echoed the focal point of the toucan on the Radler can. 

Strawberry Cooler Bumblebee

 

Nouveau (Released November of 2019)

  • The Nouveau can is a design you just completed recently. Was there anything different about creating the design for this one?
    Ryan and Joan called to discuss this project in February—9 months prior to a firm product release date of Nov. 21. This would be a limited release for Nouveau Day, the traditional day that Nouveau wines are released and tasted. That meant I only had about 5 weeks to complete the design.The brief for this project asked that I keep in mind the Underwood logo block on the front of the can as I thought about a few possible esthetic options: Art Nouveau, Bold Colors, Organic Elements, Architectural Elements, and the brief said I could be a little bit more “out there” for this style of wine compared to more typical Nouveau wine labels. After my conversation with Ryan and Joan, the first thing I did was to research Art Nouveau. It had been a while since studying the movement and I wanted to re-establish an understanding of the motivations and visual languages of the time.  
  • What were some of the other directions you were thinking about before we landed on the peacock design?
    Some very cool directions emerged. I explored Architectural linework from the period as framing the label. One version had a fairy holding the ingredients of the wine and sitting atop the label. Peacocks were instantly intriguing along with dragonfly patterns and moths. In the end we chose the peacock with the tail feathers draping all the way around the can. The feathers evoke the sinuous lines of Art Nouveau architecture and the white peacock has graphic contrasts against the dark green can. A further thought on the white peacock is it almost subverts the expectations of the image since peacocks are usually vibrant, full-spectrum color…in a sense it made him more unique. The whimsy and freedom of illustration allows you to interpret the real world instead of relying on it. Hopefully, within that interpretation, I can direct the viewer towards the unique experience of the wine. 
  • Does anything stand out from when you designed any of the cans—something unique you remember?
    The opportunity to dive into art history as the inspiration point for the Nouveau can was particularly exciting for me. Beginning with such an iconic style from history and to make it our own take was the challenge. 
  • You’ve designed three cans now, and although they are quite different from one another, they look great side-by-side. What is similar and what is different about the three designs, and why do they work so well together? 
    Each of the Union wine cans have different concepts driving the image, style and color decisions. One difference is how finished and complete the images are for the Radler and Nouveau, the Radler and Nouveau are both fully colored-in set against a dark background. The Strawberry can is intended to look like a sketch, open and loose with pencil lines and soft hits of water-colored pigments. As for similarities, their differences complement each other, they hopefully balance each other out. Additionally, each is based on patterns and images from nature and are all from my hand, unified by my mark and line. 

Perfect Pairings

At Union Wine Company we love to support and collaborate with other fellow artisans in our community.

Our favorite cheesemonger, Steve Jones of Cheese Bar and Chizu, has been honing his skills for 15 years and just released his very first book: CHEESE BEER WINE CIDER: A Field Guide to 75 Perfect Pairings. Co-written by Steve Jones and Adam Lindsley (and photographed by your humble narrator, David L. Reamer) you can order a copy of CHEESE BEER WINE CIDER at Powells Online or keep an eye out for copies at your local bookstore or wine shop.

It is, as the title says, a guide to pairing specific cheese with their appropriate ‘adult beverage’ counterparts. We thought this would be a great opportunity to have Steve formally taste three of our Underwood wines—Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Rosé—and choose a cheese that he thinks would go well with each. If you are going to be doing some entertaining in the next few weeks, or if you just want to have an indulgent late spring picnic, this will help you to know the best cheese to accompany your favorite cans. So, without further ado…

**************

UNDERWOOD PINOT NOIR paired with SUMMER COMTÉ.

Comté is a cow’s milk cheese from France’s Massif du Jura region. It has a very earthy taste (think mushrooms cooked in brown butter) but also has a slight sweetness which pairs quite well with our Underwood Pinot Noir. There are various styles of Comté, but this one gets its name from the season it is produced, when the cows are dining on the lush and verdant summer grasses.

Underwood Cheese Pairings

UNDERWOOD ROSÉ paired with 1605 MANCHEGO

This very popular aged Spanish sheep’s milk cheese comes from the windmill-dotted La Mancha plateau immortalized in Don Quixote. (The producing farm, 1605, actually takes its’ name from the year the book was first published!) Much like the terroir of its origin, Manchego is dry, pale and very sheepy. As it ages, the cheese’s nuttiness and buttery qualities increase, making it absolutely delicious, and a perfect pairing to our Rosé.

Underwood Cheese Pairings

UNDERWOOD PINOT GRIS paired with JACQUIN BUCHERON.

Bucheron is from what is called the Bloomy-Rind Family. A French goat’s milk cheese, it has its origins in the Loire Valley which is accepted as the home of chèvre. The Jacquin Family has been making cheese in the Loire Valley for four generations. Bucheron, from the French word for “log”, has two distinct parts: a gooey section that has started to break down just below the rind, and, a more traditional, dryer, white chèvre filling the center. The contrast between the salty cream of the buttery ring and the lemony, goaty center make for a complex flavor, as well as a great pairing for our Pinot Gris.

Underwood Cheese Pairings

Big thanks again to Steve Jones for taking the time to share his knowledge and palette for this little culinary experience. A good time was had by all!

Underwood and Cheese Bar

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

10 Things We Learned at a Rose City Rollers Bout

At Union Wine Co. we love to support our local community. The Rose City Rollers are an organization of brave, talented and creative folks that we are proud to partner with. We admire the people and the game, even though it took us a minute to learn to call it a bout.

Rose City Rollers

The Rose City Rollers have been a part of the Portland community for the past 15 years. Since the beginning it has been a welcoming group for the players and fans alike. We chatted with a couple of players from the High Rollers team and they stated that a primary reason for joining a roller derby team was to make friends. Nooga Knockout is originally from Chattanooga, TN, where she first started playing roller derby. She moved to Portland 3 years ago and knew that she would find a community in a new city through roller derby. When she first started she didn’t have much skating experience. She said at first it was scary, but the more she does it the more natural it feels. Now, as soon as she puts on skates, she feels comfortable.

10 Things We Learned

  1. The game is called a bout, there are 2 periods that each last 30 minutes. In each half, they fit in as many 2 minute jams as they can.
  2. The only person who can score is the jammer. The jammer wears a star helmet cover.
  3. The jammer can pull her helmet cover (also known as a panty) off twice per jam and give it to anyone else on her team who might be able to shoot through a gap and score.
  4. Inline skates are prohibited, players must wear four-wheeled roller skates.
  5. The best-dressed fans have some sparkle on.
  6. Don’t miss the epic halftime show.
  7. 5 skaters are on the track for each team at a time, unless someone goes into the penalty box. Each team consists of 15 skaters in total.
  8. The skaters are referred to as a Pack.
  9. Roller Derby skaters choose a nickname to use as an alter ego, they are usually witty, referring to something about themselves or pop culture.

       A few examples:

    • Eve Anne Hellical
    • Bonnie Thunders
    • Beyond Thunderdame
    • Big Bang Fury

10. And of course, watching a bout is best enjoyed while drinking Underwood canned wine.

Rose City Rollers

Rose City Rollers

Underwood Wine