A Blackcurrant Cocktail 3 Ways

Underwood Wine and Current Cassis

While we’re a wine company and have an interest in all things wine, we’re always keeping our eyes open for a new liquor or liqueur brand to use to create a wine cocktail. Earlier this year we came across Current Cassis. Their beautifully subtle, classic yet modern label caught our eye immediately. Current Cassis makes a botanical blackcurrant liqueur in the Hudson Valley of New York State. Current Cassis on its own is slightly bitter, yet sweet, so… a perfect balance. There are also decent tannins that complement the wine.

Their liqueur is similar to a classic french liqueur Crème de Cassis. While none of us here at Union are trained bartenders, we went to our friend Google to see if there were any wine and crème de cassis cocktails out there. We found that there are actually several, and they are extremely simple to make. The most common and most classic cocktail is a Kir Cocktail. It is simply a pour of wine, 5-6 ounces, and a half-ounce or so of crème de cassis. There are many riffs on this cocktail and while we could have tried it with all five of our Underwood wine offerings, we chose to give it a go with Underwood Pinot Gris, The Bubbles, and Pinot Noir.

Underwood Pinot Gris Kir Wine Cocktail


1/2 ounce crème de cassis
5 to 6 ounces chilled Underwood Pinot Gris

Measure and pour crème de cassis and wine into your favorite glass, stir and enjoy.

Underwood Bubbles Kir Royal Cocktail

Kir Royale

1/2-1 ounce crème de cassis
5 to 6 ounces chilled Underwood The Bubbles

Measure and pour crème de cassis and wine into your favorite glass, stir and enjoy.

Underwood Pinot Noir Cardinal Wine Cocktail


1/2-1 ounce crème de cassis
5 to 6 ounces chilled Underwood Pinot Noir

Measure and pour crème de cassis and wine into your favorite glass, stir and enjoy.

Underwood Wine Cocktail

Grab a bottle and a few of our wines to see which combination you like best. Current Cassis is slowly making their way to the west coast, but you can find their liqueur at a handful of online retailers.

Our Newest Collaboration

We’ve been fans of North Drinkware since their launch on Kickstarter in 2015 and have sipped many beverages out of their glasses over the years. One day in the summer of 2020, after one or two of those beverages, we worked up the courage and decided to reach out to see if there might be an opportunity to partner on something creative. Needless to say, they were all-in and hit the ground running with a design unique to their process that captures the essence of Oregon. We’re so excited for you to experience drinking wine out of these hand-made glasses.

The Union Wine Co Glass by North Drinkware

The glass shape is inspired by the everyday drinking glasses found in Spain and the design is meant to capture the essence of Oregon’s natural features through 3D depictions of Mt. Hood and our Willamette Valley wine region, featuring Amity Vineyards, separated by the mighty Willamette River. At 6oz, the glass is a perfect size and celebrates our philosophy that the experience of enjoying your evening pour doesn’t require a stemmed glass. Like our wines, these glasses are hand-made locally in Oregon.

The Union Wine Co Glass by North Drinkware

The Union Wine Co Glass by North Drinkware

Overview of The Union Wine Co Glass by North Drinkware

North Drinkware is known for their premium hand-blown glasses which feature popular mountains in the base of each one, all made in Portland, Oregon. Their deep love of the outdoors inspired the start of the brand and allows everyone to bring the mountains home.

North Drinkware and Union Wine Co. are both proud members of 1% for the Planet and with this partnership, both are donating 1% of sales to Willamette Riverkeepers. Willamette Riverkeeper’s mission is to Protect, Restore, Enjoy. They believe a river with excellent water quality, abundant natural habitat, safe for fishing and recreation is a basic public right.

You can purchase the glasses here. Cheers.

The Union Wine Co Glass by North Drinkware

Recipes for the Last of Summer

Grilled Summer Squash with Fresh Mozzarella and Toasted Sunflower Seeds

Grilled Summer Squash with Fresh Mozzarella and Toasted Sunflower Seeds

Recipe Note:
A super simple way of dressing up the summertime staple; grilled zucchini. Perfectly smashable as a starter or side with a cold glass of Underwood Pinot Gris in hand.

Serves 6-8 as a side dish

6 zucchini
3 eight oz. balls of mozzarella or burrata
1 cup toasted sunflower seeds
a handful of sunflower sprouts
edible flower petals (optional)
juice of one lemon
extra virgin olive oil

Grilled Summer Squash with Fresh Mozzarella and Toasted Sunflower Seeds

Heat a grill to a medium high heat and make sure the grate is cleaned and seasoned with oil. Cut the zucchini down the center, lengthwise, and toss in a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt. Grill the zucchini, turning as needed, until they are well caramelized and tender, but not mushy. Remove from the grill and place directly on a serving platter.
Tear the balls of mozzarella with your hands into bite sized pieces and arrange on the platter with the zucchini. Sprinkle the toasted seeds over the entire dish, followed by the sunflower sprouts and flowers. Before serving, finish the platter with the freshly squeezed lemon juice and an additional blessing of extra virgin olive oil and flaky salt.


Blistered Shishito Peppers with Shaved Pecorino

Blistered Shishito Peppers with Shaved Pecorino

Recipe Note:
Blistery and sweet peppers with salty pecorino and crisp pinot gris makes for instant happy hour at home.

Serves 4 as an appetizer

½ lb (~4 cups) shishito/padron peppers
4 oz pecorino cheese
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
flaky sea salt
lime or lemon wedge (optional)

Blistered Shishito Peppers with Shaved Pecorino

Heat up a large cast iron pan to high heat. Add the extra virgin olive oil, followed by the peppers. Make sure they’re evenly dispersed in one layer. Toss the peppers in the pan every thirty seconds. It’s important to let them sit and blister between tosses, so resist the urge to stir! Once the peppers are evenly blistered and softened, remove from the pan onto a paper towel lined dish. Season with flaky salt before transferring to a serving plate/bowl. Freshly shave pecorino cheese with a vegetable peeler over the blistered peppers before serving with a lime wedge and a few glasses of pinot gris!


Maple and Whiskey Glazed Peaches for Pancakes or Waffles

Maple and Whiskey Glazed Peaches for Pancakes or Waffles

Recipe Note:
Brunch is our favorite excuse to drink before noon, and these boozy maple peaches give us even more of a reason to crack open a can of bubbles. Spoon these peaches over pancakes, on top of waffles, or even on a croissant with mascarpone. Pair with an Underwood R
osé Bubbles mimosa for the perfect Sunday brunch.

Serves 4-6 

4 yellow peaches
2 tablespoons butter
4-5 ounces maple syrup
2 shot whiskey

Maple and Whiskey Glazed Peaches for Pancakes or Waffles

Slice the peaches into large chunks and set them aside. Heat a large pan to medium-high heat and add the butter, followed by the peaches. Cook the peaches, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes before adding the whiskey, followed by the maple syrup. Be careful adding the whiskey as it may flambé! Allow the peaches, whiskey, and maple syrup to cook down together for a minute before removing from the heat. Let the peaches cool down a bit before serving.

Maple and Whiskey Glazed Peaches for Pancakes or Waffles

Recipes and Photography by Chef Kevin Oconnor

Beginner’s Guide to Backpacking

Backpacking Eagle Cap Wilderness

I know how intimidating and overwhelming it can feel to get started with backpacking. There are so many questions that need answering. What gear do I need? How will I stay safe? How will I know where to go?

When I first began backpacking, I dove headfirst into the longest hike of my life; the Oregon section of the PCT. I backpacked for 30 days using ill-fitting, heavy gear, paper maps, and a whole lot of extra stuff I didn’t need. My feet hurt throughout the entire trek, red, sore, and covered in blisters. But I made it and all that anguish was worth it!

I’ve learned a lot over the 6 years since that hike. I’ve been able to swap out some of my gear for more practical items and successfully spent countless nights under the stars in the mountains, in the desert, and on the coast. My objective with this post is to share some of the lessons I’ve learned from my adventures. Hopefully, it will give you the confidence to branch out beyond car camping.

Backpacking in Eagle Cap Wilderness

Before I get started, I want to clarify that this is what I’ve found works for me. Everyone is going to feel differently when they enter the backcountry, so make sure to do plenty of your own research and trial and error to figure out what you’re most comfortable with.

So if this sounds exciting to you, but you aren’t sure how to get started, I’m here to help! Here are some ways to work up to backpacking:

• Start with longer hikes! Tackle a long-distance trail and bring a heavier backpack with plenty of supplies, including extra food and water (we call this training weight). Do all the research you’ll need beforehand to complete the hike safely. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment while training your body to carry a heavier load. It will also help familiarize you with the experience of spending several hours immersed in nature before trying it out overnight.

• If you have no experience backpacking, I recommend going with knowledgeable friends the first few times. There’s only so much you can glean from the internet. Learning directly from those who have experience will be so helpful when questions arise. And they’ll be there to back you up if you forgot to pack a crucial piece of gear. Don’t have friends who want to backpack with you? Try a local club, MeetUp.com, or reach out to like-minded folks on social media.

Underwood Wine Cheers

• Before you invest in your own backpacking gear, try borrowing from a friend or renting from an outdoor store. This will help you narrow down what kind of gear you like best and will ensure that you’re well equipped with knowledge and experience when you do finally purchase the items you need. There’s also plenty of used gear shops out there for those with a tighter budget. REI has a whole used gear section on their website. This is the perfect way to get started while simultaneously keeping used gear out of our landfills.

The most important step you can take to prepare for your first backpacking experience is to do a lot of research. Knowledge is so empowering and the more you have, the more comfortable you will feel in the backcountry.

One creative option is to take an online or in-person class on backpacking. For example, REI teaches many outdoor skills classes, including topics in navigation, survival basics, women’s wilderness skills, and First Aid. They also have local backpacking trips in many cities across the US for those who’d prefer to learn from experts on multi-day trips. This is also a great option if you’re looking for new like-minded friends to go backpacking with.

Backpacking trip by a lake

When choosing a location for your first trip, start with a fairly easy, low mileage trail and only stay out one night. That way you won’t be far from your car if you forget a crucial piece of gear. Starting easy and working your way up to longer and more difficult treks is perfectly normal. And there are plenty of short trails with beautiful views! It may just mean a little less solitude.

If you’re not sure how to find trails near you, I suggest using the AllTrails app downloaded directly to your phone. There’s both an unpaid and paid version. There are benefits to the paid version, like the ability to download maps that you can follow while you hike, but the free version works great as well and you can still often view the maps offline. This app will help you figure out what trail will suit you best. It lists the length and elevation gain of each trail. Plus, people write helpful reviews on trail conditions and campsite locations.

Once you decide on a trail, google the nearest ranger station and give them a call before you depart. They might have more recent information about trail closures, permits, wildfire restrictions, and conditions that you won’t find on the internet.

Wallow Whitman National Forest Backpacking

Start your hike early in the morning. Getting an early start will allow you to take your time getting to your destination and will most likely give you the chance at the first pick of the best campsites. That way you’ll have the rest of the day to play and enjoy the gorgeous views.

Safety in the Backcountry

Have you heard of the 10 essentials? Carrying these items with you every time you step into the backcountry is so important, even on short day hikes. And knowing how to use them will be incredibly valuable if you ever get yourself into a bind. They could save your life.

Backpacking Essentials What to Pack

The Ten Essentials:
• Navigation: map, compass, altimeter, GPS device, personal locator beacon (PLB), or satellite messenger.
• Headlamp and extra batteries
• Sun Protection: sunglasses, sun-protective clothes, and sunscreen
• First Aid: including band-aids, ointment, and insect repellent
• Knife: and gear repair kit
• Fire: matches, lighter, tinder, and/or stove
• Shelter: carried at all times (even as simple as an emergency bivy)
• Extra Food
• Extra Water
• Extra Clothing

Having a whistle could save your life if you accidentally slip, fall, or are rendered immobile in any way. Many backpacks have them attached to the shoulder straps, but you can also purchase one separately. Experts advise keeping it around your neck, in case you’re separated from your pack. 3 loud blasts, each lasting about 3 seconds, is the universal call for help.

I always carry an extra iPhone battery charger with me. Smartphones aren’t only good for taking amazing photos and videos of your travels, they double as navigation, map storage, and potential call for rescue. The last thing you want is for your phone to die on the trail when you need it most.

Always be sure to tell someone where you’re going and when you plan to be back. Supply them with the phone number for the nearest Ranger Station and let them know at what point they should be worried enough to call.

As stated earlier, always be sure to know what your selected trail conditions will be like and check the weather forecast before you go. Knowing what to expect, in terms of weather, will give you the information you need when you’re packing for your trip. But it’s also important to “expect the unexpected.” So even if the forecast isn’t predicting rain, I’ll stuff a raincoat into my pack just in case the weather turns. This can happen frequently in the mountains, so it’s best to be prepared.

What to Pack

Having the right gear for your trip is essential, but don’t get too hung up on the fancy stuff! Expensive gear can be a huge barrier for a lot of people. But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with borrowing from friends, finding used gear, or starting with the less expensive, but probably slightly heavier stuff. When I started, everything I brought with me was used. Over several years, I slowly replaced the vintage items with more lightweight ones. It’s ok to start wherever you are. The most important part is knowing how to use what you have.

It’s really helpful to have a physical list and cross items off as you go. That way, you won’t get stuck without a crucial piece of gear when you’re miles away from town.

REI has this super helpful and comprehensive backpacking checklist that you can download and print out at home.

In order to determine what you need to pack, however, you’ll have to consider several factors, including how far you’re going, what kind of weather you’re expecting, how long you’ll be out for, and what kind of terrain you’ll be crossing.

Here are some items I deem essential:

Backpacking tent

A One-Person Tent (unless sharing with a friend):
I recommend using a one-person tent to keep your pack weight down. However, if you have a dog or you prefer something roomier, you might want to consider a two-person tent. I use a Nemo Hornet 1 Tent, because it feels spacious enough for me and my pup, it’s easy to set up, and it packs down small.

A stove is a great item to share with a friend to keep weight down. But you can also bring your own. I have the MSR Reactor Stove because it performs well in snowy conditions. But this might be overkill for the casual summer backpacker. There are several lightweight, less expensive options to choose from as well. Jetboils are a popular option amongst backpackers.

PLB’s and Satellite Messengers:
My Garmin InReach Mini is my most valued piece of gear. It gives me an added sense of security whenever I’m outside of cell range. I often use it to text my parents my location when I arrive at camp. Just knowing that someone else has my exact location gives me that extra peace of mind. I also love that I can check the updated weather forecast whenever I need to.

However, these devices can be quite pricey. If you don’t have the funds to invest in an emergency device right now, don’t let that keep you from going. Just make sure someone knows where you’re heading.

First Aid:
It’s important to always hike with some form of first aid. Even on short day hikes, I carry a handful of these items. You can buy a readymade kit or build your own. I’ve been using the same first aid kit for a few years now, and I simply replace the items as I use them.

The items you bring will largely be dependent on where you’re going and what time of year it is. You’ll want bug repellent in the mountains during summer, for example. I always like to stash away some extra ibuprofen as well, to soothe my sore muscles at night.

I bring SABRE Frontiersman Bear Spray with me on my solo hiking and backpacking trips. This is my preferred method of self-protection. Keep it somewhere easily accessible and know how to use it before you go.
Another option would be to carry a more standard pepper spray, like SABRE RED Tactical Pepper Gel. If you aren’t hiking through bear country, a spray of this strength would be perfectly suitable.

Underwood Wine in a lake

Underwood Wine:
No backpacking adventure would quite be complete without a delicious can of Underwood Wine to reward yourself with after a long day. Just chill your beverage in the nearest spring-fed river or alpine lake and wait!

Ok, now that you’ve made it to your destination and set up camp, what do you do with the rest of the day? This is my favorite part of the trip and it’s so full of possibilities!

A few fun ways you could spend your afternoon:
• Take an exploratory side hike. Pack an extra small backpack. It can easily double as a stuff sack for clothing and will provide you with a small pack to take with you on those fun afternoon explorations. Fill it with snacks, a water bottle, your camera and you’re good to go!
• Sit and read a book or Kindle in the sun all day. This is my favorite afternoon activity. I use a Kindle because it’s so lightweight, low profile, and means you can carry multiple books!

• Tie up a hammock and nap the afternoon away while you listen to the birds chirp.
• Listen to music or podcasts downloaded on your phone. Just be sure to download everything you might want to listen to while you’re still in cell range.
• Draw or paint your surroundings! Bring a small sketchbook and a set of paints or pencils and practice your art skills in an inspiring location.
• Bring a set of cards and play games with your friends or solitaire by yourself.
• Pop open that can of Underwood, cheers your friend, and watch the sun slowly dip behind the mountains.

Leave No Trace:

Lastly, some of the most pertinent information you can familiarize yourself with is the 7 Leave No Trace Principles. Make sure to educate yourself on these practices and understand the “why” behind them. Mother Nature, local wildlife, and your fellow hikers will thank you.

You can find more in-depth information here at lnt.org.

Now get out there and enjoy!

Brooke Weeber Backpacking Trip Tent by Lake

Photography and story by Brooke Weeber

A Conversation with our Founder and Owner, Ryan Harms

From med school dreams to putting Oregon pinot noir in a can—if that’s not the path less taken, we’re not sure what would be. Either way, we are glad he chose the road he did. On today’s Field Notes, and in our latest PDP—Pinkiesdown podcast*—we sit down for a special interview with our founder, Ryan Harms. We talk shop on the beginnings of our little wine company and how it came to be. How some things have changed dramatically, yet some goals have stayed much the same. A bit of what life coming out of a global pandemic means for him as a father, husband, and business owner. And what “blue skies” we have to look forward to.

Ryan Harms UWC Owner and Founder

PDP- Hello Ryan, welcome. It just so happens our interview day of is May 25th, National Wine Day. Do you have one, or maybe multiple picks for this summer of 2021?

RH- I have to say that in the summer months ever since we started producing Rose Bubbles in a can that has become one of my go-to, getting out, doing yard work, spending time—usually not operating a lawnmower—but I’ve been known to have it in my hand as I’m pushing the lawnmower around the yard. That has become a go-to in the summer months. Then I always am a fan of some of our can cocktails, or I mess around making my own at home. There’s nothing like a little fruit in some wine and maybe a little carbonation.

PDP – I like that. Maybe we will have to release a few more cocktail recipes for our fans out there. I know that you and I are both fans of a nice Negroni every once in a while.

RH – You know, there’s nothing wrong with a little Negroni. It keeps everything fresh and lively in the summer months.

PDP – Speaking of (hopefully) entering a season of openness, health, and prosperity, let’s go back in time a little bit. The new normal, that we’re now sitting in, how has this last year pushed you further as an owner of our company, father, husband, trying to find balance through the waves the pandemic brought us?

RH – Oh man, there’s a lot there. I think if I go back and think about everything that’s gone on over the last year, on the one hand being home, I feel very fortunate that we’ve been able to keep everyone safe and healthy. Being able to be home with my kids it became apparent to me that there was all this time that typically as a parent I wouldn’t get to spend with my kids. Now, by all of us being home, having lunch with them almost every day, spending more time with my wife, those were all absolute plusses in what otherwise was obviously, at times, a little bit of a scary and stressful situation. In terms of the business, we proved that we put a good plan together. We took care of our people and made sure that we did the best we could to keep everyone safe. Finding our way through COVID we probably realized that we were more resilient as an organization than I might have thought we were. And we also really proved to ourselves that working remotely was incredibly successful. That will be a great thing for us to continue to think about going forward as an organization. How we can potentially create more flexibility for our staff in terms of where they want to work. It is cool to have this kind of forced experiment if you will, it really challenged a lot of people’s thinking around remote work, versus being in the office.

Ryan Harms UWC Owner and Founder

PDP – As someone who has been in a period of work-life where it was tangible or nothing in my previous part of the wine industry, you either had to be on-site or you weren’t. Then translating over to not quite in office but a little bit of that environment and still being able to do everything you were already going to do, and sometimes even more efficiently. There’s a lot of adjustments made that I think will be beneficial moving forward.

RH – Yeah, because we are growing and producing a product, and we’re a manufacturing organization at a certain level we’re not able to all be home. For the staff that needed to come into the winery, and the staff at the packaging facility, we were able to create a safe workplace for them to all come into during COVID, to make sure that we could continue as a business and to operate. I think for us it was unique, not everyone’s role allowed them to work from home. And yet, I think we’ve learned a lot about coming back to business resilience in what’s made us resilient. I feel like now as a company we’ve been in business since 2005 this is the second major economic downturn that we’ve been through. Now we can say we survived a global pandemic and feel really good today about this organization and its strength.

PDP – My interview day I remember asking you about, not just the wine industry, but the canned-wine industry. I remember your answer was something along the lines of “yeah man, lots of blue skies left” like, don’t worry. Every time something reared its head, I would think alright, we’ll figure it out. Blue skies indeed.

Ryan Harms UWC Owner and Founder

PDP – So, going further back in time, back to pre-Instagram times. Definitely pre-Tok-Tok—maybe Myspace was around doing its thing, some AOL. I want to talk about Mr. Ryan Harms, Pre- Union. Your first winery/vineyard job. And, if you could describe the deciding lightbulb, over-the-head-moment when you decided “OK, Wine. Here we go”.

RH – Yeah, so go back to 1997. When I went into college, I wanted to be a doctor, and so everything that I was thinking about coursework was all structured around that. Then I realized that that wasn’t in the cards, and I was going to need to kind of rethink where I was going career-wise. Now looking back it’s pretty funny, you know, freshman/sophomore in college, you think you’d really have that all sorted out. I was reassessing things that were interesting to me and what I wanted to explore. Wine had been something I was always a little interested in. My girlfriend’s family at the time was super into wine. Being around their household I was exposed to it. So, I reached out to Rex Hill, and Lynn Penner-Ash was the winemaker there at the time. She gave me a harvest job, and an opportunity to come to Oregon. I’d never been here, just a kid from New York at the time. I came out here and worked harvest in 1997. It rained, I think pretty much from September 15th on…it was not one of the high-quality vintages. It was stormy, yeah, it was a tough vintage. I absolutely loved it. Loved every minute of it. I met some awesome people and wanted to get back here as soon as I could. I graduated college and Josh Bergström from Bergström wines was also working his first vintage. His family had just purchased some land in Dundee. Move forward a couple of years, they were developing and just getting their winery off the ground. He gave me an opportunity to come back to work with him. That was my first full-time job in the wine business after working harvest in 97.

Ryan Harms UWC Owner and Founder

PDP – That’s awesome. That’s around that time when people were still utilizing whatever equipment they could to get the job done. Do you remember using any old basket presses?

RH – At Rex Hill there wasn’t a basket press, we had an old Willmes press. It was super manual to run, and probably scary as can be to think about the way in which it functioned and working around it. But it was a total kick-in-the-pants to run.

PDP- Well, as we’re taking this trip back in time, and through all the things that we’ve dealt with in the last year, let’s flash forward, but not all the way to the present. I’ve been curious, and I know a few of our other folks here at Union have been curious to get the story straight. For all the folks out there that enjoy our Underwood canned wines, where, if you can recall, was the very first Underwood can cracked?

Ryan Harms UWC Owner and Founder

RH – Well, I can say my first can that I cracked was somewhere in August of 2013. We canned the first trial run of pinot gris and pinot noir that was all being done for the upcoming Feast event in September of that year. I don’t know where I was, not at the winery when it happened… I was going camping that weekend and I stopped at the winery really quick. Grabbed some cans and went out to the Oregon coast. I had two cans that evening, absolutely loved it. Then I couldn’t understand why I could barely move after that and realizing that I basically just consumed a bottle of wine. So, it’s a great moment on a couple of different levels. So excited to finally have wine in a can that was our product and was super excited about that. And then this kind of this epiphany that yeah, you just drank a bottle of wine.

PDP – I love that. The first story, the story from you is almost verbatim to a lot of folk’s same enjoyment of those cans. Knowing firsthand being on the road promoting the wines and sharing them with the good folks out there, that’s one of the parts of the double-edged sword of delicious wine.

PDP – In general the idea of Union Wine Co. and the credo which our podcasts is aptly named for—“pinkies down podcast”—what is #pinkiesdown? And what is the genesis story behind that?

RH – Sure. The decision to get can wine out into the public and “pinkies down” all came from this awesome brainstorm session earlier in 2013. We had committed to doing the Feast event and we were doing some planning in the spring of that year to try to think about how were we gonna show up at Feast? As part of that, there was this whole creative group that had been working with us, and they were there for this brainstorming session. We had talked about canned wine, a couple of the guys were aware of it as this idea that we wanted to bring the life. In that brainstorming session canned wine, the idea of the wine truck, and “pinkies down” all came out. I walked out of that session with my stomach hurting from laughing, and just having one of those moments where the chemistry in the room was phenomenal. Then you think about that moment and how transformational a bunch of ideas in this one brainstorming session has been for our company. So, “pinkies down” was there, it was just kind of solidifying a way of thinking, a way of looking at the world, putting, I guess, a label on something that has always been a core with this company. It was incredible. It was one of those moments where you could only hope to replicate it. Yeah, and I think ever since then, like in 2014, you try to think about planning for Feast again and you’re always chasing the experience you had and the ideas that came about from the prior year…and we’ve kind of, to a degree, been chasing ever since, something that you just can’t replicate.

Ryan Harms UWC Owner and Founder

PDP – So to step to another side of the conversation, the idea of conservation in wine and some of the steps that we’ve already started taking towards being a better winery. Can you speak to that, and this year, and where we’re going?

RH – Yeah, to me at a simple level there is something that’s inherent in a company that is making Oregon products. I think we both support the perception of Oregon products, and our “Oregon-ness” helps to support our products. So, right off the bat, I think we start from the standpoint of ‘we’re thinking about conservation and we’re thinking about the environment.’ We’re thinking about the impacts that we have. I think that is probably true in lots of businesses, but it’s very true here in Oregon. If you’re doing business here it’s part and parcel of how you show up. For us as a company for a long time, I think I have been saying we’ve gotta “walk the walk” but we haven’t always wanted to talk about what we do, and how we approach it. I think it’s been both a learning experience, and me building confidence and being comfortable talking about the things we do. Not because we’re bragging about them, but more because we’re proud of how we show up in our community and in society. The last couple of years I think it’s also a product of a crazy growth curve. There have been some points where we are just trying to hold on to keep this whole thing from disintegrating as it’s kind of a rocket ship. I think we’re finally digesting a little bit of the growth. We have the ability to step back and ask, you know, what are the things that we should be talking about, and what are the things that we’re able to do? This year feels like a little bit of a culmination of where we can both celebrate some of the stuff that we’ve done as an organization year in year out, and finally talk about it. Then, I think in terms of the “Give Back Can” and our focus on some charitable giving, it’s a point where the success that we’ve had as a business, we’re finally able to be able to give back. I’m super proud of that. I think as an organization hopefully everyone here is super proud of us getting to a point where we have the financial resources to make that kind of commitment. You know, it’s a little bit of putting your money where your mouth. It is a little bit of walking the walk, and I’m excited that we’re finally at that point.

PDP – Absolutely. In the future having transparency is one of the best forms of currency you can have, right? When you can not only talk the talk and walk the walk but be open about that path you’re taking. I think that’s important and I’m happy and proud that we’re doing it.

RH – Yeah, and just from an organizational standpoint, trying to have internal initiatives to think about water reduction in the cellar and thinking about energy conservation. Simply being able to actually put some of those initiatives forward and begin to work on some multi-year projects is super exciting, and I think a great opportunity for us. There are always areas that we can get better at, and I think as a company we’re finally able to focus and look a little deeper into what we’re doing to see how we can improve what we’re doing always.

PDP – Always forward. Well, with that said. Coming to our wrap-up here. If you could close us out, speaking of always forward, Union Wine Company, but more importantly Ryan Harms. What are you looking forward to 2021-2022 to 2030? Close us out here with a little bit of a “blue skies” as we call it. What are you looking forward to this coming future?

RH – Blue skies as it’s raining out right now, right? Well, we need the rain. Yeah, so I mean, man, 2021 has already been a year that we didn’t entirely expect, in all good ways. We just closed on a vineyard purchase out in Sheridan which is totally exciting. We didn’t enter the year thinking that we’d be acquiring vineyard ground. Back to the sustainability side of our business, taking more of a direct hand in our farming. Being able to think from a cultural standpoint about how we’re approaching our farming, what is important to us—becoming more integrated in that way is an exciting opportunity and growth. Now that we’ve gone down this path, we will continue to be looking to acquire more vineyard ground and become bigger growers at the end of the day. Which hasn’t historically been how our business is structured, so that’s totally exciting. I continue to see great opportunities for our canned wine products and, you know, continued growth in that regard. Some of our other projects are a lot of fun. Amity vineyards right now is in development of a couple acres that have just been replanted, and we have about 10 more acres that are going to be planted next spring that’s entirely new ground. There’s a lot of energy and excitement around that project. I see good things ahead for several of our brands. Then, here at the winery, we’re getting ready to break ground on a new crush pad, hopefully, any day now. Kind of continued fun investments here, things that will make us more efficient and be able to continue to help shepherd our growth going forward. I don’t know yet about 2030, I haven’t gotten there yet. I think in terms of 2021-2022 I can see some really good things on the horizon.

Ryan Harms UWC Owner and Founder