My Latest in Wine Business Monthly:
Oregon’s First AAPI Food & Wine Pairs Diversity and Discovery
by L.M. Archer
Dayton, Ore. – Oregon celebrated its first annual AAPI Food & Wine festival on May 20 and 21 at the Stoller Family Estate Experience Center in Dayton.
Part of Oregon Wine Month, the sold-out event honored Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. More than 1,000 attendees savored wines from CHO Wines, Et Filles, Evening Land, Hundred Suns and Shiba Wichern, paired with curated bites from AAPI-owned area restaurants Toki, Matta, HeyDay, Baon Kainan, Kim Jong Grillin, Bhuna, KauKau, Magna Kusina, Sibeiho and Sunrice.
“What a weekend!” said Lois Cho, Oregon AAPI Food & Wine founder, and CEO/founder of CHO Wines. “I had no idea what an emotional impact this event would have on me, our event volunteers, our vendors attendees and even the Stoller’s events team.”
“You know, what I was expecting was for it to be a wonderful celebration of food and wine,” added Jessica Mozeico, co-founder of Et Fille Wines. “But what I felt was a wonderful celebration of community. I’ve never been in a situation while living in Oregon, where there there have been so many different members of the AAPI community that came together. It just has such a great energy to it.”
“The intersection between food and wine in the Asian community has always been very rarely seen, just because our parents immigrated in the early 60s and 70s, and back then wine was never known,” admitted Ron Acierto, sommelier at Okta in McMinnville, a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best New Restaurant. “We didn’t drink wine. None of us knew about wine. But to be a part of this is another step in inclusivity of the Asian community, and Asian culture, in this big business of food and wine.”
Sponsors included Stoller Family Estate, NW Wine Shuttle, O’Brien Design + Build, Shun Cutlery, Casteel Custom Bottling, Jonas Co., Sokol Blosser Winery, Topo Chico, Northwest Distribution and Storage, and Oregon Wine Board. Proceeds from ticket sales benefitted Our Legacy Harvested, a non-profit dedicated to educating, advancing, and empowering BIPOC wine industry members.
Importantly, the AAPI Food and Wine event underscored Oregon’s diverse wine community. “I think the Willamette Valley has been doing a lot of work around diversity,” said Renée St. Amour, co-founder of Hundred Suns Wine with husband and winemaker Grant Coulter. “In the past three or four years, we’ve really realized we need to both attract younger drinkers, and also just more diverse customers. If you look around, it’s incredible to see the amount of young people here, and watch people’s eyes open when they see the food that they are nostalgic about growing up [with], paired with wine that they may not have been exposed to. Seeing that door open up for people, and especially my Asian sisters and brothers – that’s exciting!” READ MORE HERE.
I’m pleased to share my coverage of Oregon’s first AAPI food & wine event with you here.