Sip, sip hooray: Winery commemorates Blazers’ 50th


The Oregon winery is celebrating the Trail Blazers' 50th anniversary with special wines

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A longtime Oregon winemaker is helping the Portland Trail Blazers celebrate their 50th anniversary.

Adelsheim Vineyard in Newberg crafted more than 1,000 cases of special commemorative bottles to honor the occasion.

Bottles of Adelsheim wine commemorating the Portland Trail Blazers’ 50th anniversary, Oct. 2, 2019. (KOIN)

Staff at the winery told KOIN 6 News the project has been in the works for years, ever since the Blazers first approached Adelsheim about making a special pinot noir and a chardonnay.

Adelsheim winemaker Gina Hennen, Oct. 2, 2019. (KOIN)

“This actually started in 2017, so it’s been a long time in the making,” said Adelsheim winemaker Gina Hennen. “We’ve been working with the Trail Blazers organization to get these commemorative wines produced in the 2017 vintage and then ready for their release for their 50th celebration.”

Kelli Gregory, the vineyard manager at Adelsheim, said the project was a match made in heaven.

“We’re both really iconic brands for basketball and wine and Oregon is just a great place to be, so for us to be chosen to make this wine for the Blazers is an honor,” Gregory said.

Wine grapes at Adelsheim Vineyard, Oct. 2, 2019. (KOIN)

Adelsheim decided to blend grapes grown under different conditions for both the pinot noir and chardonnay.

“The pinot noir from the ’17 vintage was 9 different vineyard, so 3 different soil types — big range of elevation from 250 to 700 feet, so you get a long ripening window,” Gregory explained. “Fruit tastes a lot different at different elevations.”

Adelsheim vineyard manager Kelli Gregory, Oct. 2, 2019. (KOIN)

Gregory said the chardonnay was made from grapes grown in 4 different vineyards.

“All these different sites express different characteristics,” she said. Both wine types are great to drink right away or allow to age.

“Everyone’s gonna love this wine,” Gregory said.

The team also needed to figure out a design for the special label.

Hennen said they worked with designer Beth Ng, who has also collaborated on game-day posters for the Blazers in the past.

A Portland Trail Blazers jersey at Adelsheim Vineyard, Oct. 2, 2019. (KOIN

“She designed these to represent the history of the organization, so there’s all kinds of iconography and Easter eggs hidden in these,” Hennen said.

Adelsheim is donating 10% of the profits from each commemorative bottle sold to the Trail Blazers Foundation, which distributes money to underserved families and children in the community.

Those who attend home games at the Moda Center can also buy individual glasses of the wine. A portion of those proceeds will also go to the foundation.

Adelsheim’s commemorative Trail Blazers wines

Grapevines at Adelsheim Vineyard in Newberg, Oct. 2, 2019. (KOIN)

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