Around Truth Central, we love to pull back a bit and observe food and beverage trend lines. Remember, back in the day (hey, where did THAT phrase come from?), when you went out to eat and you ordered and your food came to you from … the kitchen?
Not … any … more.
Today, it’s all “farm to table.” As if (ahem) the kitchen didn’t even exist.
But (there’s always the “but”), if you put the kitchen on the farm, and the tables, too, it’s problem solved.
Boy, has Naked Winery got its Club Naked members (and special guest) covered with our own authentic slightly rebranded Farm to Fork feast — Get Fresh! on Saturday, July 25, at the Ingenuity Innovation Center in St. Helens, down along the gorgeous lower Columbia River.
With wine, of course.
According to Club Naked manager Lara Friesen, the greens for the event will come from the aquaponic green houses at the Innovation Center. Pair that up with fresh fish and tri-tip from the grill, and it’s game on.
Diners will be eating outside, listening to “fun and funky jazz” by Julie Amici Trio.
When diners aren’t noshing or sipping Naked’s finest, they can get social (and recreational) herding cows, pitching forks and competitively eating corn on the cob.
The fun starts at 4:30 p.m., and a seat at the table (and farm) is $50 per person.
Get your Club Naked membership and reserve your seats (and forks) by e-mail: email@example.com
Now, go to our facebook page and tell us your favorite variation on the “farm to table” concept. How about “field to flatware” or … ?
When pigs — and narwhals, beer cans, pterodactyls, pugs and God-knows-whats — decide to fly, the boys and girls of Outdoor Wino will be there to join them.
Mark your calendars for Aug. 1, 2015, when four pushers from the Flying Outdoor Winos launch pilot Alaina Waller into the air above the Willamette River — and hope she and her aero-foil don’t drop like a stone.
Thousands of spectators are sure to be on hand for the 2015 edition of Red Bull’s Flugtag event. It all goes up — and down — at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, near the Riverplace development.
“We’re going for flight distance over creativity,” says Waller, Naked’s assistant winemaker.
Waller got Naked Winery — and its Outdoor Wino brand — interested in entering when she learned last year that Flugtag was returning to Portland after previous visits in 2004 and 2008.
She posed the idea of an Outdoor Wino entry, and as befits the Naked ethos, a team of fun-loving, adventurous, outdoorsy thrill-seekers quickly coalesced.
Club Naked colleagues Lara Friesen and Chris Garvey recruited warehouse hero Cale Rice and winery friend Asit Rathod to make the dream come true.
Garvey, who manages club activities out of our McMinnville store, has been leading construction efforts.
“It’s being built all over, in Portland, McMinnville, we work on it where we can,” Garvey says.
He offered a high-five to Jason Reed, who works next to the McMinnville tasting room at Oregon Stationers, for letting Outdoor Wino’s team share tools and a cooperative woodworking space.
Each of the 45 Flugtag teams — selected from over 500 entries — strives for a mix of creativity, flight distance and showmanship. Judges select winners based on all three factors.
Waller is hoping to go the distance. Four costumed team members push a cart bearing the glider and pilot off the lip of a platform 28 feet above the water. The goal is for the glider to glide. The best effort ever, by the Chicken Whisperers in 2013, landed 258 feet from launch.
“We can always shoot for 259,” Waller says. “I just don’t want to nose dive.”
She’ll only get one chance to find out. Because these are craft designed to land on the forgiving surface of water, practice flights aren’t logical or advisable.
Take a look at the blooper reel, and you can see why. More than a few entrants collapse at the base of the launch platform.
Because of the inherent risks, the event and its organizers put a premium on safety.
“There’s so much risk management,” Waller says. “They inspect all the designs, and if you nose dive, the pilot has to be able to push themselves away.”
Garvey is confident that the Outdoor Wino entry will prevail. He’s done his homework.
“It’s an air foil patterned after a design that is supposed to give low speed and high loft,” Garvey says. “I read everything I could on designing wings, and watched untold hours of video. No shit, I read so much I feel like I could build an airplane right now.”
He and Rathod consulted people who have actual aeronautical engineering talent.
“Everybody we have talked to has offered small tweaks,” Garvey says.
The rules limit flying rigs to 28 feet wide, 20 feet long, 10 feet high and no more than 400 pounds with the pilot included.
Waller is going to wear a wine bottle costume, and the Outdoor Wino pushers will wear grape cluster costumes prepared by Club Naked member Melissa Dye.
Waller says each team gets 30 seconds to perform a skit — against the backdrop of Rhymefest singing “Build Me Up Buttercup” — then 30 seconds to launch its aircraft.
“I can’t be nervous,” Waller says. “I think they’ll have enough energy drink on hand to keep me from being nervous.”
Really? Event managers allow no drinking by competitors before launch, but when it comes to blunting nerves, a can of Red Bull is the last thing we reach for, and Outdoor Vino the first.
* * *
If you want to follow the progress of the Outdoor Wino entry, check out the photo trail on its Facebook page.
Neagle, a writer and adjunct college instructor, calls Trout Lake home these days.
For his “Top Gun” experience, he could’ve gone bonkers and concocted some sort of Naval aviation costume.
But no, that would’ve been too easy.
Instead, he embraced, as he puts it, “the way of the towel.”
Sartorially deconstructed and spinning out of control toward minimalism, he showed up June 13 at the Hood River tasting room wearing a white terrycloth towel.
Nothing else. Just a towel.
He says he got the idea from another Club Naked member, chatting during a previous visit.
“He mentioned that he would come in a towel, and I thought that was a brilliant idea,”
Neagle says. “I hoped he would be there and I could say: Maverick, it’s not your flying, it’s your attitude. The enemy’s dangerous, but right now you’re worse. Dangerous and foolish.’ ”
Foolish, wearing a towel to a wine pickup party? For Neagle, that was just the start of a day in high concept.
“In the entire movie, everyone is always sweaty, to the point where I wanted for the costume to be really authentic, I wanted to take a mister,” he says.
But he forgot. He was busy getting … wrapped. He says the towel — a regular bath towel, from Ikea — was held on by nothing but a tuck.
“I got dressed up here, if you can call a towel getting dressed,” he says. “I drove down with me wearing the towel. I spent three to four hours in the towel. This is a really good towel, so I didn’t once have to adjust it.”
To ensure its security — because, as should be the case, he wasn’t wearing anything beneath the towel — he tested it.
“To demonstrate the towel, I jumped up and down several times,” he says. “It never gave or loosened.”
Good thing, because his girlfriend, artist Angela Bliss, wasn’t so sure about the jumping up and down idea.
Neagle’s real life isn’t that far from the fictive world of Navy pilots on Navy ships in “Top Gun.” A native of Missouri, Neagle employed his master’s degree in English to secure a gig teaching on board U.S. Navy ships. He works through Central Texas College in Killeen, and its Navy College Program for Afloat College Education.
“They call me up, and tell me such and such ship is available, for such and such classes, and do I want to take it?” Neagle says.
“They fly me to the ship wherever it is. I get on board, and I’m there for usually one or two terms. One term is 7-8 weeks, so I can be on board four months.”
Shipboard life, for those who haven’t lived it themselves, is noisy, full of mechanical odors, and crowded. He shares a dorm-like space with four or five other teachers. They teach two to three times a day, three days a week.
The rest of the time, Neagle writes. He says he can draft a novel during a teaching cruise.
Because of that work flexibility, he says, he and Bliss can live anywhere — and have. Before moving to Trout Lake in 2013 — and joining Club Naked in 2014 — Neagle and Bliss lived in Mexico, Sardinia, Alaska and New Orleans.
Trout Lake works for now, in part because it’s close to the Hood River tasting room of Naked Winery.
If you’ve been around Naked Winery for very long, you know “We aim to tease!” and have a mission to cut America’s divorce rate in half by encouraging couples to connect nightly over a glass of wine.
It’s one thing to have a mission. It’s another thing to put the mission to the test: Is it working?
So we thought we’d do a little data dig. Data from the Oregon Health Authority shows a flat line on the divorce activity up to a spike in 2010 (probably stress from the Great Recession), followed by a reversion to norm and, actually, a downward trend in the last few years.
We compared divorce and marriage trends with trends for sales at Naked Winery since 2006, its first year with any sales to speak of.
From the graph above, you can see two things:
As Naked Winery has sold more wine, the divorce rate has gone down.
As Naked Winery has sold more wine, the marriage rate has gone up.
Q – What do kite-boarding, mountain biking and rock climbing have in common with Naked Winery?
A – A love of each will lead eventually to Hood River.
So, all things in moderation to keep yourself happily tasting wine with Adam Carr, one of the newest faces in our Hood River tasting room.
Carr, like many immigrants to Hood River, came for the recreation. Born in the Southern California town of Ventura, he lived in — and surfed from — nearby Camarillo for years before heading north to the University of California at Santa Barbara.
He took his pharmacology degree to a gig in a pharmacy, but four years of that started to feel too much like … a job in a drug store.
“I decided to take a break,” he says.
And not go back, he might have added. He taught kite-boarding for awhile in the Dominican Republic, before turning his sights on Hood River.
“Kiting, biking and climbing brought me here,” he says. “I figured I’d fine a job when I got here.”
When did he get here?
“It was a Monday,” he says.
During his first few weeks in a Penetration T-shirt, Carr has come to appreciate the distinctly un-stuffy vibe of the Naked Winery crew.
“Saturday … or was it Sunday? No, it was Saturday; that was crazy,” he says. “Five or six bachelorette parties came through that day.”
It’s almost as if “Top Gun” was written for Naked Winery. If you’re not familiar with the film, check it out. IOHOP, it’s not a great movie, but it is fun. Pure Hollywood brain candy.
And that’s what makes it a perfect pairing with Naked. We’re here for fun, after all, hoping to help American couples strengthen their bonds by sharing a glass of Naked wine — maybe, even, while watching “Top Gun.”
Or immersing themselves in one of our Top Gun Naked Experience weekends, as a member of Club Naked.
In addition to great prices on great wines, Club members picking up wine this month at any of our three tasting rooms — Hood River, Bend, McMinnville — will get special access on the following dates to the Top Gun Naked Experience.
Hood River Experience, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 6-7 & June 13-14
McMinnville Experience, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 13-14
Bend Experience, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 20-21 & June 27-28
So, what does the Experience include? Wine, of course, but lots of Tom-foolery (nod there to Tom Cruise, the star of “Top Gun”).
When Club members arrive at their preferred tasting room on one of the Experience dates, they will meet their guide and begin a tasting tour (more later on how you can prepare yourself with Top Gun quotes to stay in the game).
At each of five stations, visitors get a choice of sweet or dry wine flights.
Basic Training – Cougar semi-sparkling white, or 2014 Complicated Viognier
Pre-flight Procedures – 2014 Fling Gewurztraminer or 2013 Foreplay Chardonnay
Danger Zone – 2013 Tease Riesling or 2012 Dominatrix Pinot Noir
Earn Your Wings – 2014 Sure Thing Symphony or 2012 Oh! Orgasmic Nebbiolo
Top Gun – Blazing Straddle Sweet Red, or 2013 Amor American Blend.
Along the way, club members will get a set of dog tags, take a “Top Gun” quote quiz, sample a snack pack designed to keep them flying on the level, apply wet-tattoo aviator’s wings, and graduate to Top Gun, where the ultimate prize is (duh) their quarterly club wine selection (go here to explore the different club levels, bottle mix and pricing).
We were watching “Top Gun” the other night, in the run-up to our Top Gun Naked Experience Club Naked Pickup Parties (say that fast, three times, in a barrel roll fly-by).
And every time we turned around, we were jotting down some racy, tasty Naked-esque double entendre.
We know you turn to TNT (uh, that would be The Naked Truth) for all your … well, naked truth. But we thought you might like to know about an upstart little publication — delivered on paper, no less — that has decided, after more than a century of publication, to issue its first Sunset Travel Awards.
Whoops, we let it slip, with the screen grab, if not the mention of the publication’s name.
You probably figured out that Hood River was named top adventure town, when you heard all those people in McCall, Idaho, chanting “We’re No. 2! We’re No. 2!”
The thing is, Sunset talked about windsurfing and skiing and mountain biking, but they didn’t mention the real adventure in Hood River — getting to every tasting room in a short radius of the Naked Winery downtown tasting room.
We think our tasting room is the logical first stop. Get off I-84 at Exit 63, turn right, go one block, and park.
We’re trying to come up with a slogan that captures the inevitability — and irresistability — of us. Like this:
“Once you go Naked, you never go baked.”
“Once you go Naked, you never should play with a yo-yo.”
You get the idea, and because you do, please send us your better ideas.
The hard part about starting first at our tasting room? Prying yourself away from our tasting team to think about trying some of the other fine wines emerging from the area’s adventurous wine producers.