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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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If you want to follow the progress of the Outdoor Wino entry, check out the photo trail on its Facebook page.
Regular summer visitors to Hood River may have crossed paths with the annual Wind Fest event. Organized by the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association, Wind Fest enlisted wind surfing and kiteboarding gear makers and sellers to let wind sports addicts try out new gear, down at the Hood River waterfront.
My, how the child has grown. This year, it’s called Beach Bash. Instead of two days, this year it covers four. Here’s the what and where of it all:
Thursday, June 25 — Pray for Wind Party, 6-10 p.m., Stonehedge Gardens restaurant. $20 covers a catered dinner ($10 for kids); cash bar, raffle, band and auction.
Friday, June 26 — High Wind Demo, sponsored by Windance, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Rowena (East. Mayer State Park, 15 miles east of Hood River off I-84).
Later that same day (Friday, June 26) — Outdoor Concert, 6-10 p.m., Waterfront Park Amphitheater, presented by 10 Barrel Brewing and supported by Naked Winery, food by 4 & 20 Blackbirds and Leah’s Lunch.
Saturday, June 27 — Big Winds Beach Party, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Hood River Event Site. All kinds of fun, including a Mt. Hood Meadows Kids Section, with races, relays and the Never Ever Windsurfed Before Race. For us bigger people, the day includes music, food, drink, gear demos, archery tag and more.
Sunday, June 28 — All Sports Swap Meet, 7 a.m. (sellers), 8 a.m. (buyers) to noon, Luhr Jensen Parking lot (just to the east of the Hood River Waterfront Park). Sellers pay $10.
Closing BBQ — 1-3 p.m., Northwave Lawn.
Just for the fun of it and to get you all jacked up, we’re sharing a video below from the recent Pistol River Wave Bash on the Oregon Coast. Winds pushing 50 mph, and a lot of talent. The Hood River Beach Bash will be a lot calmer. Count on it.
Just a reminder, Naked Winery is again a sponsor this summer of the Bend Concert series at the Les Schwab Amphitheater.
At this writing, you still have plenty of options to put your hot weather self on cruise control.
Tix are available for Sheryl Crow (July 6), Death Cab for Cutie (July 9), Lyle Lovett and His Large Band (July 12), Pink Martini (July 25), Wilco (Aug. 8), Michael Franti & Spearhead (Aug. 23), Weird Al Yankovic (Sept. 4), and Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals (Sept. 6).
Take a tour of the lineup here, and hop on board the banks of the Deschutes River, with a glass of wine from Naked Winery and your mind on mellow.
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.
When you have good friends, as 71-year-old twins Jean Friend and Jan Cooper do, you tend to trust their judgment as much as you enjoy their company.
So when friends from the Gateway Elks Club in east Portland invited them to tag along on a trip to the Gorge, they found themselves seduced into the fun funnel at the Naked Winery tasting room in Hood River.
Call if the vino vortex, or call it good people enjoying good wine, but next tjhing you know, the sisters had signed up for a C-level membership in Club Naked. It gives them a good way to stock the wine cellar in the house they share in Happy Valley, southeast of Portland.
“We like wine, and bought a big house that has a wine room,” Jean told us. “We have 750 bottles of wine.”
To be fair, not every bottle bears the Naked Winery label.
“We belonged to the Willamette club for awhile, but we didn’t like their wines as much as Naked’s,” Jean says. “We helped at Shafer Vineyard Cellars in Forest Grove, and we like her wines. So we have Naked wine and Shafer wine in our cellar.”
Of Naked’s offerings, they’re partial to our bigger reds, although “we started out with the whites.”
“Then we switched to reds,” Jean says. “We love Penetration, and we love the Oh! wines. There are so many that are really good.”
They’ve even become fans of the Outdoor Vino wines.
“If you’re traveling, you can put them in your suitcase, and it arrives safe and sound,” Jean says.
Still, two ladies, and 750 bottles of wine? Not to worry. These sippin’ sisters are perfect Club Naked members — they like to party. They entertain a lot, since moving to their rural property in 2010 after both lost husbands of many years.
Wine helps them survive a couple of big fund-raisers, a Haunted House at Halloween and a Christmas Wonderland.
“We had 386 people go through the Christmas Wonderland,” Jean says. “We made over $4,800 for the Elks Lodge.”
They get involved in as many Club Naked events as time and stamina allow. They’ve attended Medieval dinners, the summer lobster feed and the recent Sip N Stroke in Portland.
And, like many people, they touch the Naked team at special events, such as the Newport Seafood & Wine Festival.
“The girls and guys who work there, they’re all so nice,” Jean says. “Lara (Friesen) is as nice as could be. And that’s where we met Shelly (Bradley). She’s so much fun.”
Especially when she’s pouring.
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