Deep farm, family roots lure Ewald back to Naked Winery tasting room

Lindsey Ewald is in her first year of taking visitors to the Hood River tasting room on  tours of wines from Naked Winery.
Lindsey Ewald is in her first year of taking visitors to the Hood River tasting room on tours of wines from Naked Winery.

Lindsey Ewald’s roots run deep in the Hood River Valley, so it figures that she — for now, at least — would find her way home after rambles that took her briefly to the farthest corner of the Pacific Ocean.

Now in her first year behind the bar of Naked Winery’s Hood River tasting room, Lindsey is glad to be juggling wine-pouring duties with time helping her fourth-generation fruit-growing family and running a business making party cakes of all sizes.

After Ewald earned her college degree in communications from Arizona State — where she was a member of the waterski team — she and a friend took a break to teach English in the Kingdom of Tonga in the southern Pacific Ocean.

Distance makes the heart grow lonely.

“It was good for the time that I was there, but I wanted to get back,” she says.

Her time away from the valley included a brief stint at Oregon State University, where she met James Nygren, a pitcher with the Beavers’ stellar baseball squad.

Now, while Lindsey plucks pears, pours pinot noir and bakes cup and wedding cakes, Nygren toils with the pitching corps for the New Orleans Zephyrs triple-A ball club.

For the last three years, she has operated Frosted, making cupcakes and larger treats for weddings, birthday parties and baby showers.

She says it’s difficult with her boyfriend living so far away, but plans a trip south this summer to watch the Zephyrs play. She brings a much different appreciation to the game than she once did.

“I was never much of a baseball fan,” she says.

“But now I know more about pitching than I ever thought I would.”

SoCal escapee heads north for fun, takes a liking to Naked

adam_carrv2Q – 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.”

Yes, he says, he met some bachelorettes.

It’s a tough job.

Adrenaline quest leads Laurie Rogers to Naked Winery tasting room

Laurie Rogers, wine server, coffee drinker and kayaker.
Laurie Rogers, wine server, coffee drinker and kayaker.

If you meet Laurie Rogers across the tasting room bar in Hood River, it’s OK to kid her a bit about what she would like to be doing if she wasn’t sharing the wonders of Naked’s wines.

Kayaking.

Spend any time around her, and it becomes clear that one of our newest tasting room escorts is addicted to whitewater.

That figures, in an ironic sort of way. She spent her formative years as a competitive swimmer, growing up in Alaska and taking her laps to college in Wisconsin.

But those pools didn’t have much whitewater, which may suggest why Laurie has no desire to relive those days. Endless hours, going back and forth, staring at the black tiles on the bottom of the pool.

Borrrrrring.

Nope, give Laurie a tumbling river, any day. Her life pretty much attests to that, since graduating the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with a major in English and a double minor in anthropology and environmental studies.

At least the last field of study hints at her career direction. She has worked as a raft guide, on the Rogue River and Colorado, and in Chile.

She also has led outdoor experiential trips for youth groups, and worked in between adventure seasons as a restaurant server in Durango, Colorado; Lake Tahoe, Calif; and Hood River.

So when you’re next tasting wines in Hood River, ask her about her life on top of flowing water — and under it. It’s the source of her biggest smiles.

Naked Winery tasting room (and others) vault Hood River to top of Sunset list

hood river top adv town

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.”

Or …

“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.

Come  see us, in Hood River, Bend, McMinnville or South Dakota.

At a moment of pain and loss, a tasting room server’s humanity speaks volumes

When Annie Nelson and her husband, Earl, recently took a break from camp hosting duties at Rooster Rock State Park, they stopped at Naked Winery’s tasting room in Hood River. As she was enjoying Naked’s wines, Annie’s phone rang — with bad news. Our Tale Shaker met the couple by coincidence on a recent camping trip, where Annie shared her experience and appreciation for tasting room server Wes Heustess.