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Photos Of Vinyards, Wineries Showcase In Photo Exhibit

Artists reception planned for May 27 from 5 to 7 p.m.

"Photos of Crush, Columbia Gorge Fall 2004" is the name of the photo exhibit by Patrick Bennett which will be showing at the Lyle Hotel from May 27 through June 30.

From the vantage point of their Harleys, Patrick and Patricia Bennett documented Crush 2004 in the Columbia Gorge.

Join them at the Lyle Hotel for a sampling of the fruits of their labor and that of the winemakers and winegrowers of the Columbia Gorge during an artist's reception on May 27 from 5 to 7 p.m.

"Digital photography has rocked the foundations of the art form. It has further isolated photographers who no longer pilgrimage to the well of the photo lab to exchange stories. The labs are closing and we're losing track of each other. But the unexpected flip-side is a very small world, indeed, " said Bennett.

With the right tech savvy and talent, high rez images can be beamed home from the ends of the earth. It's not cell phone pics, rather digital files suitable for commercial reproduction. Like the internet, it potentially brings the whole world into view.

"To test it, we loaded our 2 Harleys and headed to Columbia Gorge wine country for crush, the harvest. Down there folks are just giddy with growth. In July the roughly 40 miles from Stevenson, to The Dalles, was recognized as having unique qualities for growing wine grapes and awarded its own appellation, the Columbia Gorge AVA," Bennett saidi.

"Its uniqueness is in diversity. Elevation levels range from near sea level to 2000'. From its western marine climate you lose 1" of rain per year as you travel inland to the semiarid end of the appellation's reach. The Missoula floods that cut the gorge resulted in strikingly varied soils, some of which allow rooting depths in excess of 60 feet. All these micro climates provide perfect pockets for growing a wide range of varietals."

"While grapes have been grown in the area for more than 100 years, with some fruit today borne of vines planted in the early 1900s, it is only in the past decade that winemaking has really taken off. In 1999 only 3 wineries operated in the area. Now there are 16, with 13 wine tasting rooms and numerous plans for more vineyards, wineries and tasting rooms. The boom couldn't happen to a nicer, and more talented group of people," Bennett continued.

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