The Gorge Wine Celebration for Hospice returns this summer on the evening of Aug. 8.
Wine lovers and friends of Hospice will gather to taste locally-made wines and enjoy gourmet food, music and entertainment. After a record-breaking event in 2007, both in temperature and fundraising, the event moves to the air-conditioned comfort of The Gorge Room at the Best Western Hood River Inn.
The wine tasting, silent and live auctions, buffet dinner and other surprises promise to make the event the hottest ticket in town.
Originally organized as an opportunity to taste the wines of the Gorge in one spot, the Columbia Gorge Wine Growers Association decided to make the event a benefit for Hospice of The Gorge in 2007.
"The partnership made sense," states Autumn Woods, Marketing Coordinator for the CGWGA, "they are a non-profit that serves the same counties where our wineries are located in Oregon and Washington. Our member wine makers and growers wanted to give back to the wonderful communities where we live and work. We are proud to raise funds that help them achieve their mission to assist patients and families with peace and comfort when they need it most."
The Gorge Wine Celebration for Hospice has been incredibly successful, raising $25,000 for Hospice of The Gorge last August. Funds donated to the local, non-profit hospice are used to cover charity care for patients with inadequate insurance. Hospice of The Gorge has offered care to those in need, regardless of their finances, since 1981.
Executive director Gretchen Hagen, said "We are so thankful to the winegrowers for all they do for this event. They not only pour their delicious wines, they donate incredible auction packages that are exclusive to this event, including a barrel of wine custom blended for the bid winner!"
After 2008s triple-digit heat, the decision was made to move the benefit indoors. "The venue change will allow guests to sample wines, have dinner, mingle and bid on auction items in the same space," said Woods. "Antipasti platters will also be stationed throughout the wineries to pair bites with the award-winning wines of the Gorge. Our goal is to provide a world-class wine tasting event for our guests."
Chef Mark Deresta is designing a gourmet pasta dinner that will be served buffet style. The organizers are also planning strolling musicians, a wall of wine and wine-charm raffle to enhance the entertainment of the evening.
Marcus Morgan of Morgan Auctioneers returns to lend his award-winning auction skills to the spirited live auction.
Added to the event this year will also be a chance to mix with the local winegrowers as they move about the crowd, pouring tastes during the live auction.
"It's an exciting chance for our winemakers to get out from behind the tables and share their passion for wine," said Woods, "Learn about what makes the Gorge so special for growing and making world-class wines."
Tickets are $50 each and include a commemorative glass, all wine tasting, appetizers, gourmet pasta dinner, musical and auction entertainment and a few surprises.
Tickets are available online, at the Hospice of The Gorge offices or at your favorite Gorge-area tasting room. Visit www.hospiceofthegorge.org or call 1-866-413-WINE to purchase and/or order by mail.