With hopes of giving the Gorge area an economic bump this spring, the Columbia Gorge Winegrowers are planning a "Passport Event Weekend" for March 27-29. The event was supported by a grant from the Oregon Tourism Commission.
"Passport weekends are established events and very successful in other winegrowing tourism destinations, drawing thousands of guests to an area for a weekend," said Autumn Woods, marketing coordinator for the Columbia Gorge Winegrowers Association. "When we put this plan together last summer, we didn't foresee the changes that have happened in the economy. The actual impact the Passport project may have on local businesses seems as important as our original goal of bringing more recognition to the wineries of the Columbia Gorge. We have seen great support from Travel Oregon, as well as the local businesses and chambers in Washington and Oregon."
Business partners participating in the program include Bonneville Hotsprings Resort in North Bonneville, Hood River Inn Best Western in Hood River, Columbia Gorge Bed & Breakfast Association and Full Sail Brewing in Hood River, Solstice Wood Fire Caf‚ in Bingen, and Good River Restaurant in Mosier.
The Hood River County Chamber, The Dalles Chamber, Mount Adams Chamber, and the Columbia River Gorge Visitors Associations have also been promoting the Passport weekend and engaging their members in the project.
"While an event weekend won't change the current economic climate, it could give some of our Gorge businesses a great weekend that makes the month or the shoulder season a little easier to weather," said Woods. "Our proximity to the Portland and Vancouver area makes the Gorge an easy and affordable destination for day or weekend trips."
The focus of the Passport Weekend is showcasing the Columbia Gorge wineries and tasting rooms and the award-winning wines that are grown and crafted in the Gorge. A Passport booklet sells for $15 and includes exclusive benefits for Passport holders to enjoy: waived tasting fees, reserve and library tastings, discounts on purchases, food and chocolate pairings, and more. Each winery has a page in the Passport with location, hours, special offerings for Passport holders as well as a winery description.
Passports are on sale at Gorge area tasting rooms and on-line at columbiagorgewine.com. More information about the Passport program is also available by calling 866-413-9463.
The Columbia Gorge Winegrowers Association is a non-profit group of local wineries, grape growers, and wine-related businesses from the Columbia Gorge and Columbia Valley appellations in both Oregon and Washington. Together, the more than 60 members of the association promote the award-winning wines and grapes of the Columbia River Gorge region.
For more information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-866-413-WINE.