Portland, OR, March 26, 2018-A Portland tune-meister penned the song Peel Me a Grape. It’s a song of commanding sorcery — at least as Dianna Krall sings it.
“I like that song, but it didn’t get me here”, says Kenneth Friedenreich, author of Oregon Wine Country Stories: Decoding the Grape, out soon from Arcadia Publishing and History Press, specialists in regionally specific books. “I liked the wine here so much, I moved to Oregon to write about it.” The book debuts April 9th.
Friedenreich is a New Yorker at heart, but his adventures took him to the four corners of the continent, with a 34 year layover in southern California, where he still serves as wine editor for California Homes Magazine.
“If one grows up in and around New York City, you learn soon enough to eat and drink well”, he says, adding, “I was then fortunate to come to California just as its wine industry was attracting serious attention. But as it basked in recognition, too many tony wineries lost sight of their origins and institutional memory; especially as ownership changed hands and prices skyrocketed with little rationale.”
A similar moment, he insists, is coming to Oregon, and Friedenreich wants to give readers a snapshot of the wine business in Oregon as comparable transitions are taking place. “I am fortunate that the founding families of a remarkable industry in Oregon seem to be better at handing off the torch than some of the big name California vintners. Timing is a big part of my book.”
Friedenreich, who has written many books and articles, built a cable TV news service in Orange County, CA, with wide-ranging experience in different industries says, “I have the advantage of being active in two of our major producing wine states. Their affinities are almost as interesting as their differences. My book duly takes note.”
The author describes Oregon Wine Country Stories: Decoding the Grape, “as your one-stop crash course in working on your taste memory instead of your abs or rock climbing skills. Nothing wrong with being trim, of course, but exercising taste memory will more than tickle your tastevin, it leads readers down wine roads that even the Ooh-la-la French covet as their involvement in Oregon viticulture attests.”
Friedenreich declares nobody is born with a wine palate. It takes practice and time. “Do you like dirt? We got plenty of interesting dirt. You like climate and soil variations? We got that, too. About every ten feet or so, up and down the state of Oregon. Can you name the Pope who gave us Rhone wine and hence Rhone Rangers? It’s all in the book, with photos, maps, perspectives, and a lot of heart.
“I am a wine writer, not a critic spewing out meaningless numbers like so many odds posted just before a horserace. We are scoreboard obsessed and it doesn’t work with wines. “I empower my readers to trust the message in the bottle, and ignore those sanctimonious dicta from experts. I incorporate nearly 400 wineries visited and wines sampled. Soon enough, you can notice those wines that reward us with their exuberance and harmony.” After a pause, he adds. “It was also grand fun.”
ABOUT THE OREGON WINE INDUSTRY
Oregon Wine Stats Reveal the State Fights Wine Wars above its Weight
Oregon Wine Board recently released the results of the 2016 Economic Impact Study, showing significant appreciation and growth in output and value. Sally Murdoch, communications director for OWB states “The three most telling figures are as follows: the sum of all economic activity in Oregon related directly or indirectly to wine is $5.61 billion, compared to $3.35 billion three years ago, a 67% jump in statewide impact.” You can read the entire report here.