El Gaucho Hosts DeLille Legacy Winemaker Dinner
Six of Washington State’s Acclaimed Vintners Honor DeLille Cellars’ Chris Upchurch
PORTLAND, OR – June 11, 2015 – On June 10th, El Gaucho Portland was the site for an evening of celebration, reflection and fine wine and cuisine, as six of Washington State’s premier winemakers came together to honor the leadership and innovation of DeLille Cellars and its Co-Founder and Executive Winemaker, Chris Upchurch.
DeLille Cellars has been honored by the Auction of Washington Wines as the 2015 Vintner of the Year. Chris Upchurch mentored and created career-launching opportunities for numerous apprentice winemakers including Chris Peterson of Avennia, Lisa Baer of Baer Winery, Louis Skinner of Betz Winery, Jason Gorski of DeLille Cellars, and Kit Singh of Lauren Ashton Cellars.
“I am frequently asked if I mind that some of our top people have moved on to other wineries,” said Chris Upchurch, Co-Founder and Executive Winemaker, DeLille Cellars. “On the contrary – I am thrilled that DeLille has set the bar for helping create great Washington State winemakers.”
These six vintners joined together with El Gaucho Portland Executive Chef Steve Cain to produce a one of a kind 5-course winemaker dinner event. They were joined by emcee Andy Perdue, noted columnist for the Seattle Times and Auction of Washington Wines 2015 Honorary Chair. 100 guests gathered to toast the leadership of DeLille Cellars, the contributions of Chris Upchurch and savor a special menu paired with exceptional wines.
“El Gaucho was proud to host a spectacular evening celebrating Chris’ and DeLille’s heritage, while raising a glass to the future of the Washington wine industry,” said Chad Mackay, President and COO, El Gaucho Hospitality
The catalyst for this event is the non-profit organization, Auction of Washington Wines, whose mission is to promote Washington wine, while raising money to provide financial support for uncompensated care at Seattle Children’s Hospital. The organization also generously invests in viticulture and enology research and education in Washington State and has raised more than $30 million since 1988.
DeLille was named the 2015 Vintner of the Year due to their leadership and the impact they have made on the Washington wine. “Each year the Auction of Washington Wines recognizes a vintner who has shown leadership in our industry, not only through their commitment to produce quality wines that represent our region, but also through their endeavor to educate others about our region,” says Sherri Swingle, Director of the Auction of Washington Wines.
Winemaker Quotes from the El Gaucho Gridiron Blog and Event Photographs Photos of the event are available here. Full text of the quotes are here
Chris Peterson, Avennia
“Chris always wanted to do the best for the wine, and was against compromising quality for any reason. He was also about ‘less is more’ in the cellar. ‘Don’t do things to the wines that you don’t need to,’ he would say. It was pretty hands-off winemaking. If anything, I’ve tried to take that a step further with Avennia, but I gained confidence in the theory there.”
Lisa Baer, Baer Winery
“Woodinville is such a collegial wine community, and Chris has generously fostered the growth of this group of wineries to the benefit of us all.”
Louis Skinner, Betz Winery
“We are kindred spirits, as we both have a background in wine retail sales and have weeded through the vast world of wine, and concentrate only on the very best. The search for the greatest bottles of wine is top priority in our lives, and this carries over into our winemaking philosophies.”
Jason Gorski, DeLille Cellars
“He always dares to be extraordinarily ambitious – he teaches that if we are going to do something, we are going to do it right in every way, and endeavor to be world-class. This spirit is completely contagious.”
Kit Singh, Lauren Ashton Cellars
“Chris taught me that you find an audience for your wine – people that like your style. I respect how Chris has shaped Washington wine and has had an influence on many other wineries that way.”
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