Before leaving for Burgundy, our group attended several sessions to learn more about the links between French wine and Oregonian wine.
Our first stop was at Adelsheim Vineyards, where we met with David Adelsheim himself. He explained to us how the Oregon wine industry was inspired by Burgundy, its traditions, and its history. As one of the first Oregon wineries, Adelsheim notes that a French training in various aspects of the wine industry were instrumental to his current process. He also explained to us how a bit more about the effects of the new wave of French interest in the industry, and how it gives Oregon a chance to flourish due to the marketing benefits.
Ian Birch, a winemaker at Eveningland/7 Springs was a pretty good example of the French influence on Oregon winemakers that David Adelsheim mentioned. Drawing from his experience with Dominique Lafon, he told us how this experience had such a large influence on his methods today. He then led us through a vineyard tour and a barrel tasting that included a Parker rating of 98, the highest in Oregon! (so far!)
David Millman at Domaine Drouhin Oregon and a Skype session with Whitney Schubert gave us a thorough run-through of the Burgundy region, spanning the five main areas: Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune (where we are staying), Côte Chalonnaise, the Maconnais region, and Chablis. We found out more about the négociants we would be visiting, and about the people we would be meeting.
Now in Beaune, I'm glad we had these sessions; they gave us enough information to get on our way!