Perched on a hill in Dundee, Oregon, Cameron Winery provided spectacular views of the valley for NCAP’s recent Dinner in the Vineyard event. Guests shared a gorgeous summer evening of wine, food and stories with their vintner hosts John Paul and Teri Wadsworth.
The star chef for the evening, Chef Cathy Whims, is a six-time James Beard Award finalist, winner of Best Chef Northwest in 2014, and owner of three Portland restaurants - Nostrana, Oven and Shaker, and the newly minted Hamlet. She and her team donated their skills and food for the inspired Italian countryside menu. Cameron donated wine pairings while helping to raise funds for NCAP's work.
As guests arrived, they enjoyed the 2015 Giovanni white, with what Chef Whims calls irresistible crostini and a cannellini bean and tomato bruschetta. John Paul toured guests through the wine cellar and wine cave, explaining the winemaking process. Paul shared his current obsession with the Italian Nebbiolo grape and its challenging growing process. The group emerged from the cool of the cellar into the warm evening and seated themselves amidst the rows of the vineyard.
Dinner started with a welcome from Kim Leval, NCAP Executive Director, and John Paul told the story of discovering NCAP while looking for alternatives to soil pests. Paul explained that by using cover crops like mustard he avoided pesticides. No pesticides are used at Cameron, and the winery is credited with a Salmon Safe label for using growing with practices safe for fish.
NCAP staff and volunteers wove in and out of the vines to serve the courses. A lovely, cold, watermelon gazpacho preceded the 2014 rosè Saignee of Pinot Noir. Salads included a panzanella with fresh nectarines and a Sicilian tomato salad spiced with peppery purslane. Tagliata (meaning “sliced”) Painted Hills flat iron grilled steak was served on a bed of dressed arugula with lemons. Steaming bowls of Cousin Mary's grilled eggplant with goat cheese were served up for the vegetarian guests. The 2013 Arley’s Leap Pinot Noir accompanied the main courses.
During dinner Steve Gilbert, NCAP board member, toxicologist and founder of the Institute of Neurotoxicology and Neurological Disorders, talked about the harm pesticides do to children's developing brains. He explained that when used, pesticides can cling to clothes and shoes and be tracked into homes and cars. He appealed to the group to continue supporting NCAP's work and to reduce pesticide use in their own lives.
Peaches in red wine sauce with biscotti baked fresh by Whims and her team ended the meal on a sweet note.
Many of the guests asked when NCAP will hold another Dinner in the Vineyard. Have ideas for an event in your area? Share them with NCAP. Email Kim Leval at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have ideas for a chef and vintner who could make a great pairing! Many sustainable and conservation-minded chefs and vintners live in Oregon, and NCAP would love to work with them. We also welcome volunteers to help NCAP with other fundraising dinners.