PORTLAND -- Oregon's wine country has moved to the city -- at least for a little while.
The Oregon Historical Society is raising a glass to an industry here that impresses the world.
It's grown into one of the state’s most important industries. There are now 545 wineries in Oregon, plus urban wineries.
OHS is celebrating the growth from one small planting in the 1800s to the extraordinary explosion of the industry through today with the event, “Clink! A Taste of Oregon Wine.”
The exhibit salutes the pioneers who all worked together to build this new agriculture landscape. The exhibit also travels through time to show the evolution of the 72 varietals being grown in the state.
"It's become such a part of the great Oregon story," said Kerry Tympchuck, executive director of the Oregon Historical Society. "The last twenty, thirty years, Oregon wines have just exploded -- not only on the national scene but the international scene. It's one of Oregon's leading industries. There are people flocking here for wine tourism.”
And, also thanks to the wine industry, the iconic Benson Bubbler drinking fountain was born. Industrialist Simon Benson paid for the bubblers because he thought his workers were drinking too much wine and beer.
Oregon ranks number three as a producer of wine in North America. Its value to the state is $2.7 billion, creating 13,500 jobs.
Clink! A Taste of Oregon Wine runs through September 20th. There are special events planned throughout the run, including a tasting room and a gallery of wine art to explore.