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Wine club launches mobile tasting room to offer varieties from across Oregon

Cellar 503 offers club members tastes of Oregon wines that aren't available to the masses.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon is known for its wine. But even those living in the state may not realize the incredible variety of wines it has to offer. A Portland business owner is trying to change that.

“There is so much more going on in the state of Oregon than just pinot noir,” said Carrie Wynkoop, owner of Cellar 503. The Portland-based wine club sends its members Oregon wine made by small producers from all over the state.

“Just the little guys, [wines] you wouldn't normally find in the grocery stores,” said Wynkoop. “I wanted to be able to get the word out about these small producers to folks all over the country.”

Wynkoop is embarking on a similar venture to help Oregonians discover wines from various parts of the state through her new, mobile tasting room. For her first trip, she'll drive the RV to Ashland in southern Oregon, where she'll serve guests July 26-31.

“I wanted to help people explore and discover different varietals of wine and different small wineries that they may never have gotten a chance to see,” said Wynkoop.

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Every day she's in Ashland, Wynkoop will offer guests four different wines; two from southern Oregon wineries and two from small producers in other parts of the state. The wine list includes Hooray for You Wine Co., a two-person operation out of Dundee.

“This is really a labor of love for us,” said co-owner and winemaker Greg Cantu. “I love the idea that we're going to get a little love down in southern Oregon.”

Cantu said Hooray for You Wine Co. is mainly focused on customers in the Portland metro area, but even that operation was a challenge with COVID restrictions.

“The way we've been selling wines over the last year is pouring sample bottles and dropping them off, but that doesn't really give people a real clue about the excitement you feel and how much you love what you do,” said Cantu.

Wynkoop hopes the experience of a mobile tasting room might encourage excitement during a time when people are just beginning to venture out again. 

“I'm just excited to get on the road,” said Wynkoop, “and be able to take these small wineries with me and meet folks all over the state.”

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