Wine Tasting in Wonderland and Savoring in Cannon Beach

By Dante Zuniga-West | Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Cannon Beach is a stunning landmark on Oregon's north coast. Iconic and renowned for its remarkable panoramic views, this spot is so gorgeous it has actually been listed by National Geographic as one of the most beautiful places in the world. Perhaps this is no small wonder when you come to think of the mammoth rock cropping, gorgeous waterfalls and sandy expanse that Cannon Beach and its surroundings have to offer. For those who love pairing a bit of wine and culture with their epic seaside landscapes, then next weekend’s Savor Cannon Beach Wine and Culinary Festival is well worth marking your calendar for in advance. Go ahead and set aside March 12 through March 15, and prepare to enjoy yourself responsibly.

An exclusive series of six wine-tasting events that span over the course of four days, the Savor Cannon Beach is a littoral playground [Editor's Note: That's an A+ pun, Dante​] for any wine connoisseur with a desire to fully immerse themselves in our region’s celebrated wine culture.

“I personally feel that the most exciting thing about Savor Cannon Beach is its emphasis on attracting serious wine enthusiasts from around the Northwest,” Festival Director Gary Hayes says. “It also typically attracts participants from more than a dozen states other than Oregon and Washington. The event introduces this audience to many great wineries and the wine regions of the Northwest that they may not know about.”

Savor Cannon Beach Wine and Culinary Festival is in its 11th year. The event originally grew out of a wine walk that existed for several years prior to that, as a nonprofit fundraiser. The festival in its current embodiment is more intimate than most wine and culinary festivals around, with approximately 1,000 people participating. The festival’s largest event, held on Saturday, March 14, is the Wine Walk that's limited to only 700 participants. Indoor wine and culinary events are each limited to about 120 folks. This may go without saying, but given the cozy coastal status of this shindig, you’d best get your hands on tickets well ahead of time.

When it comes to the events themselves, there is no shortage of appeal. The Best of the Northwest Throwdown, located at the Tolovana Inn, is an opening night event on Thursday, March 12, that features award-winning Pacific Northwest wines, paired with delicious food and topped off with dessert wines. Oh, and if food and wine pairings are your kind of party, then make sure to bookend your festival experience with the Gold Medal Wines & Battle of the Bites on Sunday, March 15. This event, also located at the Tolovana Inn, features vintage gold-medal wines and a competition where you get to vote on the best wines and food small bites made by local chefs.  

“Our events that combine wine and food pairings are my favorites,” Hayes says. “On Thursday we select eight wines, all recent award winners that represent the best of the Northwest in varietals and regions and pair them with chef-designed small plates from our festival chef, Jonathan Hoffman. Our Sunday event features recent gold-medal winning wines that can be paired with small-bite appetizers prepared by several area chefs and restaurants competing in the Battle of the Bites.”

Photo Credits to Savor Cannon Beach 

Aside from such festivities, there are also plenty of Daytime Events peppering the weekend. For folks who love art and dynamic craftsmanship, I’d suggest checking out the Glass-Blowing Demonstrations at Icefire Glassworks. There, you can see molten glass transform into distinctive works of art by way of local artisans Jim Kingwell and Suzanne Kindland. Likewise, if you are a music lover, take a look at our Nightlife page. For one performance to have on your radar, check out local musician and composer Noah Dooley, who will play his acoustic guitar during Saturday's Wine & Gallery Walk at the Jeffrey Hull Gallery from 6 to 8 p.m.

About the Author Dante Zuniga-West
Dante Zuniga-West is a writer and outdoorsman who thrives in the backcountry. He is passionate about environmental conservation, leadership, primitive skills and connecting young people to the natural world. A published novelist and working freelancer, Dante’s articles can be found in a variety of outdoor adventure journals, alternative newspapers and lifestyle magazines. Away from work Dante spends his time on public lands, hunting and fishing. He lives off the grid in the coastal mountain range of Oregon.