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The Wine Rack (2632 Frankfort Avenue) opened in 2004, and after 16 years the small shop still holds its own against the package industry heavyweights. The Wine Rack’s secret weapon is passion-driven product knowledge, which owner and sommelier John H. Johnson exudes, enthusiastically passing along his expertise to employees and customers alike.

This Thursday (March 12; 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.) The Wine Rack is hosting an open-format, casual come-and-go wine tasting event with Willamette Valley Vineyards, founded in Oregon in 1983 with the express mission of creating world-class Pinot Noir.

“Our mission in growing cool-climate varietals is to create elegant, classic Oregon wines from the Willamette Valley Appellation,” says winery founder and winegrower Jim Bernau. “As native Oregonians, we treasure our environment and use sustainable practices in growing and vinifying our wine grapes.”

On Thursday, no RSVP or advance notice is required to drop by The Wine Rack and taste a flight of wines from Willamette Valley Vineyards, including Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and two Pinot Noirs. Special guest Nicole Krill, National Sales Manager with Willamette Valley Vineyards, will be on hand to guide and inform.

(Note that The Wine Rack delivers, subject to terms that can be viewed at the store’s on-line shop)