North County Wine Run
When: Packet pickup begins at 8 a.m. Oct. 1.
Where: Begins and ends at Rusty Grape Vineyard, 16712 N.E. 219th St., Battle Ground.
Cost: Race-day registration is $65 for the 10-kilometer run (which begins at 10:30 a.m.) and $95 for the half-marathon (which begins at 10 a.m.); cost includes a T-shirt, finisher medal, a slice of pizza and a glass of wine; net proceeds benefit Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Foundation in Portland.
When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 1.
Where: Heisen House Vineyards, 28005 N.E. 172nd Ave., Battle Ground.
Cost: $5 donation requested for preservation of the vineyard’s historic barn; Heisen House and its outbuildings are listed on state and national historic registries.
Information: http://www.heisenhousevineyards.com, 360-713-2359.
Wine tasting in north Clark County’s wine loop
When: Second Saturdays each month, beginning at noon.
Where: Rusty Grape Vineyard, 16712 N.E. 219th St., Battle Ground; Heisen House Vineyards, 28005 N.E. 172nd Ave., Battle Ground; Olequa Cellars, 24218 N.E. 142nd Ave., Battle Ground.
Cost: Tasting fees vary, but typically are just a few dollars for a flight of 1-ounce pours.
Let’s get this straight first: Participants in Saturday’s North County Wine Run will not quaff chardonnay and syrah at hydration stations along the 10-kilometer or half-marathon routes.
They will, however, run through vineyards and have a chance to taste wines after the race.
The run’s organizers hope it will introduce hundreds of people to the greater Battle Ground environs and a trio of wineries there, all while raising money for the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Foundation.
“Battle Ground is not a tourist town. If we want people to see what Battle Ground has to offer we’re going to have to have events,” said Elba Benzler of Get Bold Events in Battle Ground, which organized the run. Benzler expects about 600 runners will participate in Saturday’s race, with more there to cheer them on.
The three north county wineries — Rusty Grape Vineyard, Heisen House Vineyards and Olequa Cellars — already collaborate by offering tastings on the second Saturday of each month, so visitors can stop at each by driving the loop around Battle Ground. They hope Saturday’s run will help them reach even more people, some of whom may be new to tasting rooms.
“Wine tasting can be fun, but it can also be snobby,” said Jeremy Brown, owner of Rusty Grape Vineyard. “People may have felt out of place. … Our approach is more laid back.”
There’s no need to be intimidated by wine, agreed Monika Tansy of Olequa Cellars.
“Unfortunately, wine has gotten a bad rap from people who are wine snobs,” she said. “You don’t have to know a lot. Just trust your taste buds. … Some people just want to drink wine. They don’t care if it was in an oak barrel or stainless steel.”
She and the other north county vintners are happy to talk with wine newbies, answer questions and offer recommendations on varieties to try.
Plus, the run will coincide with Heisen House Vineyards’ Crush Festival, a celebration of the harvest season and an opportunity for visitors to learn about how wine is made. The event is free, but the vineyard requests a $5 donation to help pay for preservation of its barn, which, along with the house and other outbuildings, is listed on state and national historic registries. Visitors will be able to watch equipment crush grapes, as well as sample several varieties of fresh wine grapes.
“They taste very different from each other even fresh,” said Michele Bloomquist of Heisen House Vineyards.
For those new to wines, Bloomquist and the other vintners recommend starting with white wines with a touch of sweetness.
Bloomquist recommends Heisen House’s 2010 Pinot Gris, or its 2009 Tempranillo, a red.
“Despite its dark color this wine is smooth and not very high in tannins, and so many people who usually do not care for red wine like this one,” Bloomquist said.
Tansy recommends Olequa’s Riesling or Rosé as good starter wines.
Whatever you try, enjoy it, Brown said. You don’t have to spit it out, or worry about violating rules of etiquette you don’t know.
“It’s just a nice moment to take it in — what it looks like in the glass, what it smells like, the flavors that evolve,” Brown said. “At first you may not be able to pick out the flavors. It can be as simple as, ‘That’s good.’ ”