July 01, 2012
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Music Makes It Better

by Hilary Berg, OWP Editor

Ever get a song stuck in your head? It happens to me all the time. 

As I write, Adele is belting a ballad somewhere in the temporal lobe of my brain. Her voice is stunning, but it’s the same verse over and over and over — and I’m certain I’m getting her lyrics all wrong.

It can be incredibly unnerving when any tune gets trapped, but when music is an important part of your world, it’s the price you must pay — a bit dramatic, I know. 

My co-workers can testify that I wear my headphones a lot. Every so often, I wear them with no sound coming through at all — an effective way to discourage unneeded interruptions. But most of the time, I listen to tunes on Pandora Radio, an online music service that plays selections similar to artist (or song) suggestions entered by the user. 

My gotta-get-stuff-done stations include John Coltrane — upbeat jazz propels me through my workload — and, as of late, Passion Pit, an electro-pop group whose Pandora station plays high-energy tunes from Portland’s own Modest Mouse, Phoenix, from France, and Kiwi sensation Kimbra, among other artists. The right music will get me bobbing my head, bouncing my knees and tapping my toes while I work.

Without music, it’s likely OWP would never make deadline — I haven’t missed one in six years. And I am certain it’s the same story for a number of winemakers and cellar rats.

So many wine industry folk are as much music enthusiasts as they are wine lovers — dinner conversations can easily migrate from cellar stories to tour talk. And just as my workflow would not be complete without snappy songs, many winemakers fine-tune wines with music as an important part of their work environment.

For Jay Somers of J. Christopher Wines in Newberg, his zeal for music goes beyond Pandora, or even his iPod; the celebrated winemaker keeps guitars handy in the winery for regular finger-picking and jam sessions with staffers like his assistant, Tim Malone, an experienced bassist. 

Somer’s passion for music is the subject of this month’s cover story, and entertainment, in general, is July’s theme. 

You’ll find a summer schedule of shows and concerts in our calendar. You’ll discover handpicked albums perfect for your next wine dinner in this month's Empourium. National rock temptress Storm Large stars in our July Final Sip Q&A  — warning: her answers are, as expected, unadulterated rock ’n’ roll. 

Filled with sweet music, jammin’ food and, naturally, Oregon wine, July is an excellent read. 

I encourage you to turn it up as you pore over the pages. Just be mindful that a song will most likely get stuck and ferment in your head; let’s just hope it doesn’t age there, too.