Wine on the Willamette to Again Benefit Doernbecher Children’s Hospital

Set sail on the Willamette Star on Aug. 17 and be treated to some of the finest wines in the world, gorgeous city views, a memorable sunset and an art auction.

Wine on the Willamette is the signature event hosted by Unitus Community Credit Union (UCCU) to benefit Doernbecher Children’s Hospital through Credit Unions for Kids.

“The Credit Unions for Kids Wine on the Willamette fundraiser has become an annual signature event for our kids,” said Patricia E. Smith, president and CEO at Unitus. “It’s an exciting Willamette River cruise, where leaders of the credit union industry enjoy great food, wine, music and great company while doing good things for our kids.”

The popular cruise allows attendees to sample fine wines, food and jazz music while taking in panoramic views of the Portland skyline, riverfront home sites and beaches.

A silent auction featuring art work created by Doernbecher patients is also part of the evening. All proceeds from the art auction benefit the charity. This year, Unitus employee volunteers worked with the patients at “art day,” and most of the artwork produced will be part of the auction

The wines of California, Washington, Oregon and Italy are featured on the cruise this year along with some “special gems,” such as dessert and sparkling wines, according to Aimee Berg, community marketing coordinator at UCCU.

Continuing a long-standing tradition, Unitus has invited well-known winemakers to mingle with guests and pour some of their hard-to-get products.

This year, two honorary guest winemakers will be on board: Neil Kopplin from Imbue Cellars and Jon Jennison from Thistle Wines in Dundee. Thistle is highly regarded for its wines, particularly the classic Oregon Pinot Noir. Imbue is a trendsetter, producing a bittersweet vermouth, which is a classic old-world-style drink with a Northwest flair. Kopplin will mix up some special martinis for guests, Berg said.

Featured wines are available for purchase, with 25 percent of the proceeds benefitting the charity.

Renowned pianist Jon Nilsen will also perform on the cruise for the third time.

Guests will also receive a “swag bag” including locally produced gifts. Local artist Leslie Egenberger’s popular hand-painted wine glasses will be in the bags. A special edition glass was commissioned especially for the evening and the artist has donated a large portion of the production costs back to Wine on the Willamette.

Event tickets are still available for $250 and may be purchased online. Donations are also welcomed.

Credit Unions for Kids is the credit union movement’s “charity of choice” and has rich Northwest roots, having been founded in 1986 by a group of credit unions in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Their model was adopted nationally in the mid-1990s, and the charity is now the third largest sponsor of 170 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH). Credit Unions for Kids has contributed more than $100 million to CMNH to date.


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