Wine on the Willamette Sets Sail for Credit Unions for Kids August 23

One of the Northwest credit union movement’s favorite events benefitting Credit Unions for Kids pushes off Aug. 23.

Unitus Community Credit Union’s annual Wine on the Willamette cruise takes patrons on a scenic summertime cruise along the Willamette, affording panoramic views of downtown Portland, and then gliding past popular family beaches and beautiful river front homes.

The cruise onboard the Willamette Star sets sail at 6:00 p.m., leaving the Caruthers St. Dock. Tickets are still available online for $250. The evening includes food paired with reserve wines, a jazz piano concert and a silent art auction. Proceeds benefit Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, one of the 170 hospitals in the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN).

While cruise guests are able to sample and enjoy many wines and adult beverages, the opportunity to meet the featured winemaker is highly anticipated by Wine on the Willamette regulars.

Javier Alfonso, a Yakima Valley vintner who owns Pomum Cellars, is the featured winemaker this year. The winery’s handcrafted wines include Riesling, Syrah, Tinto—a blend said to have terrific aging potential, and Shya Red, a blend of five reds with tasting notes of “blackberry, cherry, coco, and sweet spice.” Wines sampled onboard are available for sale with a portion of the proceeds also benefitting Doernbecher.

The silent art auction this year will showcase six pieces completed July 30 by patients at Doernbecher. Unitus employees volunteered to help the students with their masterpieces. All of the proceeds of the auction benefit Doernbecher. Bidding on the 2012 artwork increased 49% over 2011 levels according to Aimee Berg, Unitus’ community marketing coordinator.

Another popular tradition for cruise goers is receiving a specially designed wineglass made by Portland artist Leslie Egenberger, owner of Leslie Hand Painted Glass. This year, Egenberger will be aboard the Willamette Star so that guests may purchase sets of the custom glasses. Berg indicated a portion of glass sale proceeds will also benefit research, education, and care at Doernbecher.

While visitors enjoy wine and bid on the art, they’ll hear the music of John Nilsen, one of the Northwest’s most celebrated recording artists. Nilsen has sold 800,000 records and is an acclaimed jazz, classical, folk, and rock performer.

Wine on the Willamette’s route allows guests to enjoy the sunset and arrive back in Portland in time to see the night skyline. But the evening doesn’t end at the dock. Guests are then treated to a special reception at Hotel Fifty, located on Portland’s scenic Waterfront Park. Valet parking is free. A block of rooms is set aside at special rates for guests who want to spend the night.

Unitus and CEO Pat Smith are long-time supporters of Credit Unions for Kids, the credit union movement’s “charity of choice.” It was founded by a group of Oregon and Southwest Washington credit unions in 1986 before becoming a national charity a decade later. It has raised more than $100 million for the CMN hospitals.

Wine on the Willamette is one of the final major events of the season benefitting Credit Unions for Kids, before the entire credit union community comes together at the Boardwalk of Miracles dinner and auction. The auction takes place at the Northwest Credit Union Association’s (NWCUA) Amplify Convention Oct. 9 in Portland.


Questions? Contact Lynn Heider: 503.350.2225,

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