Garnier Vineyards, which lies just east of Mosier on the old scenic Columbia River Highway (U.S. Highway 30), hosted former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, alongside other individuals on June 29. The outing was one of many the 39th President and 2002 Nobel Peace Prize winner made during his recent visit to the Columbia River Gorge, in conjunction with the annual Carter Center’s Donor and Retreat Weekend being held this year in Stevenson.
Tom Garnier, the owner of the vineyard, said he and his staff were honored to host a man of such service and extensive leadership in humanitarian efforts worldwide. During the president’s visit, multiple wines were tasted — a compliment to the charcuterie and bowls of cherries freshly picked from the onsite orchard. The president’s favorite wine was the newest release from Garnier Vineyards, the 2016 Primitivo, while Rosalynn Carter enjoyed the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc.
Garnier shared some of the history of the property and the surrounding Hood River area with the group. Not only is the 300-acre property home to the Historic Mayerdale Estate, established in 1910 by Mark A. Mayer, but it also was mentioned as a potential wintering-over location by Lewis and Clark (noted in their journals as a “good situation”) during their trek west towards to the mouth of the Columbia in 1805. In addition, a portion of the acreage was also once owned by Masuo and Shidzuyo Yasui, Japanese immigrants from the Hood River community. Their third son, Minoru Yasui, would eventually receive a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom, presented to his daughter, Lori Yasui, in a White House ceremony Nov. 24, 2015.
Kelly Lair works for Garnier Vineyards tasting room. For more information, visit garniervineyards.com .