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The aloha spirit

Grizzly Peak Winery hosts fourth Hawaiian Luau fundraiser
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From left, Abby Villegas, Tia Colton and Shannon Colton, all of Eugene, perform a traditional hula dance. From left, Abby Villegas, Tia Colton and Shannon Colton, all of Eugene, perform a traditional hula dance. Photo courtesy of Rick Ouellette
 Posted: 9:10 AM June 20, 2013

If you hear the sounds of a ukulele wafting over Grizzly Peak Winery's vineyards on Saturday, June 22, it won't be iTunes.

Musicians skilled in playing Hawaiian instruments and singing traditional songs will perform at a wine-paired Hawaiian Luau from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to benefit hula school Halau Hula O Na Pua O Hawai'i Nei. The name of the school means "the many flowers of Hawaii."

Grizzly Peak's wine will be sold by the glass or bottle to hundreds of picnickers and wine appreciators sitting in beach chairs and on blankets spread across the lawn in front of the outdoor stage.

This is the fourth year that Grizzly Peak Winery has hosted this fundraiser at the family-owned vineyard at 1600 E. Nevada St. in Ashland.

Wines made from Bordeaux and Rhone varieties grown on 15 of the property's 40 acres will be sold.

Owner Al Silbowitz says they will be pouring 2010 Intrigue ($5 a glass, $12 a bottle), a Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier white blend. Also featured that day will be the Rogue Rouge ($5 a glass, $16 a bottle), a red blend he describes as a "smooth and delicious food-friendly table wine."

He adds that he and his wife, Virginia, and their daughter, Naomi Fuerte, host the event each year, as well as other cultural events, because they appreciate that "there is no other place in the world where there is so much diversity of experience and tradition available in a setting of peace and security as the United States."

He says that celebrating diversity — and his family's "belief in the promise of America" — is a theme of their winery. Virginia is the daughter of parents who immigrated from China, and she has taught English for 40 years to people born in other countries.

"We both treasure the gift of life in this great country, where people of incredibly diverse backgrounds can meet, live side by side in peace, and share the great traditions of their ancestors," he says.

Saturday's lunch offerings of barbecued huli huli chicken, pulled pork, Hawaiian-style, mayonnaise-laden macaroni salad and vegetarian dishes ($5 bowl, $7 plate) will be available at 11 a.m. The authentic cuisine will be prepared by Oahu-raised Ed Chun of Sunrise Cafe and Catering in Medford.

Hula teacher Kumu Hula Pekelo Day will choreograph about 100 children and adults from his "halau" (school), which offers classes in Ashland and Eugene. The dancers will be accompanied by the Lei Aloha Serenaders.

Also entertaining the audience will be performers who will tell stories and explain the hula movements and gestures that interpret legends and history of Hawaii.

One of the local musicians is Praise, 13, who will perform rhythm and blues and songs from Samoa, along with a number of songs by IZ, at the luau.

Organizer Doris Dare, who is Virginia's sister, learned the hula from Day in 2009 and appreciates Hawaiian chanting, music and aloha spirit.

"I work hard to help put on this event because of my interest in the Hawaiian culture," she says. "I feel it brings me closer to nature and the simple joys of life that are often forgotten."

Tickets, which cost $20 for adults, $10 for children ages 16 and younger (free for ages 5 and younger), can be purchased the day of the event at Grizzly Peak Winery.

The winery's tasting room is open from noon to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday or by appointment. Call ahead to request vineyard tours. Call 541-482-5700 or see

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