PRESIDENT OBAMA dined in Portland, Maine, recently at a fundraiser for the Portland Museum of Art. The wine chosen to be served during the first course was ILLAHE GRÜNER VELTLINER. An Oregon wine, it is produced by Illahe Vineyards and Winery in Dallas, Ore. (www.illahe with a local touch: LOWELL FORD, who was raised in Warrenton and was a paperboy for The Daily Astorian, is the manager and winegrower of Illahe. He is pictured with his wife, PAULINE.

The whole family is involved during crush, labeling and other activities at the winery, and the couple’s son, BRAD, is the winemaker, and their daughter-in-law, BETHANY is the national sales manager.

The wine being chosen for the presidential dinner “was a total surprise to us but a real compliment that the chef and wine expert chose the wine without any suggestion on our part,” Lowell told the Ear. “The wine distributor tells us that the choice of Illahe Vineyards Gruner Veltliner, an Austrian grape, was based on it being a wine that pairs well with seafood.”

“Illahe Vineyards is returning to Astoria to sell our wines at the upcoming Crab & Seafood Festival,” Lowell reported. “We will be sharing a booth with our friend, MARK KUJALA of SKIPANON SEAFOOD ... and you can taste a wine for far less than the $10,000 per plate the people paid to drink and eat with the president!”

— Elleda Wilson