When Alfredo Apolloni started his vineyard in Forest Grove 20 years ago, he never dreamed he would one day grow the grapes that went into wine featured at the 2017 Concours d'Elegance.
But for the Mexico City native — who spent summers during the 1970s working in his family's vineyard outside Fano, a historic city on Italy's Adriatic Coast — things have come full circle.
Apolloni, the owner of Apolloni Vineyards just north of Forest Grove, is an electrical engineer who spent 22 years conducting tests for the global automobile industry in Detroit, Mich. He loves cars, and he loves wine. The complementary passions will be on full-bodied display in the form of a prime 2014 Pinot noir vintage he'll offer to auto lovers at Concours this Sunday, July 16.
"I figured we'd have a vintage wine for a vintage event," quipped Apolloni, who commuted between Michigan and Oregon for years before settling permanently in Washington County in 2003. All the while, he kept a virtual parade of domestic and exotic cars.
His first, an MGB, is still in the family, as are a Maserati Merak SS and a Tesla Model S, the 670th one ever built.
"I have a love of cars," Apolloni said with a smile.
He passed that connection on to his three children — now 18, 16 and 11 — building a business reminiscent of his Italian roots while maintaining a garage big enough to house a number of gleaming autos. "We've had a number of lovely cars," he noted.
Apolloni regularly hosts car clubs on his property, including a recent Porsche rally and the Triumph and Alfa Romeo clubs of Portland, underscoring an innate attraction between auto enthusiasts and the bucolic countryside of western Washington County.
At Concours this weekend, bottles of Apolloni's Pinot — complete with a unique beribboned neck label — will be available for sale at a special price to help the Forest Grove Rotary Club fulfill part of its mission.
Apolloni will provide 16 cases of wine price "as part of the fundraising portion" of Concours. The Rotary club donates proceeds from Concours to local scholarships and community service programs.
What's the connection between wine and cars? Apolloni had a simple answer.
"We definitely don't drink and drive," he quipped. But the pairing amounts to "a lifestyle," he said — one he's happy to promote in Forest Grove and beyond.
LOCAL CARS AT CONCOURS
A cornucopia of classic cars will roll onto the lush lawns at Pacific University in Forest Grove Sunday, July 16, for the annual Concours d'Elegance.
The car show, in its 45th year, will feature the following entries from Cornelius, Forest Grove and Hillsboro:
n A 1991 BMW 850i owned by Doug Miner of Cornelius;
n A 1968 Triumph TR250 owned by Ken and Theresa Floyd of Forest Grove;
n A 1919 Dodge Brothers Model 30 owned by Jon Van Grunsven of Hillsboro;
n A 1934 Chrysler CB owned by Lon Hanberg of Hillsboro;
n A 1955 Chrysler Imperial owned by Jeff and Jeannie Gretz of Hillsboro;
n A 1968 Chevrolet Camaro and a 1971 Chevrolet Camaro owned by Bryan White of Hillsboro;
n A 1962 Jaguar MK2 owned by Chris and Cheryl Long of Hillsboro; and
n A 1963 Chevrolet Impala owned by Roman Gratteri of Hillsboro.