Featured Participants

Midtown Grille with Chehalem

Chehalem Wines

Chehalem (Chuh-hay-lum) is a local Calapooia Indian word best translated as "gentle land" or "valley of flowers," phrases that capture a long-standing, almost religious reverence for the land. Chehalem understands this reverence, and considers itself a vineyard winery, dedicated to reflecting as purely as possible what the vineyard has produced, with minimal processing, without compromising great fruit.

Chehalem traces its history back to vineyard operations started by Harry Peterson-Nedry in 1980 at Ridgecrest Vineyards, the pioneering wine operation on Ribbon Ridge, northwest of Newberg, Oregon. Bill and Cathy Stoller joined Harry in the winery in 1993 and subsequently began Stoller Vineyards—a densely planted, 125 acres on Stoller family farmlands at the southern tip of the Dundee Hills. Corral Creek Vineyards, adjacent to the winery facility, is Chehalem's third estate vineyard.   Equally well-known for red and white wine quality, they carry a passion and focus for cool climate varieties that reflect both site and climate in complex, structured and intensely fruited wines.

Chehalem, a combination of three vineyards, Ridgecrest Vineyards, Stroller Vineyards and Coral Creek Vineyards, traces its start to when the first of the three, Ridgecrest, was founded in 1980 by Harry Peterson-Nedry. The main distribution from Chehalem is their 3 vineyard Pinot Noir that combines grapes from these three vineyards.

Harry Peterson-Nedry is the founder, winemaker, and managing partner of Chehalem, one of Oregon’s premier wineries.  Harry initially applied degrees in Chemistry and English from the University of North Carolina to a career in high-tech manufacturing. His interest in wine began innocently enough as a hobby, but developed into a serious passion—deeply rooted when he planted his 55-acre Ridgecrest Vineyards in 1980. Ridgecrest was not only the first of Harry’s vineyards, but was also the first vineyard development in Oregon’s newly designated Ribbon Ridge AVA. Ultimately, what began as a hobby led to a radical change in career paths.

Harry's interest in the wine industry extends far beyond the wines of Chehalem. He has been appointed to and is now serving a second term on the Oregon Wine Board by Governor Kulongoski and serves on the board of WineAmerica (formerly the American Vintners Association), the national trade association for America’s wineries. He also has represented Oregon at the International Pinot Gris Symposium in Germany and has worked to establish Oregon Pinot Camp, ORCA (the Oregon Chardonnay Alliance), Willamette Valley AVAs (authoring the Ribbon Ridge petition), and to raise Riesling awareness. His passionate reach continues to extend into family, environmental conservation, and the arts.



Midtown Grille

Tucked away in Raleigh’s Lassiter District in North Hills, Midtown Grille is an upscale, comfortable neighborhood restaurant featuring Contemporary American cuisine. Locally owned since 2006, Midtown offers sophisticated, yet approachable dishes, emphasizing locally sourced ingredients. The menu is driven by new Executive Chef John Childers coming from the Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond Herons at the Umstead Hotel and Spa.

A favorite local spot, Midtown is open for brunch, lunch and dinner both indoors and on its large patio. A separate, enclosed dining room may be reserved for private events. The restaurant’s active late-night scene hints at Midtown’s exceptional bar; General Manager and Sommelier, Max Trujillo, oversees the extensive wine and beer lists and the outstanding handcrafted cocktails.

Recently, Midtown has won a number of awards including Best Bar by Raleigh Magazine and Best Business Lunch Spot, Wait Staff and Chef by Midtown Magazine.

Executive Chef John Childers joined the Midtown Grille team January, 2016, after working as the Chef de Cuisine at the Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond Herons at the Umstead Hotel and Spa.  John's culinary career and passion for cooking began as a 16-year-old dishwasher, when he was unexpectedly asked to fill in for a line cook.  After receiving his A.A.S. in Culinary Technology from Wake Technical Community College, John took a position at Bloomsbury Bistro before moving on to Herons.  We have worked beside John at several Chickenwire Supper Clubs and had become a huge fan of his joint Pop Up venture, The Familiar Supper Club, with Herons Pastry Chef Evan Sheridan. When the Executive Chef position became available we knew John would be a perfect fit!  His five-star experience, paired with his approachable style and use of local North Carolina ingredients, is a perfect complement to the quality of product and dining experience that we strive to provide to our guests.


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