WHY go to WOW (World of Wine)? By Jo Parker
You’ve heard that Southern Oregon’s wine region is the fastest-growing in Oregon, right? You’ve likely read that our area has grown from 23 wineries to 70+ in just six years? And maybe you’ve tasted some exciting, local wines from grape varietals such as Albarino, Viognier, Roussane, Tempranillo, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and others?
The World of Wine Festival’s 10th Anniversary this August 22 to 25, 2012 is a MUST for anyone who enjoys wine, food, learning about our region and flat-out fun! Jacksonville’s own Bigham Knoll Campus (525 Bigham Knoll Drive) is hosting the multi-day event, with all events happening in the Big Tent located on the grassy ball-field. The schedule is:
- Wednesday, 22, 5:30pm – Welcome Reception ($25)
- Thursday, 23 & Friday, 24, 9:30am & 1:00pm – Sensory Clinics ($30)
- Friday, 24, 6:30pm – Gold Rush Dinner, catered, featuring Gold Medal Wines ($125)
- Saturday, 25, 6pm –9pm – Grand Tasting ($75)
One exciting WOW event is the Wine Judging, which happens a week before the Festival. Three judges are flying-in to blind taste and rank the wine entries. Last year, more than 120 wines were entered, with more anticipated this year! Les Martin, WOW Chairman and Owner of Red Lily Winery, states, “The wine competition promises to be very intense this year, with a panel of three highly- acclaimed judges, including Dr. Liz Thach, a Master of Wine from Sonoma State University, Sheri Sauter Morano, a Master of Wine based in North Carolina, and Traci Dutton, a sommelier with the Culinary Institute of America.” More details about the 2012 judges may be found on www.worldofwinefestival.com.
This year, new, interesting, hands-on classes are being offered August 23 and 24. Topics include: History of the Wine Region by author MJ Daspit, Sensory Evaluation, Tasting and Pairing Wines with Dwayne Bershaw, Associate Director of the Southern Oregon Wine Institute at Umpqua Community College, Climates of Southern Oregon/What the Future Holds featuring Dr. Greg Jones, SOU Professor of Environmental Studies, and Sensory Evaluation with local wine expert Dr. Peter Adesman who will lead a discussion and tasting on Southern Oregon wines vs. Old World wines. These classes have sold-out in previous years – so book early!
The Gold Award Wine Winners will be the stars of the Gold Rush Dinner on August 24. This multi-course dinner “in the round” catered by the fabulous Jacksonville Inn, will be held under the Big Tent. The tentative menu includes a starter of Tangerine and Pecan-Crusted Goat Cheese with Fry Family Farms Baby Greens and Basil Vinaigrette, a second course of Skewered Prawn Martini, Summer Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho & Avocado Creme Fraiche, followed by a Maple Leaf Duck Confit, Warm Fingerling Potato and Grilled Fennel Heart Salad with Crispy Walla Walla Onions; next up Coriander and Fresh Herb Crusted Medallion of locally-grown Free Range Beef Filet Mignon on a bed of Wild Oregon Mushrooms, Grilled Local Organic Garden Vegetables…and that’s not all! Space is limited for this amazing evening of wine, cuisine and music – so register early at www.worldofwinefestival.com.
All of the WOW events offer the rare opportunity to meet the faces of the southern Oregon wine industry in one festive place. At the Grand Tasting, you can meet sixty-plus winemakers and winery owners and taste more than 100 of the best wines unique to this region. In addition to the wine, local restaurants and food purveyors will be sharing fresh-cooked salmon, steaks, cheeses, fruits, desserts and more! A live band will entertain on the Big Tent patio, and News 12’s popular Trish Glose will be the MC, and will be sharing event information, handling the silent auction and Spinning the Wine Wheel – a fun way to win some awesome wines!
Martin concludes, “I think the World of Wine Festival has found a permanent home in the historic village of Jacksonville. This will mark our second year here and it truly feels like home. More importantly, the new location has allowed us to develop stronger ties with the local business community, as we work together to bring increased awareness and tourism to Southern Oregon.”
During the Grand Tasting, WOW posters from the past ten years including this year’s winning poster will be available for purchase.
Tickets to the WOW Festival are selling fast – get yours now at www.worldofwinefestival.com or in-person at RoxyAnn Winery in Medford, South Stage Cellars in Jacksonville, Agate Ridge Winery in Eagle Point, Schmidt Family Vineyards in the Applegate Valley, Elegance in Grants Pass and Liquid Assets in Ashland.
At press-time, the following wineries have registered to participate in this year’s WOW Festival:
Agate Ridge Vineyard
Belle Fiore Winery
Brandborg Vineyard And Winery
Bridgeview Vineyards And Winery
Cliff Creek Cellars
Crater Lake Cellars
Cuckoo’s Nest Cellars
Daisy Creek Wine
Foris Vineyards & Winery
Grizzly Peak Winery
La Brasseur Vineyard
Misty Oaks Vineyards
Rocky Knoll Vineyard
Sarah Powell Wines
Sea Mist Winery
Slagle Creek Vineyard
South Stage Cellars
Tesoaria Vineyard Trium
Valley View Winery
Weisinger’s Of Ashland
Willamette Valley Vineyards