Global Gala Gains Ground
By Wine Press Staff
The wine industry is hot in Southern Oregon and not just in August. A record 50 wineries will show off their new vintages and perennial best sellers at this month’s World of Wine Festival (WOW), up from just over 30 wineries when the event started seven years ago.
Scheduled for Aug. 29 on the grounds of beautiful Del Rio Vineyard & Winery, the Festival is co-sponsored by the Southern Oregon Winery Association and the Rogue Valley Winegrowers Association.
“This is a perfect opportunity for serious enophiles and casual fans to be among the first to taste the newest wines made exclusively from Southern Oregon grapes,” said Event Chair Lee Mankin, proprietor of Carpenter Hill Vineyard outside Medford. “Guests can meet the region’s top winemakers and find out exactly what they’re producing and why.”
Mankin noted that 70 types of winegrapes are grown in Southern Oregon and are made into 50 different fine wines. WOW was started in 2003 to promote the high quality of grapes from the Southern Oregon American Viticultural Area (Jackson, Josephine and Douglas counties). Proceeds from the event are dedicated to vineyard research and marketing efforts to help grow the regional wine industry, plus attract wine-tourism funds.
The Festival also hosts the WOW Wine Competition, which is the most extensive and prestigious competition of the year in Southern Oregon. Six nationally recognized wine professionals will judge this year’s competition on Aug. 19. They include: John W. Buechsenstein, winemaker and faculty member of the Culinary Institute of America in Napa, president of Wine Education & Consultation and a wine instructor at UC Davis Extension; Traci Dutton, sommelier at Greystone Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa; Desmond Echavarrie, wine director for SWITCH Restaurant at Steve Wynn’s Encore Hotel in Las Vegas; Elaine Marshall, an industry veteran with over 11 years experience in professional wine evaluation, wine marketing and brand building; Lisa Shara Hall, author of “Wines of the Pacific Northwest” and senior editor for Wine Business Monthly, Wine Business Insider and Winebusiness.com; and Bruce Zoecklein, head of the Enology-Grape Chemistry Group at Virginia Tech.
The WOW Festival also features live music by a popular jazz/rock band and top-flight local foods, including Rogue Creamery cheeses, salmon grilled by the Jacksonville Inn chef, baron of beef from Beef Billy’s BBQ and many other taste treats from local artisans. A silent auction with unique wines, winery dinners and tours, restaurant gift certificates and original artwork is also planned to benefit grape research and marketing of the southern Oregon wine region.
Ticket sales started early this year with tickets available online for the first time at www.worldofwinefestival.com . Organizers expect the event to sell out and urge attendees to get tickets early. WOW tickets are $70 and are also available at: Del Rio Vineyard (541-855-2062), Elegance Fine Wines (541-476-0570), RoxyAnn Winery (541-776-2315), Pacific Wine Club (541-245-3334), Enoteca (541-482-3377), Schmidt Vineyard & Winery (541-846-1125) and Cliff Creek Cellars (541-855-9819).
World of Wine
Location: Del Rio Vineyard; 52 N. River Rd., Gold Hill
Date/Time: Aug. 29, 5–9 p.m.
Tickets: $70 • Available at select wineries (see end of story.)