Luscious, Learned Affair

By John Darling

ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum in Ashland will hold its sixth annual Science of Wine event, which will include a wine gala, winemaker’s dinner, as well as seminars covering siting, planting, harvesting, winemaking and bottling, plus other subjects.

The individual events, May 29–31, are on an à la carte basis, kicking off the event Friday evening with a wine flick at Ashland’s historic Varsity Theatre.

The feature movie “Bottle Shock” (tickets are $7.50) will be followed by a buffet dinner and wine tasting at the Lithia Springs Hotel ($39 per person). Participants will have a chance to learn the differences between French and American wines with a blind taste test.

The next day, guests can ride a school bus for a Saturday wine tour of South Stage Cellars in Jacksonville and RoxyAnn Winery in Medford ($49 per person). On-the-bus experts will field questions and guide tasters, with lunch provided by Larks Home Kitchen Cuisine of Ashland.

One of Ashland’s “can’t miss” social events of the year, the wine gala on Saturday night is expected to draw 350 people and will feature wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres from 15 restaurants and wineries. There will be live music and a wine auction. Guests are encouraged to wear cocktail attire and bring an appetite. Tickets are $50 for ScienceWorks members; non-members pay $60.

On Sunday, learn the ABCs behind siting a vineyard, pruning vines, making wine, pairing wine with a meal and more at the ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum. Regional experts from the Southern Oregon Wine Institute at Umpqua Community College, Southern Oregon University, Oregon State University and area wineries will discuss the fundamentals of wine and winemaking in a series of hour-long classes. Participants can choose four out of eight classes offered ($49 per person).

To end the three-day event, guests can step out again Sunday evening, this time to a winemaker’s dinner at the classy Winchester Inn ($59 per person). A tapas-style dinner will be served and paired with local wines, with the winemakers present for mingling and meeting before the dinner commences.

The event has been only one night in past years, but as the sole fundraising event of the year for ScienceWorks, they wanted to expand it to include more opportunities for education, said Maddy DiRienzo, event organizer.

Proceeds from this event benefit ScienceWork’s educational programs that serve 15,000 children and educators from Southern Oregon and Northern California.

The live wine auction at the gala will feature many generous items, including a wine tasting for 10, dinner with paired wine for 10, a winemaker’s holiday dinner for 10 at RoxyAnn, a selection of RoxyAnn Claret from various vintages, a four-bottle vertical of Velocity (2002–2005) and a South Stage Cellars wine tasting for 10. Donors to the auction may call Maddy DiRienzo at 541-621-3463. ◊

Science of Wine

Location: Ashland area • ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum
Dates: May 29–31
Time: Depends on event
Tickets: Depends on event

Wine Basics

Unraveling the Mystique of Terroir
Examines terroir, through climate, landscape, soil and people. Instructor: Prof. Greg Jones, SOU Geography.

Siting, Designing and Planting a Vineyard
Looks at slope, aspect, sun, wind, soil and water. Instructors: Prof. Porter Lombard, OSU Viticulture; and Randy Gold, Pacific Crest Vineyard Services.

The Real Dirt on Soil
Examines what makes great soil and what varietals do best in Southern Oregon. Instructor: Chris Hubert, Quail Run Vineyards.

Vine Structure and Function
Examines the physiology of the vine, looking at the relationship of vine with water, nutrients, application, management and pruning. Instructor: Chris Lake, Southern Oregon Wine Institute at UCC.

Do the Wine Math
Examines the wine output per acre, translating to case production. Instructors: Anne Root, EdenVale Winery; and Linda Donovan, Donovan Wine.

Wine Chemistry 101
Looks at what happens between grape juice, water, sugar, yeast and oxygen. Instructor: Prof. Steve Petrovic, SOU Chemistry.

Sensory Analysis: Taste With Your Nose
Teaches how to utilize the senses, evaluate fine wines and describe them. Instructor: Conde Cox, wine writer/educator.

Crafting a Wine-Fine Meal
Looks at pairing wine with fine foods to make a great dinner. Instructor: Kara Olmo, Wooldridge Creek Winery.

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