A few Rogue Valley wine producers once lived in Alaska.
One of them is Vicki Nickerson, who appears normal enough. I have seen her several times at wine events, blond and bubbly, and pouring samples of her Aurora Vines merlot ($15 to $23 a bottle) and not revealing an inkling of her alienness.
Get to know her, however, and she'll describe the bunny boots and wolf-fur hat she wore when she lived in Fairbanks before buying a relatively sun-soaked 87-acre property in Talent.
Sit on her tasting deck overlooking endless pinot noir, pinot gris and tempranillo vines here, and you would never think to ask if she has dealt with pipes bursting, tennis shoes snapping and car tires flattening into squares when the thermometer raced south of zero. But she has.
In Fairbanks, she owned a wine shop and says that when customers were chilled to the bone, she sold a lot of port and red wine. "It's full-bodied and has lots of layers," she says of red wine, even though at first I thought she was referring to me.
She continues: "It isn't a light, acidic, summertime cooler like some white wines. Red wine is bulkier, and it warms you up. It feels like a hug."
This month, she's releasing a 2009 Old Barn Blend ($23) made from merlot, syrah and petit verdot that's sure to shimmy the shivers out of your thermal skivvies.
For more information: Aurora Vines, 541-535-5287, firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the complete story in the Medford Mail Tribune's Eno Outings wine column: http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130116/LIFE/301160303/-1/LIFE0702