Eleven short years ago, three members of the Rogue Valley Winegrowers Association were having a drink and shaking their heads. Why were their precious winegrapes, they wondered, being ignored or sold for less than those from the northern part of the state?
As it sometimes happens after a few drinks, the growers — Lee Mankin of Carpenter Hill Vineyard in Medford, Joe Ginet of Plaisance Ranch in Williams and Cal Schmidt of Schmidt Family Vineyards in Grants Pass — came up with a solid solution. They would promote Southern Oregon grapes by throwing a summer wine party.
They rented a tent and hired a band, paying for everything with their personal credit cards.
Cal would boil buckets of crab and shrimp to serve.
About 300 people came to the first event held at Rob and Jolee Wallace’s picturesque Del Rio Vineyards in Gold Hill.
Today, more than 1,000 people will participate in grand tastings, seminars and a cocktail party Aug. 21-24 at the Bigham Knoll Campus in Jacksonville.
For more information: Southern Oregon World of Wine Awards events cost from $25 to $75 and take place Aug. 21-24 at the Bigham Knoll Campus, 525 Bigham Knoll Drive, Jacksonville. More information is at www.worldofwinefestival.com.
Read the complete Eno Outings wine column in the Mail Tribune: http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?category=LIFE0702