By Margarett Waterbury
Now in its 16th year, the weeklong extravaganza (August 20-26, 2018) celebrates the wide, wonderful world of Oregon wine, including the astonishing variety here in Southern Oregon’s award-winning AVAs (American Viticultural Areas). It should be on the radar of oenophiles near and far. There’s simply no better place to experience Oregon wine in all its glorious diversity — enjoy delicious local cuisine and meet your favorite winemakers while benefiting children’s healthcare in the region.
Shiny Start to the Weekend
Kick off the festival by getting to know your new favorite wines at the Medal Celebration (August 23). You’ll be the first to hear the results of a pan-Oregon tasting by a panel of international wine experts. Then you’ll get to sip all those award-winning wines yourself alongside delicious small bites prepared by local chefs.
The Most Delicious Prizes
Fall in love with something you sipped? Grab your paddle and head to the Founders’ Barrel Auction (August 24), where you can walk away with a case — or 10 — of your favorite vintage. Or if you’re more interested in cuisine than collecting, dig in to a traditional Coquille Tribe salmon feast at the Miracle Auction & Salmon Bake (August 25). Salmon roasted over an open fire with cedar and alder will be served alongside other meats, farm-to-table produce and freshly baked desserts — all accompanied by medal-winning Oregon wines. After dinner, an auction filled with wine, travel and art packages might inspire your next excursion.
Embark on a Tasting Tour
Throughout the week, local wineries will host farm-to-table wine dinners and special events, offering plenty of opportunities to strike out into Southern Oregon’s gorgeous wine country. Jacksonville is an ideal jumping off point for exploring the Applegate Valley and Rogue Valley AVAs, Oregon’s southernmost winegrowing regions. They’re known for their mosaic of microclimates, allowing them to grow cool-climate and warm-climate grapes alike. To sweeten the deal, several hotels in Jacksonville, Medford and Ashland are offering discounts to Oregon Wine Experience guests.
Cheers to Good Health
The best part about the Oregon Wine Experience? This is pleasure with a purpose. Throughout the event, auctions, sales and fundraising efforts all go toward the Asante Children’s Miracle Network, which helps kids in need of serious medical care. Last year Oregon Wine Experience raised more than one million dollars for the cause — now that’s something worth toasting.