Wineries have long lured in visitors with picturesque places to hang out, samples of wine to try and an informed staff to explain distinctive enology and viticultural methods.
What has been lacking is food. Sometimes, tasting room workers whip up cheese plates and other tapas in between popping corks. But it takes time and expertise to serve hot and cold dishes made from scratch with locally grown ingredients.
Fortunately, a fleet of food trucks motor to tasting rooms during special events to serve meals on the spot.
On Saturday, Aug. 11, Melissa Jones-Hanscom of Figgy's Food Truck (www.figgysfoodtruck.com) will be serving pot roast and vegetarian sandwiches ($8) to go with Grizzly Peak Winery's Rhone red and white wines during a concert at an equestrian center in Ashland.
Lovebite, Jeff Pevar Project and Frankie Hernandez will perform at Music Under the Stars starting at 6 p.m. at Silver Spring Farm, 1313 E. Nevada St. Guests can picnic on the lawn and sip $5 glasses of Grizzly Peak's 2010 Syrah, 2010 roussanne-marsanne-viognier blend or a 2011 roussanne-marsanne blend called Rumor that won a gold award at last month's Rhone Shootout competition.
"Food trucks really help us out," says Virginia Silbowitz of Grizzly Peak. "The Oregon Liquor Control Commission requires us to serve 'hearty food' at special events, something more than cheese, crackers or peanuts."
Before Saturday's concert, Chef Jones-Hanscom will be serving lunch from her truck from noon to 3 p.m. at Valley View Winery outside of downtown Jacksonville and on Thursday, Aug. 16, she will be parked near the concert stage at EdenVale Winery in Medford and at La Brasseur Vineyard near Butte Falls on Saturday, Aug. 18.
Bill Todarello usually parks his Rocco's Amore food truck (www.roccosamore.com) near RoxyAnn Winery's century-old barn in Medford on Fridays from 4 to 8 p.m. to feed the crowds at the farmers market and outdoor concerts. He makes hot pastrami sandwiches and chicken salad on ciabatta rolls (both $7.50), along with homemade vegetarian soups and Italian antipasto.
This Friday, Aug. 17, Todarello will be at Del Rio Vineyards in Gold Hill and Friday, Aug. 24, at Agate Ridge Winery in Eagle Point.
Fulcrum Dining food truck (http://fulcrumdining.com) is a culinary fixture at Tuesday's Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market at the National Guard Armory (1420 E. Main St., Ashland). There, Chad Hahn offers kale sandwiches ($7) and pork tacos ($3). From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays, he's usually at Wooldridge Creek Winery in Grants Pass.
On a recent Friday, Alyssa Warner of Fresco Mobile Kitchen (www.alsfresco.com) was swamped by concert goers at Del Rio Vineyards and she ran out of grilled tri-tip and blue cheese salad ($9). But that didn't slow down orders for generous portions of homemade egg noodles with sausage ($9), pulled pork barbecue sandwich ($9) and gluten-free lemon quinoa ($8).
"Most of the events I do in Ashland are private parties or events at Grizzly Peak Winery," says Warner, who will be serving on Wednesday, Sept. 29, outside Grizzly Peak's tasting room (1600 E. Nevada St., http://grizzlypeakwinery.com). She will also be at Agate Ridge on Tuesday, Sept. 21, and Thursday, Sept. 30, and at La Brasseur on Saturday, Oct. 6. "I go where I am invited," says the mobile chef.