The four-day Southern Oregon World of Wine Festival will bring together vintners, wine appreciators and plenty of opportunities to taste cabernet, chardonnay and other wines made from about 70 other locally grown varietals.
The 11th annual WOW takes place Wednesday through Saturday, Aug. 21-24, at the Bigham Knoll Campus, 525 Bigham Knoll in Jacksonville, the site of the historic town's first school.
On Saturday, more than 700 people will gather for the Grand Tasting ($75) under a tent the size of a baseball field. Patrons can visit 50 tables to talk to winemakers, grape growers or tasting room staffers, and sample new releases and wines that have won WOW medals.
Southern Oregon World of Wine Festival judges Christy Canterbury, Peter Marks and Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, all with Masters of Wine credentials, blind-tasted about 180 wines made from grapes grown in Southern Oregon. Winners were announced at an awards dinner Aug. 9.
Best of Show
Double gold (required unanimous gold medal scores by all judges)
See the list of all winners at www.mailtribune.com/2013WOW
Winning awards has become a highlight of the event.
WOW founders — 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 — started a wine competition during the third year of the festival.
Each year, out-of-state judges with respected credentials arrive in Jacksonville to evaluate and rate about 200 wines made from Southern Oregon grapes.
At the Grand Tasting, food is paired with the winning wines.
In the middle of the tent are food stations, with entrees, starters and desserts prepared by the Jacksonville Inn. Nearby are artisan food producers handing out samples of cheese, chocolate and bread.
Leading up to the Grand Tasting is a Meet and Greet cocktail party ($25) from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, followed by two days of seminars.
People who buy $75 tickets to attend a wine comparison seminar from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday will take home four Riedel glasses.
Those enrolled in climatologist Greg Jones' presentation ($30) from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Friday will learn about the world's varying vineyard geography, geology and weather.
WOW first-timer Margaret Pashko, who moved from California to Jacksonville in May, bought a $30 ticket to a sensory evaluation of wines from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday. It is led by Dwayne Bershaw of the Southern Oregon Wine Institute at Umpqua Community College.
On Friday, the wine institute is putting on a professional conference ($60) at Bigham Knoll focused on the economic wine forecast, viticulture varieties and building a winery.
Wine novice Pashko won't be there, but she will listen to WOW speaker Peter Adesman compare Old World wines to Southern Oregon's from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $30.
"I know what I like to drink," Pashko says, "but I don't know the process."
Sampling wine and tapping experts during a party, she adds, is an easy way to gather information.
"Now that I'm living here with all these wonderful wineries," she says, "I want to know more. WOW will make that fun."
Tickets are available online at www.worldofwinefestival.com or RoxyAnn Winery in Medford, Agate Ridge Winery in Eagle Point, Schmidt Family Vineyards in Grants Pass and Abacela Winery in Roseburg. Other ticket outlets are Elegance in Grants Pass, Liquid Assets in Ashland andMercedes-Benz of Medford.