Inside the tent

The Pear A Fare and Smudge Pot Stroll offer fun and variety for wine lovers

By Janet Eastman
Posted: 8:30 AM April 11, 2013

Linda Donovan of Pallet Wine Co. also has her own label, L. Donocan Wines, and will be pouring a 2008 tempranillo at the tent event. Photo courtesy of David Gibb Photography

Wines made from grapes grown in Talent for South Stage Cellars and other local producers will flow at The Pear A Fare (

The tasting event will be from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, April 12, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at the corner of Main and Bartlett streets in Medford.

Ten taste tickets cost $15. It’s free to wander inside the tent.

Here Harry & David and other purveyors of wines, artisan foods and brews will offer tastes and sell products.

South Stage Cellars will be pouring a 2008 syrah ($28), 2009 merlot ($22) and 2008 Vintners Select ($24), a blend of merlot and syrah. For white wine lovers, there will be a 2009 early muscat ($21) and a 2009 viognier ($22).

South Stage Cellars is owned by the Moore family, which has lived in Talent since 1989 and grows grapes across 300 acres in the Rogue Valley. Recently, the label received five awards at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, including Best of Class for its syrah from the 2008 vintage.

That was the year the Moores started the South Stage Cellars label, hiring winemakers Linda Donovan of Pallet Wine Co., a custom crush facility in Medford, and Joe Dobbes of Dobbes Family Estate in Dundee.

Donovan also has her own label, L. Donovan Wines, and she will be pouring a 2008 tempranillo ($20) at the tent event.

“I just bottled a yummy sauvignon blanc,” she says, “that if you ask for it, I’ll provide a taste.”

She says she supports as many local events as she can because the city of Medford was instrumental in 2009 in helping her open Pallet Wine Co. in the historic Cooley-Neff Building.

“I also have fun,” she says, “and since I don’t have a tasting room (yet), it is a good way for my peeps to taste my latest releases.”

The two-day Pear A Fare is part of the family-oriented Pear Blossom Festival (, which also has a parade, junior pageant, fun run, face painting and street fair.

Another Pear A Fare event is Friday night’s Smudge Pot Stroll, which is a leisurely walking and tasting tour of 17 downtown Medford restaurants. It begins at Vogel Plaza at South Central Avenue and East Main Street.

From 5 to 9 p.m., chefs will be preparing special bites to pair with regional wines. Only 300 tickets will be sold at $30, which includes a keepsake wine glass.

That night, Donovan also will be pouring another wine, Late Bloomer 2011 Dry Gewürztraminer ($9), at 38 Central restaurant, which is owned by David Graham.

“David has always supported me and my clients and promotes Rogue Valley wines,” says Donovan.

Late Bloomer is a new label created by Donovan, Ashland wine producer Marilyn Hawkins and Selma grape grower Martha Miller, who harvests gewürztraminer and other varietals from her 200-acre Three Creeks Ranch.

The women put their expertise together to fill a niche for a local bottle of wine priced under $10.

“We knew we could produce a wine that tastes better than it costs,” says Hawkins of the white wine that is true to the German version of the grape, not the sweet types typically poured in most American restaurants.

Wild Wines, which started in Ashland and has since moved to property with a new tasting room on Little Applegate Road outside of Jacksonville, also will be participating in the Friday and Saturday tent party.

Owner Carla David will showcase $20 wines made not with grapes, but raspberries, aronia berries and blackberries.

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