Written by Eric Degerman and originally posted on Great Northwest Wine 

The Oregon Wine Experience in the Rogue Valley city of Medford takes a scholarly approach to its centerpiece wine competition by having Masters of Wine serve as judges, and now it has mapped out a series of consumer classes for the month of August.

Organizers refer to it as Oregon Wine University, and the seminars explore wine appreciation, pairing and serving. Tim Hanni, MW, kicks off the series Aug. 6 at Southern Oregon University in Ashland with a seminar the Napa-based wine educator entitled Why You Like the Wines You Like.

Classes will be staged throughout the Rogue Valley, and attendees of all backgrounds are expected to have a fun and educational experience. Enrollment is limited.

More than 50 wineries and 200 wines will be represented Aug. 22-28 during the 14th annual Oregon Wine Experience, which concludes with the Grand Tasting on Aug. 28 at Bigham Knoll in Jacksonville.

Oregon Wine Experience began as World of Wine

Doug Frost, a Master of Wine and a Master Sommelier, judges the 2015 Oregon Wine Experience competition in Jacksonville. (Photo by Colony One Studio/Courtesy of Oregon Wine Experience)

Doug Frost, a Master of Wine and a Master Sommelier, judges the 2015 Oregon Wine Experience competition in Jacksonville. (Photo by Colony One Studio/Courtesy of Oregon Wine Experience)

The Oregon Wine Experience, formerly known as the Southern Oregon World of Wine Festival, includes the Medal Celebration and Barrel Auction, vintners dinners, and the Miracle Auction and Salmon Bake.

Event founders Joe Ginet of Plaisance Ranch in Williams, Lee Mankin of Carpenter Hill Vineyard in Medford and Cal Schmidt of Schmidt Family Vineyards in Grants Pass started a wine competition during the third year of the World of Wine festival at Del Rio Vineyards in Gold Hill. The festival moved to the Bigham Knoll Campus in Jacksonville in 2011.

In 2014, Asante Health System’s Foundation partnered with Southern Oregon wineries to manage the event as their signature fundraising effort for the year.

Last year, more than 2,100 attendees helped the Oregon Wine Experience raise more than $500,000, which led to the hiring of a child life specialist at Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford.

Participating wineries include Abacela, Agate Ridge Vineyard, Aurora Vines, Belle Fiore Winery, Cat Man Cellars, Cliff Creek Cellars, Cuckoo’s Nest Cellars, Cranbrook Farm, Daisy Creek Vineyard, DANCIN Vineyards, Deer Creek Vineyards, Del Rio Vineyards, Devitt Winery, Dragonfly Time, EdenVale Winery, Eliana Wines, Ermisch Family Cellars, Foris Vineyards, Girardet Wine Cellars, Grizzly Peak Winery, Guzzo Family Vineyard, Halliday Hill Vineyard, Harry & David, Hellgate Cellars, Irvine Family Vineyards, Jaxon Vineyards, Kriselle Cellars, La Chouette Vineyard, Marchesi Vineyards, Misty Oaks Vineyard, Oak Knoll Winery, Pebblestone Cellars, Plaisance Ranch, Platt Anderson Cellars, Plum Hill Vineyards, Quady North, Red Lily Vineyards, Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards, RoxyAnn Winery, Schmidt Family Vineyards, Schultz Wines, Season Cellars, Serra Vineyards, Silvan Ridge Winery, Simple Machine, Slagle Creek Vineyards, Soléna Estate, Soloro Vineyards, South Stage Cellars, Stave & Stone Wine Estates, Stone Griffon Vineyard, TeSóAria Vineyard & Winery, 30 Brix Winery & Winery, Triple Oak Vineyard, Troon Vineyard, 2Hawk Vineyard & Winery, Upper Five Vineyard, Weisinger Family Winery and Willamette Valley Vineyards.

2016 Oregon Wine University class schedule

Why You Like the Wines You Like with Tim Hanni MW – Aug. 6, 11 a.m. at Southern Oregon University – $39
In this class, you will learn how to consistently find the wines you will love the most and how to get the most pleasure from wine on your terms. This seminar provides a unique context for the enjoyment of wine appropriate for every level of interest and expertise.

Food & Wine Pairing with chef Mario Chavez – Aug. 7, 4 p.m. at the Onyx Restaurant on the Nunan Estate – $39
Discover the ways in which you can pair food to wine and wine to food. Join us as Chef Mario Chavez takes us on a flavor adventure and helps us better understand how food can be used to heighten our appreciation of wine and the other way around.

25 Things You Thought You Knew About Wine with Liz Wan – Aug. 12, 5:30 p.m. at Josephine County Library – $39
This class offers 25 tidbits most people thought they knew about wine and arms student with the tools to hold their own among wine enthusiasts of the world.

Brush strokes in the vines with Tia McKenzie – Aug. 13th, 11 a.m. at Serra Vineyards – $39
In Vino Veritas, come experience the truth in art that can come from a great instructor, an amazing location on-site in the vines, and the inspiration of delicious local wines! No art experience necessary and each student will not only create but also take home their masterpiece.

Pairing Wine and Cheese to Please with Tom Van Vorhees – Aug. 14, 11 a.m. at EdenVale Winery – $39
Join Tom Van Vorhees, local fromagier and cheesemonger from Rogue Creamery, as he debuts and pairs some of his favorite cheeses of the season with his favorite Southern Oregon medal winning wines from last year’s competition.

Hospitality Class with Dr. Bob Harrington – Aug. 20, 11 a.m. at Southern Oregon University – $20
Inspire exceptional service, enthusiasm & innovation in your business! Join us as Dr. Harrington & Professor Marlowe teach us what guests really want & how we can best deliver for our businesses, our communities & our region.

The Power of Cabernet Sauvignon: An Exploration of Oregon & Washington Terroir – Aug. 21, 11 a.m. at Kriselle Cellars – $39
Explore the unique terroir of Oregon and Washington.

Southern Oregon vs The Old World – Aug. 22, 6 p.m. in the Big Tent at Bigham Knoll – Price: $39
Physician by day and wine educator by night, Dr. Peter Adesman has long been admired by Southern Oregon wine nuts for his palate. In this class he leads a side by side tasting of some of the best wines produced in the Old World and some of the best produced in Southern Oregon.

Wine 101 – Aug. 23, 6 p.m. in the Big Tent at Bigham Knoll – $39
Wine 101 will teach guests how to choose, pair, and serve wine for a variety of situations. Learn to evaluate wine, how to pick the best wines for your favorite foods, and tips to understanding those darn tasting notes. This class is fun for everyone and will leave you feeling like a pro.

Riedel Glass Seminar ~ Aug. 25, 6 p.m. in the Big Tent at Bigham Knoll – $68
In this class, there is the opportunity to taste local, award-winning wines using four different Riedel Vinum glasses. You will learn how the variation of the glass affects the flavor of wine. Students get to keep the glasses (retail value of more than $100.)



About Eric Degerman

Eric Degerman is the president and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. He is a journalist with more than 30 years of daily newspaper experience and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest with Andy Perdue and served as its managing editor for 15 years. He is a frequent wine judge along the West Coast and contributor to Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine, the region’s longest-running golf publication.