Taste of the good life

Locals have long known that tasting rooms can be extensions of their backyards.

Have house guests? Bring them to some of the dozen wine-tasting counters in Ashland and Talent. Feel like a romantic evening out? Attend a concert — usually without a cover charge — and buy a bottle of pinot noir, syrah or viognier made from locally grown grapes.

Now, think of other special occasions where a vineyard view might be an advantage. A wedding? An anniversary party? A meeting?

Yes. Button-down business types are taking their shows on the road.

Instead of conducting meetings in closed-off conference rooms, they are calling Donna Tenuta of Paschal Winery & Vineyard in Talent and asking if they can rent space in her Italian-style, two-story tasting room or the surrounding patios or grounds (starting at $75 per hour).

"In the wintertime, there are fewer people coming in to taste and I gladly let any group hold their meetings here," says Tenuta.

Her tasting room is open from noon to 6 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays, but if the group is large enough, say 30 people, and they're willing to buy wine, Tenuta will open up her sunlight room, which can fit 75 seats.

"I can make up cheese platters," she says. "Some groups bring additional food. It's really a lovely place to meet."

There also is a room downstairs with a granite tasting counter popular for bridal showers. In the spring, summer and fall, weddings take place on the picturesque grounds.

But you don't need to bring a crowd with you when the tasting room is open. Wine is sold by the glass starting at $7.

A full taste of Paschal wines is $8 ($3 white wine only, $1 per taste for dessert wines; free for wine-club members).

Bottles prices for whites are: 2009 Pinot Gris ($24), 2009 Chardonnay aged in oak ($22) and 2009 Indulgence, a muscat-riesling blend ($22).

Prices for bottles of Paschal's red wine are 2007 Civita, a tempranillo, sangiovese, dolcetto and syrah blend ($26); 2007 Tempranillo ($30); 2009 Estate Pinot Noir ($30); 2006 Syrah ($25); and 2007 Rouge Melange, a blend of cabernet sauvignon, malbec and merlot ($30).

Fruit-and-cheese platters for two are $7. Salami and olives can be included for an additional $3. Gluten-free spinach or artichoke dip is offered at $10.

In May, the tasting room will be open from noon to 7 p.m. daily, with extended hours Fridays, when there is live music with no cover charge.

But you don't have to wait. Check out the calendar on Paschal's website to see when Ed Dunsavage, artistic director of The Siskiyou Institute, has scheduled a concert (tickets, starting at $20, sell out fast, so reserve early). Duke Street will play jazz from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. March 23 ($7 tickets will be sold at the door).

Info: Paschal Winery & Vineyard, 1122 Suncrest Road, Talent; 541-535-7957; www.paschalwinery.com

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