JPR wine tasting draws big crowds

More than 400 people found shelter from the rain last week to support Jefferson Public Radio, sample scores of southern Oregon wines and enjoy local delicacies provided by vendors from all over the Rogue Valley.

Among the tables and tables of delightful edibles could be found artisan cheese from Nigerian Dwarf goats made by Pholia Farm in Rogue River, mushrooms saut&

233;ed in garlic butter and spices from the Arbor House Restaurant in Talent, fresh oysters from The Peerless in Ashland, and Dagoba chocolate nibs.

But the elbow-room only crowd, many of whom were fabulously dressed (remarkable for a town known for its casual come-in-blue jeans affect) didn't venture to the Ashland Springs Hotel for the food. They came for the wine. the front door of the hotel each participant picked up a plastic plate from the Ashland Food Co-op with a cut-out semi circle to hold a wine glass in it. Then they ventured upstairs to converse with the friendly and informative wine makers who regaled eager listeners with stories of this year's most successful concoctions.

Twenty-sex-year-old John Giudici, a wine maker in business with his father at John Michael Champagne Cellars in the Applegate, sold out of their Ronin, a sake made by methode champaignoise (translation: it's sparkling). Giudici, pouring generous glasses of their traditional and very dry champagne, has been working in the business for 13 years. Newly engaged, he's planning to pass on the wine tradition to his children and keep the business in the family.

At the next table over Tim Woodhead, the director of marketing for Bridgeview Vineyard and Winery in Cave Junction, urged locals to try as many wines as possible.

"You've just got to get out there and try things, find out what you like and what you don't. Southern Oregon does a wide variety of things," Woodhead said. "It's important to keep your money local!"

As the night wore on wine tasters got even more gregarious and flush-faced. Participants could also bid on silent auction items &

everything from African-inspired artwork to music CDs &

to support the public radio station.

Lori Burgess, a server, and Leah Calhoun, a cook at the Arbor House Restaurant in Talent, were both in fine spirits all evening. Calhoun says their home-style cooking goes well with all kinds of wine.

"We're just here to support the cause," Calhoun said over the sound of mushrooms sizzling in the frying pan. "We've come to support JPR."

"It was a fantastic success," says Abby Kraft, the event coordinator from JPR, with a nod of appreciation to the donors and volunteers.

Kraft says they haven't tallied the numbers yet but it doesn't matter how much the station actually makes.

"Our main goal isn't to make hundreds of thousands of dollars," she said. "We don't actually make that much because we're paying for a lot of the stuff that we're offering people, but we see it more as a thank you to those who support the station &

a big party. I think it was a success because all of the vendors were happy and all of the participants had a great time."

Share This Story