ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum is holding its annual Science of Wine event May 5-7 in Ashland. If you've never attended this very lovely event, now's the time to find out what you've been missing.
In the 10 years since it was founded in 2001, ScienceWorks has reached more than 150,000 people in Southern Oregon and Northern California through its interactive exhibits and outreach and on-site school programs. I can't overstate the importance of this fine museum and its work to improve science education.
Science of Wine 2011 is indicative of the creative spirit and talented staff at the museum. Let's look at the planned events for the weekend:
- Thursday, May 5 — Winemaker dinner and auction, 6 to 10 p.m., Ashland Springs Hotel. ScienceWorks calls this event "Vine Dining," and it's proven to be a very elegant event. Award-winning wines, appetizers and a four-course dinner will be served. Tickets are $75 for members and $85 for nonmembers. One can also reserve for groups of 10. I understand that the event was sold out last year, so if you'd like to attend, contact the museum soon.
- Friday, May 6 — "Barrel Making and Wine Tasting 101," 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the museum, 1500 E. Main St. Master barrel maker Phil Burton will build a barrel that evening. I used to watch these guys work in France as a kid, and it really is something to see. The winemaker at RoxyAnn Winery will give barrel samplings of his soon-to-be-released wines and will discuss the role barrels play in taste. An associate director of the Southern Oregon Wine Institute from Roseburg will give participants a hands-on, basic wine-tasting course. Tickets are $15 for members and $20 for nonmembers. I think this should be a fun evening.
- Saturday, May 7 — "Science of Wine Gala," 6:30 to 10 p.m. at the ScienceWorks Museum. Fifteen wineries will be pouring wines, and local restaurants will serve appetizers and desserts in this eighth annual event. There also will be a station where experts will answer some of your questions on wine tasting. A "mystery wine bottle raffle" and silent auction also will be held during the evening. Tickets are $55 for members and $65 for nonmembers.
For information on any of the events, visit scienceofwineashland.com or call 541-482-6767, ext. 232. I urge you to attend one or all of the events, as Science of Wine remains one of the best of its kind in the Northwest.
On another note: Nearly a dozen folks responded to my last column on the role mood plays in wine appreciation with stories of their own.
A woman told me about going to a high school reunion with 10 of her classmates to a few wineries in California. They had a great time, tasting and purchasing wines to ship home.
Some months later, she opened one of the wines and pronounced it "below par and expensive." She brought it in for me to taste, and, sadly, I had to agree with her. Was she "heightened" by her fun time and myriad wine tastings and sold a wine she may never otherwise have purchased?
Perhaps. The fact remains, when we are in a good "space," things just seem to happen smoothly, time goes by effortlessly and the vino is memorable.
Lorn Razzano is owner of the Wine Cellar in Ashland. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.