Oregon Tempranillo Celebration adds public tasting

By on January 4, 2017

The second annual Oregon Tempranillo Celebration will be staged Jan. 20-22, 2017, in Ashland. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

ASHLAND, Ore. — Winemakers throughout Oregon will cast a spotlight on Tempranillo for the second straight year with the Oregon Tempranillo Celebration, but organizers have a new twist by creating a consumer tasting on Sunday, Jan. 22 in Ashland.

The Oregon Tempranillo Celebration Grand Tasting runs 1-4 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom at the Ashland Hills Hotel and Suites, where the public can experience examples of the big Spanish red grape made by producers in each of the seven American Viticultural Areas across the state.

Cost for a consumer ticket is $30, and the three-hour festival includes tapas and a silent auction for the Oregon Wine Experience, which supports the Asante Children’s Miracle Network.

From 1990 to 2010, Tempranillo plantings across the world tripled. The Iberian Peninsula variety went from 24th to No. 4 overall. In Oregon, the grape continues to gain appeal. The 2015 Oregon Vineyard and Winery Census Report indicated 414 acres were planted, an increase of 20 percent from the previous year. That’s fifth in the state among red varieties, and the gap is closing on No. 4 Merlot (461 acres).

The embrace by consumers and success in the vineyard with the early-ripening grape explains why last year’s first Oregon Tempranillo Celebration won support from winemakers and growers across the state.

Producers make case for Oregon Tempranillo

Walla Walla Valley winemaker Chris Castillo, who heads up his family’s Castillo de Feliciana Vineyards and Winery in Milton-Freewater, Ore., drove eight hours to attend the inaugural Oregon Tempranillo Alliance Celebration in 2016. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

A large majority of Oregon’s Tempranillo plantings — estimated at 318 acres — stems from the Umpqua and Rogue valleys, so it’s understandable that Southern Oregon winemakers founded the event, which debuted in 2016.  The Oregon Tempranillo Alliance is spearheaded by Earl Jones of Abacela in Roseburg, Les Martin of Red Lily Vineyards in Jacksonville, Scott Steingraber of Kriselle Cellars in White City and Eric Weisinger of Weisinger Family Winery in Ashland.

Members of the Oregon Tempranillo Alliance include Aurora Vines/Aguila Vineyard, Belle Fiore, Castillo de Feliciana Vineyard & Winery, Coventina, Delfino, Folin Cellars, Girardet Wine Cellars, Grizzly Peak, Jaxon, Naked Wines, Naumes Crush and Fermentation, Paradox Vineyard, Paul O’Brien Winery, Plaisance Ranch, RoxyAnn Winery, Schultz Wines, Silvan Ridge Winery, Stone River Vineyard, TeSóAria Vineyard & Winery, Valley View Winery and Zerba Cellars.

More than 50 growers, winemakers and researchers are expected to make their way to Ashland on Friday, Jan. 20 for the industry reception at showpiece winery Belle Fiore that kicks off the weekend. Saturday, Jan. 21 will be dedicated to seminars. Topics address practices in vineyard, winemaking and cellaring. The final session will explore varieties that make for good blending partners with Tempranillo.

There also will be a Tempranillo evaluation panel that features Master of Wine Tim Hanni from Napa, New York wine educator David Furer and Bay Area columnist Deborah Parker-Wong.

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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.

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