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Spring happenings in Southern Oregon wine country

Wine-tasting rooms seem to be filled with excitement this time of year as the days get longer and bud break arrives. It seems to happen overnight. One day the vines are brown and bare, the next day green leaves have popped out of their tiny buds.

The leaves are soaking up the sunshine like all of us here in the valley, and with that in mind, the tasting rooms will be expanding into their spring and summer hours. Here’s what else is happening:

If you haven't been out to 2 Hawk Vineyard & Winery lately, give it a go. Owners Ross and Jen Allen, who bought the property in March of 2014, scored a coup and hired Kiley Evans as their new winemaker. Evans brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from his days at Abacela Winery. He saw Abacela through seven vintages before moving to Agate Ridge and consulting with Ledger David Cellars.

The Allens are building a new winery, and the official groundbreaking will be at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 27.

Ross Allen is a third-generation farmer, and his wife, Jen, hails from Humboldt County, Calif. With 23 acres planted and another 8.7 acres ready to plant, Evans is excited to be able to “continue the trend of increasing the quality of wine.”

The new winery will be about 10,000 square feet inside, with red and white fermentation rooms, offices and a lab. There will be a 3,000-square-foot, covered, elevated crush pad with 100 percent gravity flow. When finished, the winery should be able to handle up to 10,000 cases.

“It gives us something to grow into,” says Evans. “The Allens really know where they want to go.”

2 Hawk Vineyard & Winery's 2015 releases will feature all-estate grapes for the first time. The varietals include viognier, chardonnay, pinot noir, tempranillo and grenache rose. The tasting room, at 2335 N. Phoenix Road in Medford, is open every day from 1 to 7 p.m. Call 541-779-9463 for information.

Dancin Vineyards is continuing to make improvements on its winery. After adding sliding-glass doors to an outside piazza to protect against the wind and weather, owners Dan and Cindy Marca have added a new space outside called the Terrazza. It sports an 18-foot fire bar with and a killer view of the vineyards. The space will be open by mid May. Dancin has expanded varietals and just bottled a 2014 Tribute Barbera and Syrah, with a new series of labels featuring interpretations of dancers.

The International Pinot Noir Celebration that takes place in McMinnville has invited Ted and Terri Gerber from Foris Vineyards in Cave Junction to be a featured winery at the event in July. Individuals come from all over the globe to attend the celebration, which has been going on for 30 years. Not only is the celebration about wine, it is also about Northwest cuisine.

The Gerbers planted their first pinot vines in 1974. Their winemaker since 2007 is Bryan Wilson. Dancin Vineyards was invited to the IPNC last year, and it’s great to see Southern Oregon wines continuing to be recognized.

Lorraine d’Entremont Rawls is a freelance writer and tour guide. You can email her at wildprovence@gmail.com