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The benefits of Bayer

When Bayer Family Estate opened its doors about two years ago, a new jewel was added to the mix of vineyards and wineries of the Upper Rogue Wine Trail.

Bayer’s emphasis is on Italian varietals, exquisitely made by Eric Weisinger under the label’s Brook Horse and Bayer Family Estate. They immediately began winning awards, and the tasting room on the beautifully landscaped Agate Road property became a wine-lovers’ destination.

But there’s another incomparable asset that sets this venue apart — its former equestrian arena that now serves as the setting for events.

Where competitive riders once put their mounts through their paces, over 300 people recently gathered for the annual Hearts & Vines Charity Auction and Wine Tasting, a benefit that since 1993 has raised over $3.5 million for community organizations that fight domestic violence in the Rogue Valley. While open to the air, the arena is completely covered, providing shady and cool comfort even at noon on a hot summer day, saving event planners the expense of renting tents. And there’s plenty of space on the property for parking all those cars.

Your next chance to attend a big bash at Bayer is Saturday, Sept. 28. The Medford Branch of the American Association of University Women is putting on a hoedown to raise money for scholarships for local women embarking on post-secondary education at Southern Oregon University or Rogue Community College. The group has awarded over $150,000 in scholarships to date, six $2,100 scholarships this past May alone.

The $65 price of admission covers a complimentary glass of wine and souvenir wine glass, Southwestern buffet dinner prepared by five-star California chef Alan Jackson, cupcakes by Sweet Stuff and the opportunity to bid in a silent auction featuring Southern Oregon wines, rafting and golf packages, and overnight stays. There will also be live music for dancing provided by Hwy. 99, and line dance instruction. Bayer wines, beer and nonalcoholic beverages will be available for purchase. Note this is not a 21-and-older event. Families are encouraged to attend.

Event organizers Sharon Shatswell and Jan Purkeypile say Rogue Valley businesses have given goods and services in support of the event, including Jim Bayer, who is donating use of his venue, staff, tables and chairs, and tablecloths. Flowers are being donated by Penny and Lulu. Over $5,000 worth of silent auction items have been donated by area businesses.

“The wineries have been so generous, either donating tastings or wine,” Purkeypile adds. “Eagle Point Golf Club gave us two rounds of golf, a cart, a night’s stay in their chalet and breakfast. Rogue Valley Country Club and Centennial also donated packages. Rogue River Lodge gave us a night in their cottage on the river with breakfast.”

Tickets, limited to only 250, are available online at eventbrite.com/e/aauw-hoe-down-tickets-58603114493. For table reservations, call 541-621-4916 or 541-499-0350. Up to $50 of the ticket price is tax deductible.

For more information about AAUW’s work to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research, see medford-or.aauw.net.

What’s your take? Email MJ Daspit at mdaspit@jeffnet.org. For more on this topic, check out her Backstory Blog at mjdaspit.com.