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JPR's Wine Tasting

Some people say that their holiday season starts with Jefferson Public Radio's Wine Tasting, a glamorous night where food and wine appreciators gather to sample locally produced luxuries.

This year's 32nd annual event will be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 13, inside the light-bedecked Ashland Springs Hotel, 212 E. Main St., Ashland. Tickets cost $50 and are available at the Ashland and Medford food co-ops, online at www.ijpr.org or by calling 877-646-4849.

As ticket holders step into the lobby of the landmark hotel, they will receive commenorative wine glasses and appetizer plates, then they will be set loose to meet winemakers, chefs and artisan food producers stationed at tables in the ground-floor Crystal Room and second-floor ballroom and mezzanine.

Hundreds of different wines made over the years from well-known chardonnay and merlot grapes to exotic tempranillo and viognier will be available for tasting.

There also will be inventive blends, such as clarets and meritages, along with sparkling wines.

Some of the wine producers who will be pouring — like Cuckoo's Nest Cellars — do not have tasting rooms while others — Abacela, Brandborg Winery and Domaine Serene — are based out of the area, making this event a wine lover's opportunity for unabashed sampling of otherwise hard-to-find wines and a chance for conversations with a wide range of winemakers.

People interested in the Rogue Valley's diverse microclimates can speak to experts from Crater Lake Cellars in Shady Cove, Folin Cellars in Gold Hill, Foris Vineyards Winery in Cave Junction and South Stage Cellars in Jacksonville.

Grapes grown on century-old farms and made into wine will be offered by Edenvale Winery, Rocky Knoll and RoxyAnn Winery. Newer producers presenting their wines will be 2 Hawk Winery, Ledger David Cellars and Kriselle Cellars.

Representing the highly visited Applegate Valley wine trail will be members Devitt Winery, Schmidt Family Vineyards, Serra Vineyards, Wooldridge Creek and Troon Vineyard.

Troon, which has some of the region's oldest vines, will pour a 2009 Old Vine Meritage and 2010 Insomnia Port that can be served with blue cheese or dark chocolate desserts, says its marketing director Christine Collier.

Cliff Creek Cellars will be offering its 2006 claret, which goes well with red meat, pasta and chocolate, says Karen Brkich, who works in the Gold Hill tasting room.

Cliff Creek's 2006 syrah can be paired with Rogue Creamery's Morimoto Soba Ale Cheese or other cheeses offered that night. There will be plenty of other flavors to try with the wines. Larry's Cupcakes, Lillie Belle Farm Artisan Chocolates and a dozen restaurateurs and caterers will offer samples.

The event raises funds for JPR's National Public Radio programming. There will also be a silent auction with donations from local merchants.

Gus Janeway's vertical collection of Velocity Cellars malbec is one of the items on the block.

Winemaker Herb Quady of Quady North Winery at the 2011 JPR Wine Tasting. - Photo courtesy of Steven Addington