Jacksonville to host World of Wine event

JACKSONVILLE — The Southern Oregon World of Wine will move from the banks of the Rogue River to Jacksonville, expanding from a single-day event into a six-day festival in August.

The World of Wine, held at Del Rio Vineyards west of Gold Hill since its inception in 2003, will run Aug. 22-27, culminating in the Grand Tasting on Saturday night at Bigham Knoll.

"Jacksonville offers a more centralized location and the ability to expand, as well as being a gateway to the area's wonderful wine regions," said World of Wine Chairman Lee Mankin of Carpenter Hill Vineyard.

More than 750 people have attended the event in recent years, taxing the infrastructure at Del Rio, Mankin said. "We had limited parking at Del Rio and it will be no problem now. It allows us to give more benefit to people coming from out of the area. We get a lot of calls for lodging and now people can walk to their lodging. This gives it a huge chance to really grow."

More than 30 Jacksonville restaurants and businesses are taking part in hosting the event, which showcases wines from more than 40 area wineries.

David Jesser, chairman of the Jacksonville Oregon Business Association, said the group is well-suited to grow the event.

"Jacksonville realizes it is one of the gateways to the Applegate Wine Trail," Jesser said. "It's almost like reliving history. In the 1850s, this was the gateway to the gold rush and it became a commercial center. Today, it's the wine industry. We're really proud and lucky."

While much of the region's tourism marketing campaigns already are in place, Jesser said that won't be an obstacle, because the World of Wine and local trade groups have laid a strong foundation.

"We're fortunate to have an event that sells out every year coming to us with an established website," Jesser said. "We've been given a polished gem and we're working to polish it more."

Ticket prices and distribution will be announced at a later date.

"We assume we'll have the 750 and hope to increase it by 10 percent," Jesser said. "What we want to do is enhance the experience."

In addition to the Grand Tasting, the expanded festival will include sensory wine tasting and wine pairing seminars, educational programs and a gala dinner and live auction.

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