Michelle Wise and Megan Hartsell are set for ScienceWorks' Midnight in Paris Science of Wine Gala. - Photo courtesy of Ezra Marcos

An inside look at winemaking

A lot of science goes into creating a bottle of wine, but not everyone understands it. There's an interactive approach for those who find information about pH readings and the conversion of sugars into alcohol tough to read in textbooks.

The ninth annual Science of Wine at ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum in Ashland makes exploring viticultural and enology fun. Local and Napa Valley experts will be on hand for three days during the event to discuss the varietal characteristics of different grapes and the decisions that go into making memorable vintages.

The Science of Wine kicks off Thursday, May 3, with a four-course winemakers' dinner from 6 to 10 p.m. at Ashland Springs Hotel, 212 E. Main St. Tickets cost $85. Umpqua Valley's Spangler Vineyard will provide cabernet sauvignon served with natural flat-iron steaks from Painted Hills, smoked mushroom-shallot compote and sharp-cheddar mashed potatoes.

Before the courses, winemakers from RoxyAnn Winery, South Stage Cellars and new Shultz Wines will explain their processes and pairing their wines.

An auction follows, with private dinners with Oregon Shakespeare Festival actors, local experiences and exotic travel packages on the bidding block.

From 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 4, Phil Burton of Barrel Builders will demonstrate how a wine barrel is banged together at the museum, 1500 E. Main St. RoxyAnn winemaker John Quinones will explain how an oak barrel's toast changes the taste of wine. Ron Stringfield of Galaxy Wine Distributors will offer details about French varietals, and winemaker Linda Donovan of Pallet Wine Co. will discuss fermentation transformation in wine, cheese, bread and other foods.

Guests can choose from one of the four workshops. Tickets cost $20 and include plenty of pours of award-winning local wines and dishes prepared by area chefs to complement the chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and syrah.

From 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 5, the museum hosts its Midnight in Paris Science of Wine Gala. Guests can enjoy live music, French-style dishes prepared by chefs from such restaurants as C St. Bistro, Elements Tapas Bar and Smithfields, along with wines from Caprice Vineyards, Devitt Winery, Foris Vineyards, Hellgate Cellars, Fly High & LongSword Vineyards, Quady North, Serra Vineyards, Trium Wines, Valley View Vineyards, Velocity Cellars and Weisinger's of Ashland, among others. Tickets cost $65.

Proceeds from the annual event will benefit ScienceWorks' year-round educational programs for students, teachers and seniors, as well as summer festivals and science camps. The museum was founded in 2001 by Ashland residents and supported by volunteers who help design interactive exhibits, put on live, science-related shows and teach some of the 50,000 children and adults who visit each year.

See www.scienceworks-museum.org or call 541-482-6767.

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