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Four wine-worthy causes on tap

It’s not very difficult to find a reason to buy a bottle of Rogue Valley wine or attend a tasting, but if you’re looking for one, consider that in some cases your purchase or participation may benefit others in the community. Here are four examples of what I’m talking about.

Oregon Solidarity: As you may recall, last summer’s smoky conditions in the Rogue Valley resulted in the cancellation of a California winery’s contracts for fruit from several local vineyards. Lab tests did not support fears of widespread smoke taint, but the buyer refused to honor the contracts notwithstanding.

The cancellation occurred just before harvest and would have caused even worse financial impact if a coalition of Northern Oregon wineries had not stepped in to buy some of the abandoned crop.

Due to the initiative of Willamette Valley Vineyards and King Estate Winery, with the help of Silvan Ridge Winery and The Eyrie Vineyards, more than 140 tons of fruit formerly destined to be made into Elouan wines, a California brand, are in the process of being made into Oregon Solidarity wines. Net proceeds from the wine sales will be donated to Rogue Valley Vintners, a nonprofit organization made up of wine producers, growers and community partners with a shared mission to market the Rogue Valley as a premier wine region.

Three vintages — Oregon Solidarity Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Rosé of Pinot Noir — will be released starting this spring, but will be available to purchase during an online pre-sale period starting Feb. 15. Check www.oregonsolidaritywines.com, expected to go live Feb. 12, for details.

Southern Oregon retail outlets that will carry Oregon Solidarity wines include Safeway, Albertsons and Fred Meyer.

Ashland Independent Film Festival Wine Release Party: Winemaker Eric Weisinger has made the official AIFF wines since 2012 and is introducing this year’s selection, a limited production 2016 grenache, at a release party Jan. 17, from 5 to 7 p.m., at Weisinger Family Winery. The $50 ticket price includes a complimentary glass of grenache, light bites, and a preview tasting of next year’s AIFF wine, a 2017 tempranillo. Both wines will be available for purchase during the event.

Attendees will have the chance to win one of two door prizes: A Friend Pass to attend AIFF 2019 in April (value: $85), and a ticket to the Oscar Night Fundraising Gala, a black-tie optional affair with live broadcast of the Oscars, and a five-course meal catered by Smithfields, scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 24, at the Historic Ashland Armory (value: $115).

See https://aiffyearroundevents19.eventive.org/schedule for tickets. All proceeds benefit the nonprofit AIFF.

Oregon Tempranillo Celebration: The fourth annual event will be held at the Ashland Hills Hotel and Suites Jan. 18-20. The event will bring together more than 50 Oregon tempranillo producers for professional seminars and critical evaluation of vintages. The Grand Tasting from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday affords a chance to sample tempranillos in a variety of styles from across the state while enjoying delectable tapas, desserts and a silent auction. Tickets cost $50 and are available at http://oregontempranilloalliance.com/tickets/. Grand Tasting proceeds benefit local health care through the Asante Foundation, including the Children’s Miracle Network.

In connection with the OTC, Oregon Wine University is offering a tempranillo class, the Great Oregon Tempranillo Adventure, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19. Tickets cost $39 and can be purchased online at https://asantefoundation.ejoinme.org/WineU. OWU is a year-round feature of the Oregon Wine Experience, the annual August wine festival held in Jacksonville, and benefits the Asante Foundation.

2019 Toast to the Wild. This event being held at the Ashland Hills Hotel and Suites from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, to benefit Wildlife Images, a nonprofit wild animal rescue. The nonmember ticket price is $125, and includes live music, dancing, wines from 11 local wineries, beer and an array of savories and sweets. Attendees will enjoy up-close encounters with one of Wildlife Images’ animal ambassadors (eagles, wolves, badgers and skunks, oh my!) and hear stories from Executive Director Dave Siddon and animal handlers about how the animals came to Wildlife Images.

Wildlife Images Rehabilitation and Education Center is a clinic, animal sanctuary and education center located about 12 miles west of Grants Pass. It provides for the care and treatment of sick, injured and orphaned wildlife and is open to the public. For more information and ticket purchase, see www.wildlifeimages.org/2019-toast-to-the-wild.

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