Oregon Tempranillo Celebration returns to Ashland for 2019

By on December 24, 2018

Les Martin of Red Lily Vineyards, Earl Jones of Abacela, Scott Steingraber of Kriselle Cellars and Eric Weisinger of Weisinger Family Winery founded the Oregon Tempranillo Alliance in 2015. (Photo by Steven Addington Photography/Courtesy of the Oregon Tempranillo Alliance)

ASHLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Tempranillo Alliance recently announced that its fourth annual Oregon Tempranillo Celebration will return to its roots in Southern Oregon on Jan. 18-20.

Last winter, organizers found a warm response in Portland for the consumer tasting and trade seminars near the historic Lloyd Center. That experience and potential outreach has prompted them to consider a return to the Willamette Valley for 2020.

“The 2018 Oregon Tempranillo Celebration was held in Portland and the overwhelmingly positive response suggests that Tempranillo may be Oregon’s next great grape,” Eric Weisinger, co-founder and President of the Oregon Tempranillo Alliance, stated in a news release. “The feedback from numerous wine critics has affirmed that Oregon Tempranillo has excellent quality, rivaling even famous Spanish Tempranillo wines.”

This winter, they will be back at the sprawling Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites, the setting for the inaugural Oregon Tempranillo Celebration in 2016. Asante Foundation, which spearheads the popular Oregon Wine Experience and expanding Oregon Wine Competition, joined on this fall to assist with the Oregon Tempranillo Celebration.

Organizers recruit Sacramento Bee’s Dunne

Mike Dunne, wine columnist for the Sacramento (Calif.) Bee, served as chief of judges for the 2016 Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition, staged Oct. 5-6 at the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River, Ore. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

Mike Dunne, wine columnist for the Sacramento (Calif.) Bee, served as chief judge for the 2016 Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition at the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River, Ore. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

Organizers continue to restrict attendance at the first two days of the Oregon Tempranillo Celebration to the wine trade and wineries licensed by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission that produce Tempranillo in Oregon. That includes producers in the southern portion of the Walla Walla Valley.

Guest critics for the 2019 Oregon Tempranillo Celebration will be Bree Boskov, a Master of Wine from Australia who works with the Oregon Wine Board and others as a consultant; Mike Dunne, wine columnist for The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee; and Alder Yarrow, founder of Vinography.com. Their duties include serving as chairs for the Saturday seminars.

Production of Tempranillo in Oregon now spans more than 368 acres planted, which produce more than 1,000 tons of grapes. The Oregon Tempranillo Alliance points to the grape’s economic impact as more than $10 million.

Admission is $50 for the consumer-focused Grand Tasting is Sunday, Jan. 20 from 1-4 p.m., and entrance fee includes a variety of tapas and a souvenir wine glass. The accompanying Silent Auction in the Constellation Hall at Ashland Hills will have 100 percent of the proceeds going to benefit Southern Oregon health care through the Asante Foundation, which includes the Children’s Miracle Network.

Wineries interested in participating must submit their winery participation form by Dec. 31. That’s also the deadline to submit Tempranillo for evaluation by Boskov, Dunne and Yarrow.

About Eric Degerman

Eric Degerman is the President and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. He is a journalist with more than 30 years of daily newspaper experience and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Andy Perdue and served as its managing editor for a decade. He is a frequent wine judge at international wine competitions throughout North America and orchestrates 10 Northwest competitions each year.


  1. Earl says:

    Merry Christmas Eric!
    Great supporting article, timely and with all the right touches.

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