Tips for Everyone #1

1. Try a wine from a region you are not familiar with
2. Try a grape that you are not familiar with or try a grape you know that is grown in a completely different region than what you are used to
3. Don’t go for the ‘big name’ producers just based on the name
4. Don’t rely on the ratings from the wine magazines. If you want to buy it, do so and try it.
5. Never buy the least expensive wine on a restaurant wine list. You find the greater values in the $60-$90 range
6. Share all your wine ‘discovery’ and knowledge with your friends


Since You Asked - Local Wines

I have been drinking wine with dinner. Good for the heart, you know. My question is why are local Rogue Valley wines so expensive? Wines from halfway around the world, as well as California and the Willamette Valley, are much more economical. Truthfully I don't taste that much of a difference.

-- Val H., Medford

Can't tell the difference? Let us introduce you to the Minute Market wine section, Val. Which goes better with the delicate sensibilities of a fresh salmon fillet ... Boone's Farm, Cisco or MD 20/20?

Seriously, the answer probably lies in the local wine scene simply not being as large or established as California's or even the Willamette Valley's.

"Some of the big districts that have thousands of wines in their portfolio put a lot of them on sale," said Jack Kendrick, wine director for the Jacksonville Inn and manager of its wine shop.

Local wines have not been marketed as aggressively as California wines, which may sell at the Inn's wine shop for $6-$10, Kendrick said. Higher pricing of Rogue Valley wines also may be the product of inexperience, Kendrick said.

"A lot of 'em are new to the market, and they're pricing things the way they think things should be priced," he said.

Still, not many Rogue Valley wines cost more than $30, he said, and many wineries offer more budget-conscious choices.

Shopping in the right places for your heart-healthy beverage can yield a price that's good for the heart, too. Mail Tribune wine columnist Cleve Twitchell has reported excellent buys (under $6-$10) on Bridgeview, Foris and Valley View wines at Bi-Mart. We've also found good deals on premium local wines at Costco.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to

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