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Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Sangria, Sips and Jam Sessions


Awen Winecraft

Sangria, Sips and Jam Sessions

Story by Lisa Manyon

Photography by Ezra Marcos


The process of winemaking is an art form from planting, to picking, to crushing, bottling, tasting, and serving, it’s a magical endeavor.

Awen Winecraft keeps the magic alive and has expanded it in its new location, which will serve as a community hub. Not only will you find your favorite Awen wines, but you can also sip specialty Sangria, and join in on a jam session. Nomad Kitchen is on hand to provide tasty food pairings. Visiting the new tasting room for Awen Winecraft did not disappoint.

Awen is a hand-crafted boutique winery known for liquid poetry and lively jam sessions. Co-owners Sean Hopkins and Tom Homewood started making wine commercially in 2016. The name Awen comes from a Celtic/druidic symbol describing the spark of creativity or divine inspiration or illumination. So, it makes sense that their wine is referred to as local Liquid Poetry in honor of both of their heritages.

Sean and Tom first began making wines locally with Rogue and Applegate AVA grapes and exclusively focused on red wines in the region. In 2013 they started making white wines and creating both 100% varietals as well as blends. They both enjoy writing and playing music on the guitar and the creative process in creating balanced, smooth, and complex hand-crafted wines from grape to glass.

Sean and Tom say, “We are committed to the region and local community, source everything locally from the master growers in the area, and pride ourselves on giving back to the community. We believe we are sitting in the middle of the next great wine region and are excited to become part of the story of the ‘South of Oregon.’”

Sean shared that he was once asked about his favorite varietal in Oregon, and his answer is, “All of them.” With close to 100 mesoclimates in Southern Oregon, there isn’t a varietal that cannot be grown. This variety is showcased in the wines they produce and serve. I enjoyed a lovely vertical flight of Grenache Blanc. Vertical tastings are special because they allow you to taste different vintages of the same wine with distinctly different characteristics. They also offered a red flight consisting of Sangiovese, Malbec, and Petit Sirah. My personal favorites that are available to the public are the 2018 Malbec and the 2018 Petit Sirah. My favorite member’s only selection is the newly released 2018 Tempranillo.

Kat Scott, Tasting Room Manager, shakes things up by bringing her experience as Robert Redford’s personal bartender and making seven varieties of Sangria. Kat’s Sangrias are special for many reasons, especially because they are not acidic. Kat doesn’t use simple syrup, so there’s no added residual sugar. She was honored to be asked to create a specialty Blueberry Lavender Sangria exclusively for the Applegate Lavender Festival. “My Sangria is a recipe that has been a part of my personal journey as a mixologist for almost 25 years before the wine industry and becoming a level 2 WSET sommelier. I brought my original red Sangria, and Sean challenged me to make another one which led to the white Sangria (white peach). Which now has led to a total of seven Sangria’s, I take it back to the basics and don’t use simple syrup so it’s not a headache in a glass. It is an elegant showcase of wine, fruit, and juice. Something you won’t forget, I promise. It is available to all, I will rotate flavors this year, so there will be some surprises,” she revealed.

Two of Kat’s signature Sangria’s will be on tap regularly and others will rotate. The traditional red inspired by Italian Sangria with a Sangiovese base and a touch of cinnamon and blackberries, along with the White Peach made with viognier. The rotating Sangrias will include Raspberry Sangria made with Rosé (the driest option), Hibiscus Pineapple with Albernio, Mango Jalapeno with Viongier, and a warm white wine cider. I sampled the cider and it’s the perfect treat for cool winter days.

It’s a kid and pet-friendly venue offering events like Sip and Paint parties and pottery painting with local artist Ben Wood. The expansion plans include the opportunity for you to sit by the bonfire, listen to local guest musicians, and play Petanque (the French version of Bocce ball).


You’re invited to drink deeply and relax at the tasting room at 3939 West Main in Medford (only a few minutes away from their former location in Jacksonville). Visit the website and social media for updates on current flights, Awen Guild wine club membership, and hours.


Awen Winecraft





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