Rogue Valley Wine Country Hosts Somm Camp
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Ten sommeliers from around the country stop by Rogue Valley Wine Country for what's called "Somm Camp." The visited dozens of wineries, tasted a lot of what this region has to offer at the first ever "Trade Tasting," and explored our culinary delights and our sense of welcome.

“I went to a Somm Camp in Paso Robles, it was Cab Camp and the head of the Somm Foundation Enrichment trips was there, and I pulled him aside and said, hey, what do we need to do to make this happen in the Rogue Valley," says Molly Shaughnessy, local sommelier and an employee at Neuman Hotel Group.

She says Neuman Hotel Group graciously donated 10 rooms for the sommeliers and then after that, they needed funding. Rogue Valley Vintners also sponsored the event with grant funding provided by Oregon Wine Board and Travel Southern Oregon and coordinated with the wineries to provide a diverse and unique wine and culinary experience for the sommeliers.

"The Oregon Wine Experience, Oregon Wine Board, and Travel Southern Oregon all helped with that, and then the wineries all jumped at the chance.”

One of the sommeliers, Dejan Mitusev, from Columbus, Ohio had never been to Oregon, “I wish it was longer… because we had so much fun over here.”

“The people who are doing things in the wine community here in this valley and the southern half of the state, really care," says Jason Chovanec, a sommelier from Denver, Colorado.

The group visited several wineries, who showcased the fruits of their labor, while some showed off their culinary skills, cooking up local goods to highlight the region.

“Oh my gosh, it has been amazing! I’m a California girl, but I’ve been to Napa and Sonoma, I'm not exaggerating, about 60 times and I was expecting Southern Oregon to be amazing, but not as amazing as I found it to be. It is so impressive," says Jennifer Plevel from Lake Tahoe, California.

“I didn’t know what to expect flying in and was shocked just by the beauty of this place first of all, so stunningly gorgeous," says Karina Roe, sommelier from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“The biggest impressions I’ve gotten have been how open everyone is, how willing to share information, how gracious they are. It's very apparent they’re excited to share what they’re working on, the changes the Rogue Valley has been through, there's some very fun stuff happening here.”

It was something Shaughnessy, and her husband Joseph knew the group would pick up on immediately, "everyone is so passionate and they want to show the world what they have. We want to show the world; it’s such a unique gem and we’re kind of keeping it to ourselves right now and this is the first step to really getting it out there.”

“This place deserves to be talked about," Roe says.