The Oregon Wine Experience, formerly known as the World of Wine Festival, is now in its 19th year. Its founders — Lee Mankin of Carpenter Hill Vineyard in Medford, Joe Ginet of Plaisance Ranch in Williams and Cal Schmidt of Schmidt Family Vineyards in Grants Pass — started a wine competition during the third year of the festival.
For 9 years it was held at Gold Hill’s Del Rio Winery but moved to the Bigham Knoll Campus in Jacksonville in 2011.
In 2014 Asante Health System’s Foundation partnered with the local wine industry to manage the event as their signature fundraising effort for the year. With Asante Foundation’s support the event grossed nearly $300,000 in its first year of the partnership.
100% of the money raised benefits Children’s Miracle Network and other Asante Foundation health care programs that include no-cost patient family housing, cancer compassion funds, educational classes and more. In 2020, the event is as strong as ever raising more than $5.5 million overall and has expanded many of its offerings, allowing guests to experience unique wine and culinary experiences throughout the state.
Lee Mankin (May 8, 1947- March 10, 2016)
Along with Joe Ginet and Cal Schmidt, Lee was one of the original founders of this event. He fell in love with wine many years ago while studying in Italy. It was there that his dream to one day grow wine grapes arose. After retiring from a career in dentistry in 1997, Lee and his wife Vicki found the right piece of land in Medford and with the help of vineyard staff, planted Carpenter Hill Vineyard. In 2004 they made their first wine. Now with 22 acres and grapes of the highest quality, their family owned and operated vineyard is planted with multiple varietals.
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Lee was loved by many in the wine industry, our community, and beyond. He will be missed.