Oregon’s Rogue Valley Wine Country


By Cori Solomon


BIG BLEND RADIO INTERVIEW: Eli Matthews of Travel Medford and travel writer Cori Solomon discuss Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley Wine Country. Listen or download the podcast on Spreaker.com, SoundCloud.com, YouTube.com, or BlogTalkRadio.com.

The Rogue Valley is located in southern Oregon. Three towns, Medford, Ashland, and Grants Pass, garner the largest population in the area. The valley lies along the Rogue River and its tributaries. The Cascade Mountains on the east, the Siskiyou Mountains on the north, and Southern Oregon Coast Range separate the area from the coast. The weather is mild, making it an ideal spot to grow grapes.

Medford is the largest of the three and home to Harry and David, a food and gift producer that began operating in 1910. The downtown area has been revitalized to offer lots of trendy restaurants, wine bars, art galleries, and theaters. Ashland is known for its Lithia springs, the healing thermal waters. It is also home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where people come year after year to see an eclectic assortment of live theater. Grants Pass is known for its whitewater rafting. A trip to the area must include the quaint town of Jacksonville, a national historic landmark, whose heyday was during the Gold Rush and now home to the Britt Festival, an open-air music festival.

From these cities, one can experience all the Rogue Valley has to offer, including Crater Lake, the wineries, other natural wonders, including many waterfalls and its numerous outdoor activities.

Rogue Valley AVA

The Rogue Valley AVA is not as well-known as the Willamette Valley but more diverse because of the climate and amount of varieties produced. This diversity and the other local recreational and cultural activities make this wine region a very special place to visit. It is a hidden wine gem that beckons one to explore.

The climatic difference between the AVAs in the western areas of Oregon, like the Willamette Valley, is the rain shadow effect caused by the closeness of the Cascades and Siskiyous. Because the rainfall is moderate, the Rogue Valley is dry compared to those wine regions located closer to the coast.

The soils vary throughout the AVA and include metamorphic, sedimentary, volcanic, sandy loam, and hard clay. These different soils type allow for many varieties. The red varieties most commonly planted are Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, and Malbec. White varieties include Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Viognier.

The Rogue Valley AVA was established in 1991 as part of the Southern Oregon AVA. It is 70 miles wide and 60 miles long and lies within Jackson and Josephine Counties. Three regions define this AVA, Bear Creek Valley and the Illinois Valley and Applegate Valley, which is a sub-AVA of the Rogue Valley, established in 2000.

The same diversity you find climate, soils, and varieties can also be seen in the wineries.  It could be the style or character of the wine, branding, or appearance of the tasting room.

Anchor Valley
Ashley Cates describes her winery as an edgy brand, but when you learn the extensive wine background behind this boutique winery, you find she and her husband Matt create wines accentuating the expression of the terroir. Their goal is to open the door a bit wider by welcoming everyone. They provide a fun and relaxing atmosphere at their tasting room in Jacksonville without sacrificing the integrity of their wine. Their wines are very approachable. Anchor Valley is not just a winery; it is a lifestyle brand with a line of clothing. One must-try the Pinot Gris with its marvelous layers and complexity. Also, go for the Petit Sirah.

Awen Winecraft
Probably the smallest producer in this group, Awen, which is a Celtic word that describes poetic inspiration. It is the inspiration of Sean Hopkins and Tom Homewood that is the driving force behind Awen Winecraft. They create very balanced old-world style wines. One must-try the Albariño and Sangiovese.

Cliff Creek Cellars
Known for its big reds, the winery creates wines in what they call a traditional French style. The Garvin Family has been producing wine since the 1990s.  They have two tasting rooms, one in the Rogue Valley and the other in the Willamette Valley. One must-try the Cabernet Franc and the Claret.

Dancin Vineyards
Vibrant is the best way to describe Dancin Vineyards because not only does the word portray the scenery you will discover at this winery, but the wine that comes forth from a glass of their wine. Passion and romance also define this winery. It comes through in the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Barbera. One must-try is the Septet Pinot Noir.

Irvine & Roberts
They say location is everything. This terminology is true of the vista one views from the patio at Irvine and Roberts. It is not just the spectacular view that defines this winery, but its position between the confluence of two mountain ranges, the Siskiyou Mountains and the Cascades, set the stage for growing outstanding Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Their specialty, Burgundian style wines. One must-try the Pinot Mineure.

Kriselle Cellars
Passion is the motivation behind Kriselle Cellars. Owner Scott Steingraber’s commitment to producing wines is based on character and quality, which their wines excel at emphasizing. This Rogue Valley winery is located at one of the warmest sites along the Roque River on the Upper Rogue Wine Trail. The tasting room is architectural with incredible vineyard views. One must-try the Sauvignon Blanc, a wine that ferments and ages in oak, Tempranillo, and the Di’tani.

One of the older wineries in the Rogue Valley’s Applegate Valley, Troon, has reinvented itself after a change of ownership and addition of General Manager, Craig Camp. Troon is now Demeter Biodynamic and Organic Certified, which emphasizes the winery’s new approach to the winemaking process. They also produce biodynamic cider from 20 apple varieties grown on the property. One must-try the Kubli Bench Amber, a blend of Riesling, Vermentino, and Viognier; the Kubli Bench Rosé, a combination of Tinto Roriz, Primitivo, and Grenache as well as the Côtes du Kubli Rouge, a Syrah/Grenache blend.

Please check with each winery for their tasting room schedule. Most wineries require an appointment.

For more information on the region visit: https://www.travelmedford.org and https://travelashland.com

Cori Solomon is an award-winning freelance writer/photographer residing in Los Angeles, California. Her writing focuses on travel, art, food, wine, and pets. Cori’s background is in real estate and art. Her art plays a role in her writing as she utilizes the Palette both visually and verbally in many articles. Cori shares her experiences and joy of her subjects in a passionate, candid, caring, and entertaining way. Like her animal art, where she looks beyond the eyes to find an animal’s inner soul and spirit, Cori looks for the story that is behind the restaurant, chef, winery, winemaker, or artist. As Cori often travels with her dogs, some of her travel articles deal with pet-friendly hotels and locations.  Cori Founded LA Wine Writers, a group of seasoned wine writers.  She earned her WSET Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits, received the NASA American Wine Specialist Certification and NASA Spanish Wine Specialist Certification. She is a member of the International Food Wine Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA), North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA), and Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). Follow her at http://www.writtenpalette.com

International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the Author:

Cori Solomon is an award-winning freelance writer/photographer residing in Los Angeles, California.

Website Link Visit Link Here
Category , , , ,
No Feedback Received