By KM Collins
Every season in Oregon wine country has its own appeal, but if you’re a fan of baby animals and lovely blossoms, spring is the best time to explore all the bounty Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley tasting rooms have to offer. As the warm weather shifts and buds break, check off these memorable tasting experiences.
Local Music and Art
Is there anything better than enjoying local music while sipping the Rogue Valley’s finest? Centrally located on the east side of Medford, RoxyAnn Winery offers hoppin’ spring music most weekend afternoons. If you’re on a budget, ask about $5 glass options. Schmidt Family Vineyards, in the Applegate Valley, also serves up lively tunes along with your wine most Saturdays. For a side-by-side music and art experience, try Cliff Creek Cellars in Gold Hill. Their monthly tasting room artists’ receptions feature live music and “friendly priced” local works.
Looking for a full-fledged farm experience while you’re tasting? At Rellik Winery in Jacksonville, you can spot baby llamas roving the orchard right from the tasting room. A hop, skip and a jump down the Applegate Valley at Troon Vineyard, stop in to see the free-range sheep and two herd-trained Great Pyrenees puppies. Sip on Troon’s flagship wine, Cuvée Pyrénées, which is a co-ferment made up of Tannat and Malbec grapes — the puppies’ namesakes. If you want to bring your own fur baby, Ashland’s Weisinger Family Winery and many other tasting-room patios welcome leashed, friendly pups. Best practice is to call ahead to confirm.
With spring temperatures ranging from mid-60s to 70s, it would be mad not to catch a handful of sunsets ricocheting off epic skylines on tasting-room patios. Naumes Suncrest Winery, in Talent, features a west-facing expanse perfect for watching the sun drop. Hummingbird Estate in Central Point and 2Hawk Vineyard & Winery in Medford are also local evening-sky fan favorites.
Why just stay for the evening when you can make a whole weekend out of it? Troon Vineyard offers a luxury stay in their immaculate three-bedroom, two-bath cottage in the vineyard. For something more quaint and traditional, Plaisance Ranch, also in the Applegate Valley, provides a French-style gîte, or a detached, private bedroom between the tasting room, barn and their newest vineyard block. A bit further off the beaten path, Foris Wine, in the Illinois Valley, rents out stays at their 100-year-old farmhouse, called the Maple Ranch Johnson House. Find more vineyard stays at Weisinger Family Winery, Hummingbird Estate and Rellik Winery.
More Tasty Delights
Looking for refreshing ways to complement your tasting? Other favorite Rogue Valley provisions include Eden Valley Orchards’ thirst-quenching pear ciders at their EdenVale Winery tasting room in Medford — try their 2017 pear house cider, a 2019 double-gold winner. The pear orchard is a favorite place for families to hang out. At Plaisance Ranch in the tiny town of Williams, south of Grants Pass, you can pick up some of their savory grass-fed beef for your next wine-paired meal at home. At Wooldridge Creek Winery in Grants Pass, mouthwatering house-made charcuterie and cheeses await, with views of the Siskiyou Mountains from their lush garden patio.
Bring Rogue Valley Wine Country home:
If you aren’t able to experience the Rogue Valley in person, you can bring Rogue Valley Wine Country to your home. Look for details on the new Rogue Valley Wine Country Discovery Club to post in May, just in time for Oregon Wine Month.
Sunset at 2Hawk Vineyard by David Gibb; alpacas courtesy of Rellik Winery