We think Oregon wine pairs nicely with the great outdoors. To celebrate Oregon Wine Month, my husband and I toured Southern Oregon’s wine country, pairing vineyard visits with scenic hiking trails, historic landmarks and more — because we known there’s always more than one reason to take a trip in Oregon.
It was a whirlwind trip that we won’t ever forget. Thankfully we can continue the Oregon Wine Month celebrations, with special events, releases and pairings for the entire month of May.
Pairing: Abacela + Wildlife Safari
We had such a special experience at Abacela in Roseburg. Their landscape is stunning and they’re home to some of the best Tempranillo in the country. Schedule a private tasting with one of their knowledgeable staff for your visit. We loved having the chance to sample and ask questions about their entire process. You’ll hear the history of Abacela plus learn about the grape varieties that make their winery one of Oregon’s favorites.
On May 5, the Umpqua Valley Winegrowers Barrel Tour visits Abacela and other local wineries in celebration of Oregon Wine Month.
Next to Abacela Vineyards is Wildlife Safari, the only drive-through animal park in the state of Oregon. It is a blast! This is a must-visit for adults and kiddos alike. We saw ostrich, bears, giraffes, rhinos, zebras, lions and so many other gorgeous animals — there’s even a baby giraffe. I don’t think we stopped smiling the entire time. Wildlife Safari is dedicated to the preservation and education of native and exotic wildlife, especially those that live at the park. You gotta see it.
Fun fact: Wildlife Safari receives hay from Abacela and in returns the Safari sends over “zoo doo” for the winery’s nutrient-rich fertilizer.
Pairing: Kriselle Cellars + Table Rocks
Table Rocks is one of our favorite hikes, located 15 miles north of Medford. If you’re on a mission for wildflowers, then this is your spot — if you’re lucky you’ll see the very rare dwarf-wooly meadowfoam, which is found nowhere else in the world! This was a moderately easy hike and the views from the top are incredible. We’ll be returning to this spot again as one trip isn’t nearly enough. Mountains + valleys + flowers + birds! Pack your camera for this one. Best of all, Table Rocks is near a wonderful winery, Kriselle Cellars, a great place to celebrate Oregon Wine Month.
Three words – pizza AND wine! Not only does Kriselle Cellars, an amazingly gorgeous property, produce delicious wine (oh yes, we sampled quite a few) but they also have wood-fired pizza! And you have got to try the Cabernet Sauvignon. The staff and the owners are kind + hardworking people who truly love what they do….and it shows. The winery hosts many community wide events like live music and painting days. Kriselle Cellars is located next to the Rogue River, which gives their grapes character unlike many others, and you can see the Table Rocks in the distance. Another must-see when touring Oregon’s wine country! Kriselle Cellars is one of the wineries featured on Roam the Rogue, an Oregon Wine Month event, on May 5.
Pairing: Red Lily Vineyards + McKee Bridge
Red Lily Vineyards in Jacksonville has a super fun atmosphere. There are wine tastings in test tubes and the sitting area is right by the beautiful Applegate River. Everyone was having a blast on this sunny day in Southern Oregon (as my giant smile shows). We sampled some ports — our new favorites — and soaked up all the sunshine and beauty. This location is beyond gorgeous. See it for yourself during the Applegate Valley Spring Uncorked Barrel Tour on May 19.
What is there not to love about a historic covered bridge? Oregon has a lot of them (50 in fact), but you might not have heard of McKee Bridge. It was originally built in 1917 to link a copper mine to the town of Jacksonville. Today it’s car-free and recently renovated. We took our time admiring the gorgeous infrastructure. Apparently in the summer this a sweet swimming area too. We paired our visit to McKee Bridge with a wine tasting at Red Lily Vineyard, because Oregon Wine Month pairs well with the great outdoors.
Pairing: Hobart Bluff + Irvine & Roberts Vineyards
It was worth waking up early to hike Hobart Bluff in the morning sunshine. The trail is just 19 miles from the Ashland Hills Hotel (where we stayed), and it’s a short and sweet hike with an amazing payoff. Better yet, Hobart Bluff is part of the Pacific Crest Trail and in the beautiful Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. 10/10 would recommend. How gorgeous is Oregon?! After this hike we deserved a cheers — after all we’re celebrating Oregon Wine Month. Pairing a beautiful hike with a wine tasting at Irvine & Roberts Vineyards just makes sense.
Not only does Oregon have some of the best wines in the U.S., we’d argue that it has the best vineyard views too. We loved spending the afternoon at Irvine & Roberts Vineyards, and it paired perfectly with a hike to Hobart Bluff. Irvine & Roberts is a new family-owned winery in Ashland with breathtaking views of the Rogue Valley. It’s beyond beautiful. And the charcuterie is pretty great too, especially with their pinot noir and chardonnay. Yes, we took a bottle home with us. We even got to meet one of the co-owners, Dionne, and learn more about the wine. It was the perfect way to cap off our trip to Southern Oregon’s wine country. Luckily Oregon Wine Month is just beginning, and you have plenty of ways to celebrate for yourself. Until next time, cheers!