With nearly 500 wineries and counting in Oregon, sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin exploring. So why not start with the latest addition? In February 2013, the state welcomed Elkton as its newest American Viticultural Area (AVA). Putting the Elkton AVA on the map brings the state’s number of wine regions to 17.
Located near the little town of Elkton (pop. 195) in the Coast Range, the Elkton AVA is situated in the Umpqua Valley in Southern Oregon. It’s small — just 100 acres and four tasting rooms to date. And while Southern Oregon is best known for its hot, dry climate and wines best produced in such conditions — tempranillos, albariños and cabernets — Elkton differs.
“That’s exactly why we petitioned for a new AVA,” says Terry Brandborg, who owns Elkton-based Brandborg Vineyards with his wife Sue. “Our climate is significantly cooler than the rest of the Umpqua Valley.”
Brandborg says fog coming in from the Oregon Coast just 36 miles away and the breeze off the Umpqua River create a cooler, more temperate climate where pinot noir, pinot gris, gewerztraminer and riesling thrive. Since people tend to associate Southern Oregon with hotter, drier climates, Brandborg says having a distinct AVA will “help tell our story and help educate buyers.”
A daytrip to Elkton will bring you to all of the tasting rooms in the AVA: River’s Edge Winery, Brandborg Winery, Anindor Vineyards and Bradley Vineyards. “It’s a hidden gem at this point and people will be pretty wowed by the wine we are making here,” Brandborg says.
While visiting Elkton, check out the beauty of the Umpqua River and take the Umpqua River Scenic Byway out to the coast. As a bonus for electric vehicle travelers, a new EV charging station will be installed in downtown Elkton at Brandborg Winery this fall.
And when you’re ready to take a bottle of Oregon wine country home with you, remember that Oregon wines fly free on Alaska Airlines.