: Pebblestone by Lanessa Pierce

Wine Tasting Around the Rogue Valley

June 15, 2018

Oregon wine is famous for its sultry, spicy, smooth and sophisticated pinot noir — but there’s so much more to the Beaver State’s fertile wine scene.

In recent years, the vineyards of Southern Oregon have become known for their diversity of grapes (at least 50 varieties) and their ability to produce so many exquisite types of wine: everything from warm-weather reds like syrah, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, tempranillo and malbec to mouth-watering whites like pinot gris, chardonnay and viognier.

About 180 vineyards have taken root in the Rogue Valley winegrowing region, the southernmost in Oregon, stretching from the Rogue River south to the California border and situated at the same parallel regions as Spain and Southern France.

The Rogue Valley is prized for its unique terroir — warm days and cool nights, nestled between the Cascade, Siskiyou and Coastal ranges and the Pacific Ocean; the temperature flux enhances the sugar-acid balance and the flavors of the grapes. The hillsides here provide some of the highest elevations in the state, which means that vineyards are planted on hillsides rather than the valley floor. All of that means that winemakers are happily innovating, producing award-winning wine — and visitors to Grants Pass, Medford, Ashland and Jacksonville get to reap the bounty.

In addition to acclaimed wines, Pebblestone Cellars offers live music and food. (Photo credit: Pebblestone Cellars)

Richard and Pat Ellis have been welcoming visitors to their winery, Pebblestone Cellars, at the base of the foothills just west of Medford in Talent since 2006. Pebblestone Cellars focuses on their acclaimed tempranillo, viognier, cabernet franc and pinot gris as well as other varieties. The Ellises just opened their brand-new tasting room, where visitors can sample the wines and enjoy live music every Sunday afternoon.

We built the tasting room in middle of all the vineyards so people get chance to have a mountain view and vineyard view and enjoy wine on the deck,” Richard Ellis says. A new lawn space with picnic tables also provides space for unwinding and soaking up the views.

For your next tasting trip to the Rogue Valley, here are some other fabulous tasting rooms to explore. 

Near Grants Pass

Nibble on made-to-order flatbreads and calzones as you sip your flight at Schmidt Family Vineyards.  Venture far off the beaten path to Williams to visit Plaisance Ranch, a working ranch since 1858, with grapes and cattle on site.

Vineyards of merlot, syrah, and cabernet sauvignon were first planted at Schmidt Family Vineyards in 2001. (Photo credit: Schmidt Family Vineyards)

Near Medford

Rocky Knoll Vineyards is known to have some of the earliest modern grape plantings in the Rogue Valley, planted in the mid-1970s. Sip your new favorite wine at Agate Ridge Vineyards tasting room in Eagle Point, located in the property’s original 1910 historic farmhouse with views of Mt. McLoughlin. Gather around the fire pit or bocce court at 2Hawk Vineyard and Winery, powered by solar arrays and other natural viticulture techniques.

Agate Ridge Vineyards has been producing award-winning Southern Oregon wines for nearly a decade. (Photo credit: John Valls)

Near Jacksonville

The Tuscan retreat-inspired Dancin Vineyards was named Oregon Winery of the Year in 2017 by Wine Press Northwest, noted for their chardonnay and pinot noir. Red Lily Vineyards focuses on its all-star lineup of earthy, Spanish-style reds like Tempranillo and various blends. LongSword Vineyard is also a family farm and a landing zone for local hang gliders and paragliders, so guests on the tasting patio are often greeted with the spectacle of colorful wings as well as friendly flocks of chickens, geese and sheep.

LongSword Vineyard is a family-owned, farmed and operated vineyard and winery. (Photo credit: Lanessa Pierce)

Near Ashland

Try the pear and honeydew melon-inspired viognier, a visitor favorite at Paschal Winery and Vineyard. Linger around the fire pit at Dana Campbell Vineyards, with tasting room views of Pilot Rock, Mt. Ashland and the outskirts of Talent. Lounge outside on the modern and elegant patio at Irvine & Roberts Vineyards, with sweeping views of their estate vineyards as well as the Cascade and Siskiyou mountain ranges.

Located just 5 miles from downtown Ashland Oregon, Irvine & Roberts Vineyards offers stunning views and acclaimed wines. (Photo credit: Laura Arbo)

About The

Jen Anderson
Jen Anderson writes and edits Travel Oregon's e-newsletters, annual Visitor Guide and other editorial content. She loves finding the latest places to eat, drink and play around the state with her husband and two young boys. Brewpubs, beaches and bike trails top the list.

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