Rogue Valley Wineries
Southern Oregon is regarded as a beautiful location better known for the Rogue River and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, but a booming new development is sure to add to the list of regional amenities that makes Southern Oregon one of a kind; that development is wine. Southern Oregon hosts a relaxed, blossoming wine country that lacks the high prices and congested tasting rooms one might find in similar locations like Napa Valley. Thanks to a combination of rich soil and climate variety mixed with a relatively new surge in wine business, Southern Oregon looks to become one of the most highly acclaimed wine regions in the world. The region boasts over 150 micro-climates south of Eugene, contributed by mountains, high desert and river valleys; this means Southern Oregon can provide a large variety of high quality grapes. Everything aforementioned displays why Southern Oregon, specifically Ashland, was named as one of the top ten wine destinations in the world by Wine Enthusiast magazine.
Seeing as the Southern Oregon region will continue to bloom and expand in the wine world, we wanted to highlight some of the best wineries the region has thus far!
Owned by Jamie and Katherine McCleary, Jaxon Vineyards is a small and relatively new Rogue Valley vineyard that has already made a name for itself by producing award-winning wines. Jaxon Vineyards holds a passion for crafting premium wines from carefully nurtured vines, with a focus on environmentally responsible farming practices to produce varietals that combine an influence from French and Spanish heritage with thriving vines that are uniquely Southern Oregon. The McClearys have both taken classes in viticulture at University of California, Davis, and were looking for a warm climate between Ashland and Medford. In 2008, the family purchased a 16-acre pear orchard deemed suitable for growing grapes of the southern Rhone region of France and the Rioja region of Spain. Both of these regions have similar climates to Southern Oregon and proved to be a perfect host for grape strands that produce tempranillo, syrah, grinch and viognier. Jaxon received fantastic reviews of their wines from the start; their 2011 Granache won a double gold at WOW and gold at the 2014 SavorNW Wine competition, the 2011 Estate Tempranillo won silver medals at WOW, the San Francisco International and the SavorNW competitions. Jaxon also received 91 points from Wine Enthusiast for their 2011 Syrah.
No public tasting room exists yet for Jaxon, although plans for one are on the drawing board. You can find their wines at local Ashland restaurants like Liquid Assets and the Peerless Restaurant. You can also arrange private tastings and events at their home that overlooks the vineyard.
“Our vision is for every sip of Jaxon to inspire, forge new memories, and add something special to time spent with family and friends.”
Located in the center of the Ashland, Medford, and Jacksonville “triangle,” Pebblestone has made a name for itself as a small yet booming family-owned winery. Pebblestone”™s name pays tribute to the special, sandy soil that contributes to the intense varietal aromatics that make it”™s wine truly unique. The 2015 Block 8 Viognier won the award for best white at the Oregon Wine Competition. Gold medals have also been awarded to Pebblestone”™s 2012 Cabernet Franc and the 2012 Tempranillo. The cellar has been a huge work in progress, as the property had been planted six years before the current owners acquired the property. “We inherited a restoration project,” owner Dick Ellis said. “Part of the vines had failed, and it took me six years to redo the trellising and getting the vineyard back into a productive state.”
Pebblestone now boasts a beautiful tasting room for visitors, with exquisite views of Wagner Butte and Mount Ashland. You can experience a varietal of fantastic tasting wines in a quaint, peaceful setting. As one yelp reviewer put it “Pebblestone is a small winery near Phoenix Oregon. They do a fantastic job with all their wines, and have won numerous awards, including San Francisco Wine Chronicle tasting. The tasting room is small and intimate with a peaceful outdoor area. Their prices are reasonable and the wine club is one of the best values in the valley.”
Southern Oregon dairyman Joe Ginet was in the milking business for 30 years before he decided that Pleasance Ranch could produce much more. Joe”™s family had a history of both wine and farming, and being a third-generation farmer who first bought his ranch in 1979, he was accustomed to hard work and learning. When Joe decided he wanted to branch out into the wine business, he had cousins come in from France to help plant vineyards and teach the grafting business. Now on the ranch, instead of a dairy welding shop, you find a commercial kitchen. In place of a milk tank room you will find a tasting room. And what was once a milking parlor is now a barrel room.
Today Pleasance offers a huge number of wine styles and guarantees every visitor to try something that they have never tasted before. It has been a slow road to success but most recently Pleasance has been making a name for itself with award winning selections. The 2013 CarmÃ©nÃ¨re was selected as a Great Northwest Wine of the Week, the 2013 Syrah won a gold medal at the 2016 Cascade Wine Competition and best red honors at the Oregon Wine Competition, and the 15 year commitment of MondeusÃ© picked up a gold medal as well.
Joe Ginet is also one of the founding members of the Oregon Wine Experience, which now raises more than $500,000 a year for the Asante Children”™s Miracle Network.
Plaisance Ranch still provides fantastic organic beef, with no hormones or antibiotics, which can be found at Ruby”™s restaurant, Shop & Cart and Ashland Food Co-op. You can join their wine club for special discounts and benefits including special events, advanced notification of releases, and quarterly bottles.