Oregon’s Rogue Valley AVA Wine Country

Rogue Valley View © Travel Medford
Discover Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley AVA, an area rich in culture and offering diversity in the wines produced in this region.  You will fall in love with the area and, like me, want to come back to discover more of its secrets.

The Rogue Valley is located in southern Oregon. Three main towns, Medford, Ashland, and Grants Pass, garner the main population in the area, and each is an ideal spot to situate yourself to discover all that the Rogue Valley has to offer. The valley lies along the Rogue River and its tributaries. The Cascade Mountains on the east, the Siskiyou Mountains on the north, and Southern Oregon Coast Range separate the area from the coast. The weather is mild, making it an ideal spot to grow grapes.

Medford is the largest of the three and home to Harry and David, a food and gift producer that began operating in 1910. The downtown area has been revitalized to offer many trendy restaurants, wine bars, art galleries, and theaters. Ashland is known for its Lithia springs, the healing thermal waters.

It is also home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where people come year after year to see an eclectic assortment of live theater. Grants Pass is known for its whitewater rafting. A trip to the area must include the even smaller quaint town of Jacksonville, a national historic landmark whose heyday was during the Gold Rush and is now home to the Britt Festival, an open-air music festival.

From these cities, one can experience all the Rogue Valley offers, including Crater Lake, its natural wonders, including many waterfalls, and many other outdoor activities.

Rogue Valley AVA

The Rogue Valley AVA is not as well-known as the Willamette Valley but more diverse because of the climate and amount of varieties produced. This diversity and the other local recreational and cultural activities make this wine region a very special place to visit. It is a hidden wine gem that beckons one to explore.

The climatic difference between the AVAs in the western areas of Oregon, like the Willamette Valley, is the rain shadow effect caused by the closeness of the Cascades and Siskiyous. Because the rainfall is moderate, the Rogue Valley is dry compared to those wine regions located closer to the coast.

The soils vary throughout the AVA and include metamorphic, sedimentary, volcanic, sandy loam, and hard clay. These different soils type allow for many varieties. The red varieties most commonly planted are Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, and Malbec. White varieties include Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Viognier.

The Rogue Valley AVA was established in 1991 as part of the Southern Oregon AVA. It is 70 miles wide and 60 miles long and lies within Jackson and Josephine Counties. Three regions define this AVA, Bear Creek Valley and the Illinois Valley and Applegate Valley, a sub-AVA of the Rogue Valley, established in 2000.

Applegate Valley © Cori Solomon
Applegate Valley

Rogue Valley AVA Wineries to Visit

The same diversity you find in climate, soils, and varieties can also be seen in the wineries.  It could be the style or character of the wine, branding, or appearance of the tasting room.

Discover these Rogue Valley AVA Wineries, Anchor Valley, Awen Winecraft, Cliff Creek Cellars, Dancin Vineyards, Irvine & Roberts, Kriselle Cellars, and Troon.

At this time, it is advisable when visiting to check each winery for their tasting schedule. Most wineries require an appointment.

This is an excerpt from an article I wrote for Big Blend Magazine.

To read the entire article about the Rogue Valley AVA.

Note: This writer received hosted visits to some of the wineries or hosted wine samples common to the wine industry. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.

Featured photo courtesy of Travel Medford.