blog header, your complete guide to medford's wine country, rogue valley wine country: a local's guide
By Emily Hunter | 05/02/2022 | Applegate Wine Trail, Bear Creek Wine Trail, Things to Do, Upper Rogue Wine Trail, Wine, Wine Tours, Winery

ROGUE VALLEY WINE COUNTRY

From the cradle of the country’s beginnings, the Heart of the Rogue has uniquely cultivated wines for the ages from its special soils. The Cascade and Siskiyou Mountain ranges wrap their arms around the hills and slopes, creating a bowl of protected topography that relates closest to that of France.

Whether you are looking to discover the four diverse wine trails that trek the lands, or you seek to uncover your new favorite varietal, the valley has something for every palette.

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A gold rush of $70 million in findings and the Donation Land Act of 1850 brought thousands of settlers to the rugged rogue country. These early settlers recognized quickly that the climate around the area was perfect for farming, and, of course, wine. In 1852, settler Peter Britt began growing grapes and later opened Valley View Winery in 1873 as Oregon’s first official winery. Before unforeseen changes in the industry during its infancy, Valley View closed in 1907 and wouldn’t reopen until 1972.

Prohibition forbidding the sale, transportation and possession of alcohol halted the development of wineries from the beginning of the 20’s to the 30’s in the Volstead Act. This continued until it was ratified by Roosevelt, and entrepreneurs soon traveled down from northern Oregon.

John Wood and Ron Honeyman founded Honeywood Winery in 1934, establishing Oregon’s oldest continuously operating winery. Following this, an OSU professor planted an experimental vineyard in 1968, and this would create a revolutionary wave to revive the valley.

Now home to more than 150 wineries, the valley is home to hundreds of delectable varietalsexciting wine events and beautiful tasting rooms awaiting your exploration.

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Along the enchanting woodlands and lush greenery, the Rogue Valley is flanked on all sides by grand mountain ranges. Cutting through the north end of the valley lives the Wild & Scenic Rogue River, running off into the Applegate, Illinois and Bear Creek tributaries. The rivers and wildlife create delicious, natural soil for grape growing and the cultivation of delightful wines. Varied soils include mixes of metamorphic, sedimentary and volcanic derived soils running from sandy foam to thick clay.

Unlike the average valley, the rogue sits at 2,000 feet, compared to California’s Napa Valley floor at 150 feet. This allows for ranging swings in temperature from day to night, a pivotal factor in the uniqueness of the Heart of the Rogue’s distinct wines. The warm temperatures of the day allow for sugar development through photosynthesis, while the coolness of the night allow the acidity to return from the wine. This process creates a longer ripening period for balanced wines, in both flavor and alcohol level.

From heavy bodied dry-climate wines like Sauvignon, Syrah and Tempranillo to the cooler Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay - the Rogue Valley has something for everyone!

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Looking to begin your journey through the ever-beautiful wine country but you’re not sure where to begin? Allow yourself to be guided along one of the four lovely wine trails! Take this tour on your own, or book a full or half day tour through Wine Hopper Tours for the ultimate tasting experience.

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BEAR CREEK WINE TRAIL

Running along the I‑5 corridor through Central Point, Medford and Ashland, the Bear Creek Wine Trail frames the interstate with lovely estate wineries settled in along the valley’s hills. The welcoming atmospheres and time‑proven wines of each winery provide a respite for both travelers and locals to sample unique blends among the valley’s wide range of natural attractions. Each winery offers an experience as unique as the blends of their wines.

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JACKSONVILLE WINE TRAIL

Just 15 minutes from Medford, the historic town of Jacksonville is home to a select group of winemakers that reflect some of the earliest roots of winemaking in Southern Oregon. With tasting rooms tucked into the heart of the town or only a short drive away, the wineries of the Jacksonville Wine Trail mirror the town's rich history through their aromatic, award‑winning wines in a perfect pairing experience.

Jacksonville has also been a host to the annual Oregon Wine Experience, a summer event that highlights Oregon’s finest wines.

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APPLEGATE WINE TRAIL

Moving into the mountain ranges east and south of Medford, the Applegate Wine Trail travels scenic country roads through wineries that skirt the hills around historic Jacksonville from Ruch to Grants Pass. Every winery boasts a unique microclimate and individual farming practices, each sharing a passion for crafting memorable, quality wines.

If you visit during the right time, the Applegate Wine Trail hosts Fall and Spring barrel tours to highlight their best known and new wine offerings.

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UPPER ROGUE WINE TRAIL

This beautiful trail is a warm, dry climate zone just north of Medford towards Gold Hill. The rolling countryside's breathtaking scenery provide an unparalleled setting for some of the Rogue Valley’s most expansive growing zones. Discover four family‑founded wineries, offering self‑guided tours, tasty gourmet pairings and a calendar of reasons to visit throughout the year!

SIP IN STYLE

You can also experience sipping wine in true style at any of these wineries with Rogue Picnics. Lounge, dine and sip award-winning wine in the Heart of the Rogue, with all décor and seating completely taken care of.

Rogue valley Wine Country

Established in 1991, the Rogue Valley AVA encompasses nearly 1.15 million acres in the intermountain valleys of southern Oregon. The region is split up into four main growing areas, based on the creeks flowing from the wild rogue. They include: the Bear Creek Valley, the Valley of the Rogue, the Illinois Valley, and the Applegate Valley, which includes the Applegate AVA, established in 2001. Approximately 180 vineyards are nestled along the valleys, growing over 50 different varieties and producing nearly 10000 tons of grapes. 

Within the AVA are the Rogue Valley Vintners - an association building and promoting each other to create harmony and establish Medford as a wine destination. This nonprofit organization focuses on building events, collaborating, and elevating the community and those who visit. This organization is a cornerstone, laying solid ground to the work and experiences the diverse wineries of the region create for their visitors.

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No single varietal defines the Rogue Valley. Its diversity is as endless as its possibilities, with many different experiences and events just waiting for you to attend them!

This delightful event is the perfect way to experience the Upper Rogue region on the Rogue Valley. Savor wine and appetizers on a self-guided tour of all four participating wineries. Your ticket will also include a commemorative Riedel glass to keep, and designated drivers are provided at extra cost for your ease.

May

Enjoy delicious wine and appetizers at 19 diverse wineries on this self-guided tour. Pick your starting location and spend a day exploring beautiful wine varietals with friends and family. Winemakers can also teach you about the wine making process, and the craft and care that go into each bottle.

May & November

The Southern Oregon Classic has something for everyone at there two day event! With live music from premiere bands to the double shotgun tournament, this is an event you won't want to miss! Enjoy award-winning wine and fine cuisine from 12 local chefs as you wander and enjoy each booth and their offerings. 

July

Enter into Southern Oregon's premier wine competition, featuring incredible wines and a world-class panel of judges featuring Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers and renowned wine writers. Unique, multi-course dinners are served with exceptional, vintner-curated pairings for your enjoyment. You won't want to miss this incredible competition and experience!

August

Premier red wine, white wine and champagne are served along with a beautiful farm-to-table style dinner at this beautiful charity event. Local wineries, farms and chefs are all featured throughout the event, and a silent auction is also held towards the end of the evening.

September

Spend the day sampling some of the most deliciously decadent chocolates you have ever tasted from 60 different booths! This festival features delicious chocolate and pairings, and local wines from favorite Rogue Valley vintners

September

Taste up to three different wine varietals and one food item at seven different wineries on this self-guided experience! Select your own starting location and sip at your leisure, with shuttles running between each location for your ease and experience.

September

Taste and enjoy the bounty the Heart of the Rogue has to offer with this lovely event and experience. This culinary festival showcases the talented chefs, restaurants, wineriesbreweries, artisans and farms throughout the valley. Enjoy the different booths and their offerings, or take a culinary class or lesson series to learn more about different culinary topics.

November

The bountiful rogue carries many gems just itching for you to unearth them. Delightful vineyards blanket the valley, stretching their vines in invitation to explore their diverse offerings. Explore all the Heart of the Rogue has to offer with our event calendar, and raise your glass to national wine month in style.

APRIL
14
Free Music + Wine Series at Roxy Ann Winery
Visit RoxyAnn Winery for free live music from various artists alongside award-winning wine. Fridays: 6-8 pm Sundays: 4-6 pm
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APRIL
14
The Rosa Lees at Dos Mariposas
These 4 ladies will leave you smiling all afternoon! Bluegrass, three- and four-part harmonies, originals, Americana favorites, and their love…
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APRIL
18
Kalos at Grizzly Peak Winery - a Cage Free Concert Event
Kalos! By popular demand, welcome back, Eric, Ryan and Jeremiah to bring us an inspired performance of their extraordinary signature ensemble…
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APRIL
18
Naumes Suncrest Winery Varietals
Located in a timeless farmhouse that has been in the Naumes family for generations, the Naumes Suncrest Winery features a…
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APRIL
18
Wine Tasting at DANCIN Vineyards
Taste beautiful wine at DANCIN's beautiful winery and tasting room. Set magnificently on the forested foothills of Southern Oregon overlooking…
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APRIL
27
Oregon Cheese Festival
Celebrate cheese and everything that goes with it! Sample and purchase local artisan cheese, specialty foods, beer, wine, and cider…
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APRIL
27
Watercolor and Wine @ Roxy Ann Winery
Watercolor & Wine is back again for more watercolor adventures at the beautiful RoxyAnn Winery on Saturday, April 27th from…
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MAY
3
First Friday Art Show in May with artist Sarah Red-Laird: Bee Habitat in Cyanotype
First Friday Artwalk On the first Friday of every month from 5 from 5pm - 7pm 562 A Street between…
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MAY
4
Roam the Rogue
Roam the Rogue is the perfect way experience the Upper Rogue region of our valley. Wine’d through the beautiful and…
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MAY
5
Jacksonville Spring Wine Cruise
Tickets are electronic, bring valid ID and confirmation receipt. Must be 21 years or older to participate in this event. Check in…
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MAY
18
Applegate Uncorked Barrel Tour
Spring is the perfect time to visit the 17 tasting rooms of the Applegate Valley in Rogue Valley WIne Country.…
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MAY
31
RV Lions Club Spring Wine Walk
Indulge in an evening of wine tasting at the Rogue Valley Lions Club Spring Edition Wine Walk. Sample a wide…
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JUNE
22
Southern Oregon Lavender Festival - June
2024 Southern Oregon Lavender Trail Festivals: June 21 – 23 and July 12 – 14 The Southern Oregon Lavender Trail Festivals occur…
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