The Southern Region
The rugged southern mountain valley stretches one hundred and twenty-five miles from south of Eugene to the California border, and sixty miles at its widest between the Cascade Mountain Range to the east and the Coast Range to the west. The region encompasses Umpqua Valley, Rogue Valley, Illinois Valley and Applegate Valley.
Known for its thunderous waterfalls, covered bridges, diverse wildlife and awesome overlooks, this territory is home to awe-inspiring volcanic formations, including the area’s natural seven thousand year old gem Crater Lake, North America’s deepest lake. Six-mile wide cobalt blue caldera that drops, two thousand feet deep and is encircled by over twenty-miles of rugged cliffs spattered with hemlock, fir, and pine, Crater Lake National Park is a hotspot with hikers and biker. Its home to world-class kayaking, river rafting, majestic mountains that fill the souls of outdoor athlete and pleases the palate of wilderness winos with their ripe, rich grapes growing in the lush green valleys.
Summer days in the state’s southern are notably warmer than up north in the Willamette Valley, resulting in rich, ripe dark fruit with higher sugar levels and intense flavors. Big, bold beefy reds, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc do well here. However, there are cooler areas of this region in the higher sections near Elkton. Here, warm, bright, sunny days are followed by gentle cool night, created by the coastal breezes and moderate rain during the growing season. This not only allows longer hang time, but it helps grape to retain their bright acidity to produce well-balanced layered Pinot Noir, crisp Riesling and silky Gewurztraminer.
While, the central “garden” area, northwest of Roseburg, in Umpqua Valley, getsa grab-bag of climates, resulting in cool and warm weather grapes including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. Whereas in the hot lush, steep hillsides to the south of Roseburg, where oak-savannahs fill the plains, there is minimal rainfall but a maximum production of, deep, dark red wines. Look for Syrah with splash of pepper and spice, Tempranillo, Zinfandel and Baco Noir. In white world, floral Viognier is a stand out.
Halfway between Willamette Valley and Napa Valley, in the Rogue Valley wine country, which is south of Umpqua, the wines display deep flavors and bright fruit from a long growing season. There over twenty wineries in the Rogue wine region, many, pouring Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc and Syrah.
At the bottom of the southern region, fifty miles from the California border to the Rogue River, Applegate Valley, named for early pioneers Jesse and Lindsay Applegate, who opened the road to Southern Oregon in 1846 and amonst the state’s newest appellations. Wineries along their wine trail can be found between Jacksonville and Grants Pass, along highway 238. Protected from harsh coastal influences, the region’s warm and dry growing season and well-draining granite soils produce Chardonnay, Syrah and Bordeaux red varietals.
Between Rogue and Applegate Valleys is the Illinois Valley, the most western south Oregon wine sub-area that parallels the Illinois River. Adjacent to the Siskiyous forested mountains to the south and Kalmiopsis Wilderness to the west, this relatively high-altitude growing area retains a cool climate and a long growing season. Expect to find Burgudian varieties like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and Alsatian sippers such as Riesling and Gewurztraminer.
The Applegate Trail passed through this area in 1846 as a way for pioneers to reach the western valleys of the Oregon Territory. There are a pristine covered bridges, historic homes, museums, and quaint shops and endless charming cafés and restaurants serving Oregon wine. The southern region is home to the grandmother of wine producing in the Pacific Northwest, the Umpqua Valley, named for the legendary river that runs nearby, which has continually produced wine longer than any other wine region in the area. Although the Umpqua Valley appellation became official in 1984, winemaking dates back to the 1880s when German immigrant planted the first vineyards in the Valley.
Southern Oregon is a wilderness playground teeming with outdoor activities. There are endless hiking options through ribbons of scenic winding trails across the countryside and bald eagles, osprey and blue herons soaring overhead.
Hikers flock to the In the Rogue Valley to explore Upper and Lower Table Rocks, mammoth sandstone-basaltic mesas with flat lava caps remnants of the volcanic era, located about ten miles northeast of Medford. The forested switchback trails lead to the monolith’s top, which has awesome views of the verdant valley, Rogue River and often snow-covered Siskiyou Mountains. Hoofing past wildflowers, scurrying animals and flapping bird swooshing under the high canopies over the Rogue River Trail is a fantastic way experience the Rogue River Canyon. There’s a great eighteen-mile shoreline hike along the crystal blue Applegate Lake in the Rogue River National Forest, in Applegate Valley, which reaches the California border.
Crater Lake National Park not only has the majestic Crater Lake hovering at nearly two thousand feet, but it quenches outdoor enthusiasts thirst for fun with year-round activities from hiking, biking, camping and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter months. While halfway between Medford and Klamath Falls, Mountain Lakes Wilderness boasts a trail skirting the crater formed by the collapse of a twelve-thousand foot volcano eons ago, which can be via three access trails. The park has numerous sparkly lakes for swimming, kayaking, SUP and waterskiing.
Endorphin seeking whitewater kayaking and rafting fans will find their fix on the class II-IV rapids on the Rogue and Umpqua rivers. The headwaters of the Rogue start on the western slopes of Mt. Mazama, in Crater Lake National Park. They rock and roll over two hundred miles through steep canyon walls, ancient rock formations and old growth forests. Each section of Rouge river - Upper, Middle and Lower – has its own personalities, challenges and belly-laughing fun. The river is also a favorite of anglers casting for Chinook and king salmon, steelhead.
The Umpqua River headwaters originate at Diamond Lake, sitting at five thousand feet elevation along the craggy peaks of Mt. Bailey and Mt. Thielsen in the Cascade Range. Smashing and splashing over rascally rocks and through Umpqua National Park, which has the world’s largest Old Growth Douglas Fir Forest, it ultimately dumps into the Pacific Ocean. Diamond Lake is a popular destination for cycling and horseback riding in the warm weather and cross-country skiing and snowmobiling when the white fluffy stuff falls. The drive – or cycling – along Highway 138 from Roseburg to Diamond Lake, called “The Highway of Waterfalls,” designated a National Scenic Byway is amongst the most breathtaking in the Pacific Northwest. Zipping past endless waterfall, dense forest and lakes, such as Diamond Lake
The Upper Klamath River is a hot spot for full-day whitewater rafting trips splashing through more than thirty class III through IV rapids, past dense wilderness and high-desert caramel canyons. While those seeking less thrill and spills prefer to the mellow Lower Klamath River.
The area’s parks and camping spots abound, as do the might redwood trees, mountains and waterways.
Wine to Me!
Most of wine tasting rooms open to the public and pour complementary samples or request a small fee and often the winemaker is on hand to tell you about the wines. Many of those in Umpqua are clustered in the Roseburg area and have picnic areas, so you may want to schedule a stop at Kruse Farm Market to scoop up snacks and picnic fare. Beware! They also have sinfully delicious homemade pies like Dutch-Peach, Marionberry and Black Bottom Banana, made from chocolate, vanilla cream, and of course banana might make you drool just reading about it.
To sip classic wines made with old world know how and new world edge in Umpqua Valley, check out Girardet Vineyard, established in 1971 by Philippe & Bonnie Girardet. Their son Mark is the winemaker, who learned his craft from good ol’ Dad and they are wracking up the wine tasting competition hardware. Their cedar-sided winery tasting room and picnic area are located along the path of the historic Coos Bay Wagon Road, which was first land route to connect the Umpqua Valley to Coos Bay that dates to 1872. They have a terrific picnic and BBQ area overlooking their vibrant vineyards and lead guided cellar tours upon request. While big, bold red wine lovers shouldn’t miss Spangler Vineyards, also in Roseburg. They should be called “Big Red R’ Us!” crafting big, bold, beefy Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petite Syrah, Syrah and Malbec.
There are scores of chef-owned restaurants cooking culinary delights with local produce and freshly caught salmon. Add a local Pinot Noir and view of the Rogue River and you have a pretty special and memorable moment.
Smack in the middle of pear country, its home to Harry & David, amongst the largest gourmet mail-order food and gift companies in the world. They offer tours of the factory in Medford, showcasing how their renowned truffles are made. If you’re good girl or boy, you’ll even get a free sample.
For another sweet treat, stop in Lillie Belle Farms for their decadent organic handmade truffles, ganache and fruit-filled bon bons, sourced from their farm’s two acres of organic strawberries, raspberries and marionberries. With a top reputation for their chocolate art and sculptures that have been featured in The New York Times, The Today Show and even on Oprah!
While, cheese lovers will lose their minds at the Rogue Creamery in Medford, famous for their award-winning blue cheese. Their store is open daily and their cheeses are sold at local farmers markets throughout the week. Conveniently located between Lillie Belle and Rogue Creamery is Daisy Creek Vineyards, where you can pair your chocolate and cheese favorites with their Triple Play, a clean, crisp triple-blend of forty-eight percent Roussanne, thirty-seven percent Marsanne, and fifteen percent Viognier with ripe stone fruit flavors that won Best of Show at the 2010 World Wine Show and their Sangiovese Red Rose that took home a Silver medal. While Edenvale Winery and Orchards is the place to kick back with a handcrafted wine in their formal gardens surrounding the Voorhies Mansion or sample the lot in their historic Carriage House Tasting Room. Then set aside time to check out the “Rockin at the Ridge” summer concert series at Agate Ridge Vineyard in Eagle Point.
Girardet Wine Cellars 895 Reston Rd, Roseburg OR 541-679-7252 * www.girardetwine.com Open daily. Established in 1971 Philippe & Bonnie Girardet, this is one of Oregon's oldest wine estates. Their son, Marc is the winemaker hand crafting award-winning Pinot Noir, Baco Noir and Zinfadel with new world finesse and old world know-how. They are pet friendly and have a terrific picnic and BBQ area that overlooks the vibrant vineyards.
Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards 96-Cal Henry, Roseburg, OR * 541-459-6060 * www.reustlevineyards.com. Open Tues-Sat. A family owned winery with public and sit down wine-food tastings in their wine cave. Named “small vineyard of the year,” at the Riverside International Wine Competition. They have a lovely outdoor patio.
Delfino Vineyards B &B 3829 Colonial Road, Roseburg OR * 541-673 -7575 * www.delfinovineyards.com Open daily May-Nov. Their quaint tasting room that overlooks the rocky hillside vineyards, etched mountains and glistening lake below.
Spangler Vineyards 491 Winery Lane Roseburg OR 97471 * 541-679-9654 * www.spanglervineyards.com. Open daily. Crafting big, bold, beefy Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Malbec, this is a must go for full-bodied red wine lovers.
Agate Ridge Vineyard 1098 Nick Young Road, Eagle Point OR * 541-830-3050 * www.agateridgevineyard.com Open Tues-Sun. Setup in the original historic farmhouse, their enchanting tasting room overlooks their sprawling estate vineyards. In the summer, you can kick up your feet and pour out some of their Marsane, Granche or Cabernet Sauvignon at the “Rockin at the Ridge” summer concert series held June through October.
Crater Lake Cellars 21882 Hwy 62, Shady Cove OR * 541-878-4200 * www.craterlakecellars.com Open dail. Located in downtown Shady Cove, they call themselves the “little winery on your way to the Great Oregon Outdoors.” It can also make a wonderful post hike stop to sip some of the wine from the Upper Rogue area.
Daisy Creek Vineyards Tasting room & Madrone Mountain Vineyards 245A North Front Street Central Point OR *541-664-1707 * www.daisycreekwine.com Open daily. Located the Rogue Creamery and Lillie Belle Chocolate Factory and pouring award-winning Viogner, Roussane blends, Sangiovese rose, Syrah and Malbec.
EdenVale Winery & Rogue Valley Wine Center 2310 Voorhies Road, Medford OR * 541- 512-2955 *866-512-2955 * www.edenvalleyorchards.com Open daily. Pouring EdenVale and an assortment of local boutique wines, served alongside cheese and chocolate. Slipping into the formal garden surrounds Voorhies Mansion with a glass of wine is an ideal way to wrap up the day.
Paschal Winery & Vineyard J1122 Suncrest Road, Talent OR 97540 * 800-446-6050 * www.paschalwinery.com Known for their crisp whites and rambunctious reds, their tasting room is surrounded by pear orchards and vineyards. They serve wine by the glass and fruit & cheese plates that can be savored on their outdoor patio, which sports a brilliant panoramic view of the surrounding Cascade foothills.
Applegate Valley 1665 Eastside Road Jacksonville OR * 541-899-6876 * www.cowhornwine.com Open April-Sep, Fri-Mon and by appointment. A Demeter Certified Biodynamic © farm producing Rhone varietals, including Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne and Roussane.
Troon Vineyard 1475 Kubli Road, Grants Pass OR *541-846-9900 * www.troonvineyard.com Open daily (only on weekends in January). Set upon 98 acres with an awesome view, this boutique winery, one of the oldest vineyards in Southern Oregon, pours prized Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Viognier and Vermentino.
Valley View Winery 1000 Upper Applegate Road, Jacksonville OR 541-899-8468 * 800- 781-9463 * www.valleyviewwinery.com Crafting award-winning Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier and Syrah, their warm, welcoming tasting room has a casually elegant picnic-friendly Wine Pavilion overlooking the vineyards.
The Dirty Facts!
Oregon Wine Country Tours 866-WINEVAN * www.oregonwinecountrytours.com Leading wine tours of the Umpqa Valley, includes lunch at a winery.
Southern Oregon Wine Tours Ashland, OR * 541-482-9852
www.southernoregonwinetours.com providing shuttle buses through the Rogue and Applegate appellations stopping at an assortment of local wineries. They also offer custom tours.
Hiking, Mt. Biking & Horseback Riding Tours
Main Street Adventure Tours Ashland, OR * 541-482-9852 Offering guided hiking, Mt. biking and horseback riding tours across southern Oregon, as well as bike rentals and shuttle service.
Rogue Wilderness Adventures Merlin, OR 800-336-1647 * 541-479-9554 * www.wildrogue.com Leading whitewater rafting trips, scenic hiking trips along Rogue River National Recreational Trail and through Rogue River Canyon – and a combo raft and hiking trips.
Ferron’s Fun Trips 800-404-2201 * www.roguefuntrips.com Offering full and half-day guided rafting trips on the Rogue River in the Hog Creek to Grave Creek area, north of Grants Pass.
Summer Jo’s 541-576-6882 * www.summerjos.com
An organic farm and restaurant serving local fare and regional wine.
Madrone Kitchen & Wine Tavern 21900 Highway 62, Shady Cove, OR
541-878-2076 * www.madronekitchen.com Serving local meats, produce and wine in a cozy atmosphere.
Steamboat Inn 42705 N. Umpqua Hwy, Idleyld Park, OR * 800-840-8825 * www.thesteamboatinn.com Dining along the North Umpqua River.
The Winchester Restaurant & Wine Bar 35 South Second Street, Ashland, OR * 541-488-1113 * www.winchesterinn.com
Rogue Creamery 311 N Front St Central Point, OR * 541-664-1537 * 866-396-4704 www.roguecreamery.com Open daily. Making award-winning handmade cheese following sustainable practices. Cheese sold at shop and local farmer’s markets.
Lillie Belle Farms Hand Made Chocolates 211 North Front Street, Central Point, OR * 541-664-2815 Open daily. Producing nationally applauded organic handmade chocolates.
Harry & David’s Country Village, 1314 Center Drive, Medford, OR * 541-864-2278 * www.harryanddavid.com. Open daily. Store and guided factory tours available. Amongst the world’s largest gourmet fruit and food mail order and gift companies.
Rising Sun Farm 5126 South Pacific Highway, Phoenix, Oregon 541-535-8331 *www.risingsunfarms.com Open daily. Selling Cheese Tortas, chocolates, jams, salsas, pestos and cheeses from their farm that also has a tasting room.
Rogue Valley Farmer's Market Ashland Armory E Main Street, Ashland, OR * March 17 - November 24th; Tuesdays 8:30am to 1:30pm
Rogue Valley Farmer's Market Medford Armory 1701 S Pacific Hwy, Medford, OR *March 19 - November 19th; Thursdays 8:30am-1:30pm
Grants Pass Growers Market 4th ST & F ST (Behind the Post Office) Grants Pass, OR * March – November; 9:00am to 1:00pm
Saturday Ashland Market Lithia Way & First Street Ashland (downtown, across the street from the Post Office) * May 16 - October 31st * Saturdays 9:00am - 1:00pm
Delfino Vineyards B &B 3829 Colonial Road, Roseburg OR * 541-673 -7575 www.delfinovineyards.com A five star B&B on the grounds of the winery, in the heart of the Umpqua Valley.
Steamboat Inn 42705 N. Umpqua Hwy, Idleyld Park, OR * 800-840-8825 * www.thesteamboatinn.com
Morrison's Rogue River Lodge 8500 Galice Road Merlin, OR * 800-826-1963 www.morrisonslodge.com Open seasonally.
The Winchester Boutique Inn 35 South Second Street, Ashland, OR * 541-488-1113 * www.winchesterinn.com
Lonesome Duck Ranch and Resort 32955 Hwy 97 N, Chiloquin, OR * 800-367-2540 www.lonesomeduck.com A working ranch with log guest homes on two and half miles of private riverfront on the Williamson River. Thirty minutes from Crater Lake National Park.
Willow Springs Guest Ranch 34064 Clover Flat Road Lakeview, OR * 541-947-5499 * www.willspringsguestranch.com A working cattle ranch, offering ranch activities and trails rides. Duplex rustic cabins with private bath, fireplace and kickin’ views. Family style suppers served around the campfire.