A Rogue Valley Wine Route – plus lunch

Oregon’s Willamette Valley may be the talk of the town, but Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley offers plenty of delicious sipping opportunities – and it’s just across the the California border. So if you’re on a road trip this summer, heading to Ashland for a bit of Shakespeare, perhaps, or historic Jacksonville for the Britt Music and Arts Festival, you can also do some wine tasting in near three dozen Southern Oregon AVA vineyards.

This trio of fun possibilities near Medford and Ashland includes a riverside winery specializing in Spanish wines, a hilltop tasting room that offers flights with a view, and a dining and tasting experience outdoors that we’re still talking about weeks later.

Vineyards of red lilies

You’ll find Tempranillo growing in Rogue Valley. San Francisco expats Earl and Hilda Jones and their Roseburg winery, Abacela, introduced the Spanish varietal to the region in 1995. Today, some four dozen Oregon wineries feature the varietal, including Red Lily Vineyards near Jacksonville.

Drive down Route 238 – a road so bucolic it looks more like a country road – and cross a small bridge, and you’ll immediately spot the winery’s namesake lily. A colorful sculpture of Bolander’s Lily by Jacksonville metal artist Cheryl D. Garcia stands on the lawn outside the Tasting Room, a sleek, modern building with a classic farmhouse profile.

Enjoy a Spanish-style <a class=wine flight at Red Lily Vineyards in Oregon’s Applegate Valley. (Jackie Burrell/Bay Area News Group)” width=”1024″ data-sizes=”auto” data-src=”https://i0.wp.com/www.mercurynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/SJM-L-ROGUEWINE-0710-04.jpg?fit=620%2C9999px&ssl=1″ data-srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/www.mercurynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/SJM-L-ROGUEWINE-0710-04.jpg?fit=620%2C9999px&ssl=1 620w,https://i0.wp.com/www.mercurynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/SJM-L-ROGUEWINE-0710-04.jpg?fit=780%2C9999px&ssl=1 780w,https://i0.wp.com/www.mercurynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/SJM-L-ROGUEWINE-0710-04.jpg?fit=810%2C9999px&ssl=1 810w,https://i0.wp.com/www.mercurynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/SJM-L-ROGUEWINE-0710-04.jpg?fit=1280%2C9999px&ssl=1 1280w,https://i0.wp.com/www.mercurynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/SJM-L-ROGUEWINE-0710-04.jpg?fit=1860%2C9999px&ssl=1 1860w”/>
Enjoy a Spanish-style wine flight at Red Lily Vineyards in Oregon’s Applegate Valley. (Jackie Burrell/Bay Area News Group)

Winemaker and co-owner Rachael Martin celebrates all things Spanish here, from her wines—tempranillo, verdejo and a tempranillo-grenache rosé—to tapas platters ($25) that you can enjoy with your wine flight inside or outside. Bring a picnic to enjoy by the water or order a platter of Rogue Creamery cheeses, salami, prosciutto, fruit, almonds and olives at the tasting bar.

Details: Open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for walk-in visits at 11777 Highway 238 in Jacksonville, Oregon; https://redlilyvineyards.com.

Quady North

Five minutes up the road, Quady North sits atop a steep hill with sweeping views of the lush valley below. Why “North”? Herb Quady’s family owns Quady Winery in California’s San Joaquin Valley and opened this northern outpost in 2006. The focus here is on Rhône varietals – or, as Quady puts it, ” Pan-Rhonish with a distinct Loire influence”. It’s quite a delight.

Quady North Winery is located just outside of Jacksonville in Oregon’s Applegate Valley. (Jackie Burrell/Bay Area News Group)

The production cellar is housed in an industrial-style building painted in vivid scarlet and black. Order a tasting flight inside, then take your wine glass outside, where barrel chairs and cheerful red umbrellas provide a comfortable spot to sip through mini-carafes of a Grenache rosé, a particularly beautiful syrah, etc. (We’ve encountered this style of tasting elsewhere, too. At Red Lily, tastes were in test tubes that we decanted into our wine glasses. That’s one thing.)

Details: Open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Monday (reservations recommended) at 9800 Highway 238 in Jacksonville; make tasting reservations at www.quadynorth.com.

Dancin vineyards

This Tuscan-style estate just outside of Jacksonville limits its tastings to two-hour chunks. We assume customers would never leave otherwise. Dancin offers the full wine country experience, with tables and tastings in seven locations – on the terrace, the square, the lawn – and delicious cuisine to accompany pinot noir, chardonnay, syrah and rosé.

Reserve a table on the terrace, where you can take in the view, watch plump koi swim lazily in the pond, and pair this rosé with, say, addictive sausage-stuffed Italian mushrooms in a chardonnay cream sauce (9 $). Other small bites ($8-$12) include pork and beef meatballs in pinot noir tomato sauce and garlic caldo flatbread as well as artisan pizzas ($15-$16) .

In Medford, Oregon, the Tuscan-style estate of Dancin Vineyards welcomes guests to dine, taste and relax.  (Jackie Burrell/Bay Area News Group)
In Medford, Oregon, the Tuscan-style estate of Dancin Vineyards welcomes guests to dine, taste and relax. (Jackie Burrell/Bay Area News Group)

The name Dancin is actually a portmanteau – the winery is owned by Dan and Cindy Marca – but the dance theme plays out on wine labels with ballet-centric names such as Pas de Chat Pinot Noir, Brisé Pinot Noir and Past Chardonnay.

Details: Open 4-7 p.m. Wednesday and 12-7 p.m. Thursday-Sunday (reservations recommended) at 4477 South Stage Road in Medford; www.dancin.com.

Comments are closed.