Fast Wine Trail Facts

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  • The Applegate Valley AVA is a sub-appellation of the Rogue Valley AVA, which is contained within the larger Southern Oregon AVA.
  • The Rogue Valley AVA was established in 1991, and the Applegate Valley AVA was separated out in 2001.
  • Covering a total area of roughly 275,000 acres, The Applegate Valley AVA has just over 600 acres planted to wine grapes.
  • There are 18 member wineries in the Applegate Valley Wine Trail.
  • Predominant varietals include those from Rhone, Bordeaux, and Burgundy.
  • The valley itself stretches for approximately 50 miles from the California border to the Rogue River west of Grants Pass.
  • Average elevation in the AVA is 1330 feet above sea level.
  • A moderate climate sees just about 25 inches of rainfall each year, and features warm days and cool nights.
  • The Applegate Valley is warmer and drier than the Illinois Valley to the west, but less so than the Bear Creek Valley to the east.
  • Though soils are largely granitic, a diverse geology means widely varying soil types. This, combined with a large number of micro-climates, means a wide range of varietals thrive in the AVA.
  • Wine grapes were first planted in the region by Peter Britt in the mid-1800s.
  • Nearby communities include Ashland, Medford, Jacksonville, and Grants Pass.
  • Two major performing arts festivals attract international visitors to the area: The Britt Festival in historic Jacksonville and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland.
  • Small organic farms growing a variety of fruits and vegetables, lavender purveyors, and boutique food producers contribute to a culture of locally-made products.
  • The region touts outstanding outdoor activities, including river rafting, hiking, and fishing. The Wild Rogue Wilderness and Rogue River attract tens of thousands of visitors each year to explore the scenic region and raft the waters.

40 Years of Winegrowing

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This Spring Valley View Winery is celebrating our 40th growing season. I was only 4 at the time

but I do remember people stopping in asking what were doing and commented that it looked like

we were growing wooden stakes and not grapes! Many people thought we were crazy even

though Peter Britt had grown some of the same varieties 80 years earlies in Jacksonville. We

planted 12 acres to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gamay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Two years

later we added 14 acres to Merlot, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. It is amazing to see

all the growth that has taken take place over the years. Last spring we added 11 acres bringing

total up to 35. Most of the new acres are Pinot Noir, the variety that we first

produced in 1977. The variety that we have the most planted is Tempranillo a variety that we

only started producing in 2004 and has become one of our most poplular wines that we make.

Un’Wined and Kickoff Oregon Wine Month

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As reported in January, Governor Kitzhaber signed a proclamation designating May as Oregon Wine Month. To kick off the month’s festivities, the Oregon Wine Board will be hosting a grand tasting, Unwine’d: Celebrate Oregon Wine, on April 29th from 3-6 pm at the Left Bank Annex in Portland.

The event will feature:

  • 100 Oregon wineries (14 from Southern Oregon)
  • Superior Cellar restaurants
  • Wine education stations
  • Souvenir wine glass
  • Wine store – taste what you like and easily purchase it!
Tickets are $50 and available now.

Bud Break, An Annual Milestone

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There are significant milestones that define one’s life and our evolutionary path toward the future. These range from our first steps as an infant to welcoming children into the world.

For a grower of winegrapes, peak moments begin with bud break.

Each year, in late April, or in the case of a La Nina weather pattern, early May, the average daily temperature reaches 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the Applegate Valley, which signals a wake up call from the vine’s winter dormancy.

Bud break begins when the tiny buds on the vine start to swell then burst open projecting a green, leafy shoot that will soon set, flower and produce a grape cluster that will be harvested the following fall.

Not all is smooth sailing once bud break has occurred; there is a chance of frost damage until the last full moon of the month, typically around Memorial Day Weekend. These fragile buds could be killed, resulting in reduction or loss of crop.

But, as we near the start of the growing cycle, growers are optimistic of the season to come, the wines that will be made from the fruit, and sharing those wines with enthusiasts.

Let’s toast to the annual bud break and wish the growers a happy, healthy growing season. Cheers!

Down in the Valley

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From the ski slopes of Mount Ashland drive along the Applegate River loaded with steelhead and salmon into the beautiful, often sunny, Applegate Valley. You will find it a great place for visiting and for cultivating grapes to produce fine wines. You may wish to join Omar Khayyám’s vision

a jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and thou in the wilderness,

Swing by beautiful Applegate Lake, where trails take you back to forests, mountains and old gold mines.

While enjoying the great outdoors find time to visit our Applegate wineries where your tour guide may also be knowledgeable in computer software, education, hiking trails, and manufacturing, and may also happen to be the winemaker.


Stay tuned for a brief review of the valley’s early wine business.

The Academy

– Newsflash –

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The Rogue Valley Winegrowers Association (RVWA) will present an “Operating a Successful Tasting Room” seminar on Tues., March 6, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at the OSU/Jackson County Extension Service Auditorium, 569 Hanley Rd., in Central Point. The session is designed for people who own or work in a tasting room and those thinking about starting or re-designing one.
Speaker Craig Root of St. Helena, Calif., has more than 30 years of experience working with wine tasting rooms, first as a successful manager then for the past 17 years as a consultant. In his consulting practice, Root has helped to create 60+ new tasting rooms and 100 wine clubs throughout North America. Also, he has analyzed, advised and improved dozens of current operations.
Root will cover these topics and more:
• Wine tasting room design, effective management and operation
• The links between customer service and profitable sales
• Secrets of wine club success
• Acquisition, display and sales of non-wine items
• Avoiding theft and dealing with difficult situations in the tasting room

Seating is limited to 50 and registration deadline is February 15. Cost for the seminar, which includes lunch, is $40 for current RVWA members and $50 for non-members. For more information or to register, contact Marilyn Hawkins at (541) 552-9922 or

Top 100?

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While our blog is normally about wines and wine news of the Applegate, this one is about news that doesn’t include the Applegate – sort of Applegate news by omission.

Wine Enthusiast magazine just released their “Top 100” wines list for 2011.  Now admittedly, this is a worldwide list so the competition is pretty stiff.  But personally I think the NW might have been a little under-represented.  The list had 14 wines from Washington (9) and Oregon (4).  Those were:

#15 – Domaine Serene 2007 Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir – 95 points, $58
#16 – Buty 2007 Columbia Rediviva Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah – 96 points, $48
#17 – Cayuse 2007 Cailloux Vineyard Syrah – 99 points, $65
#21 – Trisaetum 2010 Estates Reserve Riesling – 95 points, $32
#26 – Rasa Vineyards 2008 DuBrul Vineyard Creative Impulse –97 points, $95
#30 – Charles Smith 2007 Royal City Stoneridge Vineyard Syrah – 99 points, $140
#34 – Mark Ryan 2008 Dead Horse – 95 points, $45
#38 – Januik 2007 Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – 95 points, $50
#41 – Betz Family 2008 Père de Famille Cabernet Sauvignon – 95 points, $60
#45 – Adelsheim 2009 Nicholas Vineyard Pinot Noir – 95 points, $90
#49 – L’Ecole No. 41 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon – 94 points, $37
#53 – Leonetti Cellar 2008 Reserve – 96 points, $135
#56 – Gramercy Cellars 2009 The Third Man Red – 94 points, $45
#76 – Eyrie 2007 Reserve Pinot Noir – 94 points, $62

What do you think?

— Newsflash —

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Six Southern Oregon Winery Association members from the Applegate, along with 19 additional wineries from Southern Oregon will be heading north to expose Portlanders to Oregon’s warm climate wines.

These wineries will conduct a Public Tasting on Sunday, November 13 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Portland Art Museum located at 1219 SW Park Avenue.  Tickets are $39. For more information or to order tickets, call (800) 781-9463 or visit the website

There will be a FREE “trade only” tasting the following day, Monday, November 14th from 1 to 5 p.m. at Davis Street Tavern, located at 500 NW Davis Street. The trade tasting is free to media members, restaurant buyers, wine distributors and other members of the wine industry. An RSVP is required to attend.  For more information, and to RSVP contact or call (541) 282-3041.

I love Fall, am I sick or what!

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  In the Applegate we have a true Fall.  The colors are outstanding, the weather is crisp and it starts to rain.  Never mind that we may never get the vines netted before the birds arrive, don’t worry about low sugars or getting the tractor stuck in a soggy vine row.  Its harvest time and harvest we shall , just like all the years in the past.  We’re grape growers, farmers, the biggest gamblers in the country.  We just pull on the rubber boots and get the job done.