Sunset Magazine Feature

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Applegate Valley: Oregon’s rugged wine region

The wilds of Southern Oregon is wine country the way it used to be.

Meticulously tended grapevines ― Chardonnay and Viognier, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon ― march up the steep, narrowing canyon above Wooldridge Creek’s wood-and-stone winery. Curiously, tangled along the vineyard’s edge are a few unkempt rows of Chardonnay. A sacrificial hedge, explains Applegate Valley winemaker Greg Paneitz. More…

Wine Tasting along the beautiful Applegate Valley Wine Trail

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For wine lovers, Southern Oregon’s burgeoning wine region is a great discovery. Jacksonville is the heart and soul of the entire region, and more specifically it is the Gateway to the Applegate Valley Wine Trail. Touring the 20 wineries in the breathtaking Applegate Valley is convenient due to their close proximity to each other and to Jacksonville. They are all within an easy and scenic 25 miles. The Applegate Valley climate is an alternative to Oregon’s cool-climate viticulture and is conducive to Chardonnay, Syrah and Bordeaux red varietals.

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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!