Oregon Wine Harvest Media Tour Sept. 18-21
Starting tomorrow morning, September 18, I’ll be on the road with the Oregon Wine Board to experience and discover Oregon’s celebrated wine regions from one end of the state to the other. Five California based wine writers and I have been invited on a media tour that starts in Ashland, Oregon, and ends in Newberg, Oregon.
Ashland, Oregon is located in the south end of the Rogue Valley, just above the California border. Diverse climates within the rugged mountain valleys that have varying temperatures allow for both cooler climate varietals like Pinot Noir to grow in the west and warmer climate varietals like Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to grow in the east. Starting with a vineyard tour of Del Rio Vineyards, one of Southern Oregon’s largest vineyards, we’ll later meet up for a tasting of Southern Oregon wines and dinner with some of the regions well-known winemakers and vineyard owners.
After staying the night in Ashland, the following morning our group will be heading north to the Umpqua Valley wine region to visit the famed Southern Oregon Wine Institute (SOWI). The Umpqua Valley wine region is known for it’s stellar Tempranillos, Syrahs and Rieslings, and much like the Rogue Valley, the Umpqua has valleys with micro-climates great for growing both cool and warm weather varietals.
After a tour of SOWI and lunch with some of Umpqua’s prominent wine industry members, we’ll head further north to my hometown of Eugene, where we’ll visit and tour King Estate Winery. King Estate is located in the South Willamette Valley, where Pinot Noir hails as the ultimate varietal, as well as Pinot Gris and Chardonnay, to name just a few. King Estate is is most well-known for their world-class Pinot Gris, so our group will be joining some of Oregon’s leading Pinot Gris produces in a Pinot Gris discussion and tasting. We’ll also have dinner in the winery’s restaurant and stay the night in the Ranch House at King Estate.
The following morning, our group will head further north into the Willamette Valley, to Salem, to visit Willamette Valley Vineyards. We’ll be having an instructed tasting of Oregon Chardonnay with several famed Chardonnay producers and winemakers followed by lunch. From willamette Valley Vineyards we’ll head to the northern part of the Willamette Valley to Newberg, Oregon. Newberg is located in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, a sub-appelation of the Willamette Valley AVA. Yamhill-Carlton AVA is next door to Dundee Hill AVA, which are both home to some of the finest Pinot Noir vineyards in the world. We’ll be having dinner in Newberg with some of the pioneers of the Oregon wine industry, and turning in for the night at the Allison Inn and Spa, a truly luxurious Oregon wine country resort.
I’m honored and delighted to have been invited by the Oregon Wine Board to join fellow wine writers in what I’m sure will be an incredible learning experience about the wine industry within the state I love and call home: Oregon. I’ll be LIVE blogging along the way and sharing my experiences, tasting notes and photos in real time as I travel from the southern Rogue and Umpqua Valleys to the northern Willamette Valley, and I hope you’ll join me.
*Featured image credit: Marc Salvatore | photo of Ledger David Vineyards in Southern Oregon.