Southern Oregon Wine Region

Throughout the vast region of Southern Oregon wine, there is a creative spirit that spreads beyond incredible winemaking.

There is a thriving arts community that includes galleries, museums and a pair of award-winning festivals celebrating music and art: The Britt Festival in Jacksonville and The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. The area is ripe with culinary endeavors, from artisan chocolate making (and the Ashland Chocolate Festival), to chef-owned restaurants serving wine-friendly food that highlights the area’s bounty, including line-caught salmon, winter pears and award-winning cheeses. Southern Oregon is also home to North America’s deepest lake, Crater Lake, Oregon Caves National Monument, mountains to ski and hike, beautiful public courses to golf, wilderness to explore and legendary rivers to fish and raft.

Southern Oregon Wine Associations

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Featured Wineries

Oregon wine is being discovered all over the world. With wine enthusiast clamoring for more Oregon wine, Wine Hopper Tours has a tough decision on who to feature on our tour. Our goal is to show you unique characteristics of our region and feature the people and their wine in a casual learning atmosphere. For our 2016 summer season we feel these individual wineries will showcase the diversity of this region and the reasons it’s gaining respect on the world’s wine stage.


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Southern Oregon Varietals

With one of the most unique growing regions in the world Southern Oregon can boast over 170 microclimates and the opportunity to grow over 70 varietals.

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  • Petite
  • Pinot Noir
  • Pinot Meunier
  • Primativo
  • Reisling
  • Roussane
  • Syrah
  • Tempranillo
  • Tinta Rouriz
  • Tinta Amarillo
  • Verdejho
  • Vermentino
  • Viognier
  • Zinfandel


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Rogue Valley & Applegate Valley AVA’s

The great diversity of climate, topography, and soils in the Rogue River Valley fosters the cultivation of both warm and cool climate grape varieties, thereby establishing the potential for a full-spectrum tour of many wine varieties.

In 1991, the Rogue Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) was federally approved as an independent area within the larger Southern Oregon AVA. However, in 2000, the area was divided further, designating a regional sub-AVA of the Applegate Valley. The entire region, nearly 1.5 million acres located entirely within Jackson and Josephine counties, is the southernmost of Oregon’s 16 federally approved AVAs.

On the whole, the area encompasses the drainage basin of the Rogue River and its tributaries, including the Illinois River, the Applegate River, and Bear Creek. Most wineries in the region are found in the valleys formed by one of these tributaries, rather than the Rogue River itself. And while each river valley is defined by its own unique microclimate and grape varieties, overall, this region is the warmest and driest of Oregon’s wine-growing regions.Rogue Valley Wineries

The most recent (2009) USDA Oregon Vineyard and Winery Report shows 1,984 acres planted for the production of wine grapes in the whole Rogue Valley AVA. Of the reds, the variety with the largest total acreage planted is the Pinot Noir, followed by Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Of the whites, the AVA designates a significant acreage to Pinot Gris as well as Chardonnay, White Reisling, and Gewürztraminer.

In the Applegate Valley, altitudes range from 1,000 to 1,500 feet above sea level, making it warmer and drier than the Illinois Valley to the west, but less so than the Bear Creek Valley to the east. The soils are typically granite in origin, and most of the area’s vineyards are planted on stream terraces or alluvial fans, providing deep, well-drained ground ideal for the production of high-quality wine grapes. Varieties that thrive here include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel, with Cabernet and Merlot being the dominant varietals.

Bear Creek is the most populated of the Rogue River tributaries, as it flows through the cities of Medford and Ashland. Here, the valley floor is 2,000 feet above sea level with a warm, dry climate that has been compared to that of the Bordeaux. This area is well suited for the cultivation of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, and Syrah.

The westernmost tributary of the Rogue River is the Illinois River, flowing generally northwest along the west side of the Klamath Mountains and eventually joining the Rogue River again approximately 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean. This region, marked by high elevation and significantly influenced by the cooler nearby marine climates, is well suited for Burgandy varietals, similar to those grown in the Willamette Valley AVA. These microclimate varietals include Pinot Noir, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, early Muscat, and Gamay Noir.

Come experience and learn more about Southern Oregon wine with Wine Hopper Tours.