Wine Enthusiast magazine unveiled its annual list of top wine travel destinations in January and perhaps turned some heads with a non-traditional collection of international locations. Gone are many of the familiar destinations that typically make such top 10 lists.
Instead, the magazine / website offers its readership new places to consider. In the top 10 for 2016 is Ashland and Southern Oregon.
The magazine’s online article starts by stating many of the state’s “most exciting new offerings hail from Southern Oregon … with many of the 120 wineries clustered around the town of Ashland, famous for its annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival.”
“Crater Lake, the Oregon Caves, Rogue River rafting and miles of pristine seashore are among southwest Oregon’s plentiful year-round attractions, rounding out a visit for any wine lover,” Contributing Editor Paul Gregutt continues in the article.
Gregutt’s piece provides suggestions on where to eat and stay, things to do and, of course, where to taste wine. Among those highlighted are Dancin, RoxyAnn and Belle Fiore wineries, Crater Lake National Park, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland Springs Hotel and Oregon Caves National Monument.
The decision to include Southern Oregon in the 2016 list was made after lengthy research and discussion, Paul Gregutt said later.
“We do a Top 10 travel feature every year in the February issue,” Gregutt said in an email interview. “It is one of the most popular stories in the entire year. During the summer editorial meetings, all the contributors and editors are invited to nominate potential destinations for the coming year’s Top 10. Once all the nominations are in, we engage in some pretty interesting discussions before the finalists are decided.”
For Gregutt, Southern Oregon was a serious candidate and he worked closely with Travel Southern Oregon and other local resources to put together a case.
“I have traveled to Ashland and Southern Oregon on various assignments for the past 35 years. I am well acquainted with the region, its wines and wineries,” he said. “The magazine has long been a great supporter of the wines and wineries of the Pacific Northwest. It was certainly time to single out Southern Oregon as a great wine touring destination. And the impressive growth in both the number of wineries and quality of the wines really made a strong impression on all of us.”
As a frequent visitor, Gregutt is familiar with what Southern Oregon offers. “It’s beautiful country, with four season recreation, destination wineries, and some outstanding wines that expand the entire Oregon portfolio,” he said. “It’s a region that has really shown tremendous improvement in the past few years.”