By Bonnie Glidewell

With our unique climate and experienced winemakers, Southern Oregon is the fastest growing wine region in Oregon with more than 120 wineries offering award-winning wines. In fact, our quaint town of Ashland, along with the rest of Southern Oregon, was named a top 10 best international wine travel destination for 2016 by Wine Enthusiast magazine. In January, Wine Enthusiast magazine unveiled its annual list of top wine travel destinations and perhaps turned some heads with a non-traditional collection. Watch out Napa Valley because competition is sneaking up with better prices and more recreational options surrounding our wine region.

So, you ask, why wine? I say, wine not? In 2012, the State of Oregon declared May to be the official wine month, and I believe it is our duty to take this declaration seriously. So, grab a friend and start planning your May wine weekends in Southern Oregon.


First Weekend:

Roam the Rogue - 11 a.m.-5 p.m., May 7, with the Upper Rogue Valley Winemakers.

This bi-annual event is the perfect way to spend your Mother’s Day weekend and treat the special woman of your life. Wine’d through the beautiful and scenic Upper Rogue in this self-guided tour and savor the wines, deliciously paired appetizers at all seven participating wineries. Hire a service to take you around during this self-guided tour, and not have to worry about a thing. You'll find some suggestions on the Roam the Rogue website.

If you are in the Grants Pass area, you can take your special lady on the Grants Pass Wine Stroll - from 3-6 p.m., May 7.


Second Weekend:

Tour the Umpqua Valley on May 14 with the Umpqua Valley Winegrowers Barrel Tour. Learn about the wineries and the winemaking process from their skilled winemakers and tasting room staffs. Enjoy the budding vines, trees and flowers as you ride through the green rolling hills in the 100 Valleys of the Umpqua and 18 participating wineries. Sit back, relax and let them do all the driving. They have three tours heading in different directions and seats are selling fast. Hurry and act now before you lose your seat on the bus!




Third Weekend:

Jacksonville Wine Cruise - This event takes place from 12-6 p.m., on Sunday, May 22, as five wineries host three featured wine tastings and one pairing each. These wineries are within one mile of the gold-rush era town of Jacksonville. Just like they say, their past was paved with gold and their future flows with wine.

The Applegate Valley Wine Trail's Spring Uncorked Event is set from 11 am-5 p.m., May 22.  The Applegate Valley is full of small streams and creeks, a family friendly lake, the famous Woodrat Mountain (for paragliding and hang gliding), majestic mountains and microclimates, and, yes, you guessed it … dozens of wineries. The wine trail covers historic Jacksonville and Grants Pass along Highway 238. Full of barrel tastings and appetizer pairings, this all-day event will keep you busy as you do your best and reach all 18 of the participating wineries. I strongly suggest paying a small fee for a winery tour. Wine Hopper Tours will have you riding in style with their luxurious Mercedes Benz tour van.


Fourth Weekend:

Ledger David Cellars is hosting a Memorial Day all-weekend event beginning at 12-5 p.m. Saturday May 28, at the Le Petit Tasting Room in Central Point’s Artisan Corridor – a trifecta of the region’s most award-winning cheese, wine and chocolate. If you cannot make it Saturday, Sunday and Monday will prove to be just as good!




Fifth Weekend:

EdenVale Reserve Wine Dinner at the historic Jacksonville Inn starts at 6:30 p.m. on May 27. You can get an exclusive opportunity to taste limited release wines. Don't delay, there is limited seating to this event

Melrose Vineyard is hosting its 14th Anniversary party and Memorial Weekend Celebration from 12-5 p.m. on May 28 with music and a wood grill BBQ. This is an event you will not want to miss! 


All Month and Beyond:

You haven’t had enough, you say? Well, try out the Twilight Wine Float on the Rogue River. The month of May kicks the season off by bringing groups down our scenic river on a guided rafting trip giving them not only a calm and intimate float but a bottle of wine and a light meal. Still not floating your boat (get it, ha), then simply check out live music at one of our many vineyards on a Friday or Saturday night. What a great way to start your weekend ... or end your week.


Do you have an idea or event you want to share with Bonnie for her Out & About column? Send her your thoughts.