Know that all Oregon wineries require mask wearing and keeping 6 feet of distance from others outside your party at all times. Book a reservation in advance for the best experience, and remember to be patient and kind and to show gratuity for excellent service. Salud!
In the Roseburg area, several wineries boast tasting rooms ready for visitors with heated, covered patios. They are all stellar but uncrowded, which means more peace of mind for you and your party. Four wineries are minutes from each other in the Umpqua area, just west of I-5. Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards, voted Northwest Winery of the Year by Wine Press Northwest in 2017, welcomes parties of four or less (no children or pets at this time) to enjoy their tents with fire pits and heaters in their courtyard. It’s an idyllic setting, filled with French lavender and walking paths that wind through gardens, fruit trees, a pond and the vineyards. Nearby at JosephJane Winery, pair a wood-fired pizza (weekends only) with a unique Umpqua Valley sparkling wine (Brut-style cabernet franc) or Lavender Essence – a pinot gris and cabernet sauvignon blend infused with local lavender from Growing Miracles Lavender Garden, just down the road (open by appointment only). Cooper Ridge Vineyard welcomes parties of six or less to their tasting room perched on the ridge above the North Umpqua River, with views of the mountain ranges and sunsets. Sample their seven varietals from the multitiered patio on their 25-acre estate. At Melrose Vineyards, enjoy the covered, heated patio with fire pit on the vineyard next to the converted 100-year-old barn tasting room. Pair house-smoked salmon or a plate of empanadas with lesser-known blends like baco noir (a dark, smoky red) or pinotage (a bold, earthy red). About 20 minutes south, just off Highway 99 West, Spangler Vineyards is a quaint road-trip retreat with lots of space on the covered deck and heaters to keep warm. They’re known for their reserve-quality Bordeaux varietals, Rhone favorites and a lovely unoaked chardonnay.
Continue down I-5 toward Medford and take a short detour north on Highway 234 at Gold Hill to Kriselle Cellars. If it’s a weekend, order one of their woodfire pizzas; otherwise their plates of local cheeses and charcuterie make for a perfect sipping accompaniment. Pick back up with your tour southward to Jacksonville, where three must-visit Rogue Valley tasting rooms await. DANCIN Vineyards is known for its Italian piazza-style vibe as well as their award-winning wines and full food service. The heated, covered patio at Rellik Winery will keep you cozy while you sip and nosh from a full menu of pizzas, salads and charcuterie boards. You can even greet the family of friendly alpacas that roam around the 200-plus orchard trees, and book an overnight at the winery’s alpaca suite. Just next door is Hummingbird Estate, a grand experience with its elegant walled gardens, large patios and wide lawns surrounding the mansion-like tasting room. All grapes are handpicked from the Rogue and Applegate valley vineyards; try the grenache, malbec or estate sparkling chardonnay, and consider booking a stay in one of the luxurious on-site suites. If you’re up for a side trip 30 minutes west, Wooldridge Creek Winery is an unparalleled experience, with electric and propane heaters and beautiful wind breaks hand-painted by their cellar master. They produce their own delicious cheese and charcuterie on site. If you’d rather fly in for your Southern Oregon adventure, the Rogue Valley International Airport in Medford makes it convenient.
You don’t have to go far for a world-class wine experience in the Ashland area. Just off I-5, find comfy seating around cozy fire pits with panoramic views of the Siskiyou Mountains at Weisinger Family Winery. Try the estate tempranillo or sauvignon blanc, both of which won double-gold awards at the 2019 Oregon Wine Experience. Extend your visit with a stay at their vineyard cottage. A few miles east, Irvine & Roberts Vineyards offers similar sweeping views with plenty of tables, blankets, heaters and fire pits for your pod to relax while staying warm and dry. Get to know the winemakers, who’ve farmed here since 1997 with sustainable farming practices – the wines are certified LIVE and salmon-safe. Nearby Belle Fiore Winery is another delightful spot to sip pinot around a warm fire.
For more trip ideas, visit RogueValleyWineCountry.com.