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May 22, 2013
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Best wineries in Oregon: a connoisseur's guide

About half a century ago, Richard Sommer planted the first post-Prohibition wine grapevine on an old turkey farm west of Roseburg.

The growth of the wine industry in Douglas County was slow in those early years, but in the past 20 years, there’s been a rapid increase in the number of acres planted in wine grapes. The most recent big project was the Blue Heron Vineyard of 350 acres in Garden Valley.

There are now 1,750 acres of vineyards in the county, according to the estimates of Steve Renquist of the Oregon State University Extension Service in Roseburg. Renquist said more growth is possible because a couple of people from outside the county have been looking at property for new vineyards.

The Umpqua Valley Winegrowers Association has grown to about 40 regular members, defined as vineyard and winery owners with or without tasting rooms. In addition, there are about 30 partner members — various businesses, individuals and students supporting the wine industry.

The Southern Oregon Wine Institute’s Danny Lang Teaching, Learning and Event Center at Umpqua Community College also enhances the local industry.

Information: umpquavalleywineries.org.

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Driving Map of Oregon's Best Vineyards and Wineries

ABACELA WINERY

Earl and Hilda Jones sought a location where they could craft Spanish tempranillo wine.

They needed a climate with a cool spring, dry, hot summer and cool early autumn. They found it near Winston and planted the grape in 1995.

Abacela Winery was selected as the 2013 Oregon Winery of the Year by Wine Press Northwest.

The tasting room is open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. To reach the winery, take Exit 119 off Interstate 5, to Winston. Follow Highway 99 to Highway 42 and go west at Brockway Road. The winery is a half-mile to the right through a gated driveway.

Information: 541-679-6642 or www.abacela.com.

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ANINDOR VINEYARDS

Rod and Nina Pace searched for six years for a prime spot to produce a premium varietal that would not be in competition with California vineyards. They chose a spot in the Umpqua Valley three miles south of Elkton.

The vineyard and winery, managed by the couple’s son Chris Pace, produces pinot noir, pinot gris, Riesling and Gewürztraminer. It is at 1171 Vintage Drive, Elkton.

A new 700 square foot tasting room was opened this spring. It’s different than most because it is inside a yurt.

Tasting room hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Information: 541-584-2637 or www.anindor.com.

BECKER VINEYARD

Charlie and Peggy Becker like to describe theirs as a boutique winery, given that only 650 cases of wine are produced there. The vineyard is found on a small bench above the Umpqua River. The Beckers say their wines require a minimum of enological intervention.

The winery offers pinot noir rosé, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, pinot noir, Müller Thurgau and pinot gris.

The winery, which has a deck available for picnics, is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily year-round. It is at 360 Klahowya Lane. To get there, head north on Garden Valley Road, and right onto Cleveland Rapids Road, then take a right onto Klahowya.

Information: 541-677-0288 and www.beckerwine.com.

BLUE HERON VINEYARDS

Douglas County’s newest vineyard has grown to 350 acres of planted grapes in the past year or so. The vineyard is located at 3400 Garden Valley Road, Roseburg.

Pinot noir, pinot gris, viognier, chardonnay, tempranillo and sauvignon blanc were planted and the first harvest was last fall. The grapes were sold to other wineries to produce the wine.

The operation, owned by Hal and Vicki Westbrook, does have room to plant more grapes and to build a winery in the future if desired.

BRADLEY VINEYARDS

Vines were first planted at Bradley Vineyards in 1983 and now cover 25 acres in Elkton.

All Bradley Vineyards wines are made from estate-grown grapes. The tasting room sells pinot noir, Riesling, baco noir, rosé and a port-style dessert wine.

The tasting room is next to the vineyard and there is a wedding site that overlooks the grapes on the vine.

The winery, located at 1000 Azalea Drive in Elkton, is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday from Memorial Day weekend through Thanksgiving. It is open other times by appointment.

Information: 541-584-2888 or www.bradleyvineyards.com.

BRANDBORG VINEYARD & WINERY

Terry and Sue Brandborg joined forces in 1999 to launch a search for the perfect pinot noir location. They visited Elkton in July 2001 and decided it looked and felt right. Their property is 25 miles from the ocean, at an elevation of 750 to 1,150 feet.

Brandborg’s wines — Riesling, gewürztraminer, pinot gris and pinot noir — are handcrafted with minimal intervention with the goal of preserving the character of the fruit. The owners select a variety of grapes, all from local vineyards.

The tasting room is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at 345 First St. in Elkton.

Information: 541-584-2870 or www.brandborgwine.com.

CHATEAU NONCHALANT VINEYARDS

Weldon and Vicki Manning started Chateau in 1998. The vineyard was planted on rootstocks grafted to cloned varieties to match the soil and climate.

The tasting room at 1329 Larson Road has a reception room with old-world decor to complement new-world interpretations of wine made from pinot gris, pinot noir and syrah grapes. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily April through December. On major holidays, and from January through March, call ahead.

Information: 541-679-2394 or http://chateaunonchalantvineyards.com.

DELFINO VINEYARDS

Jim and Terri Delfino came to the Umpqua Valley in 2001. Their 18 acres feature seven grape varieties under cultivation: zinfandel, tempranillo, syrah, Müller Thurgau, merlot, dolcetto and cabernet sauvignon.

The tasting room is found in the midst of the Delfinos’ 160-acre ranch and vineyard. The tasting room overlooks the Callahan Ridge mountains. Visitors may also stay in the couple’s bed and breakfast guest cottage.

Delfino Vineyards is at 3829 Colonial Road near Roseburg.

Its tasting room is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily year-round except major holidays.

Information: 541-673-7575 or www.delfinovineyards.com.

GIRARDET Wine CELLARS

Bonnie and Philippe Girardet established this European-style wine estate, one of Oregon’s oldest, in 1971. Their first vintage of commercially released wines hit the shelves in 1983.

Today, son Marc carries on the family tradition, having become a winemaker at age 24 in 1999. Located near Tenmile, Girardet features 35 acres. Its cabernet sauvignon vines are planted in a shale hillside. Its newer vines include some of Girardet’s traditional varieties as well as Italian varieties such as sangiovese and barbera.

With a picnic area overlooking the vineyards, the winery at 895 Reston Road is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Information: 541-679-7252 or www.girardetwine.com.

HENRY ESTATE WINERY

Five generations of the Henry family have farmed the Umpqua Valley, and three generations now run the estate. The family has found that the winery’s location is similar to that of the Burgundy region in France. As a result, the climate and soil type are ideal for growing varietal grapes such as pinot noir, pinot gris, chardonnay, white Riesling and Müller-Thurgau.

Located seven miles west of Sutherlin in the Umpqua area, Henry Estate Winery is at 687 Hubbard Creek Road. The tasting room is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Henry Estate holds the Henry Goes Wine Festival each year on the third Saturday in August. Live bands, wagon rides, visiting animals from Wildlife Safari, winery tours and an amateur horseshoe tournament round out the entertainment.

Information: 541-459-5120, 800-782-2686 or www.henryestate.com.

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HILLCREST VINEYARD

Dyson and Susan DeMara bought Oregon’s oldest varietal winery in 2003. HillCrest had been founded by wine pioneer Richard Sommer in 1961, with the help of Adolph Doerner, whose family first planted wine grapes in the Umpqua Valley in 1888.

The DeMaras sought to continue Sommer’s legacy while making innovations such as creating state-of-the-art fermenters.

HillCrest today produces several wines including cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, Riesling, zinfandel, viognier, syrah, chardonnay and a selection of “library wines.”

Tours and wine tasting are offered 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from March through December, or by appointment. HillCrest Vineyard is at 240 Vineyard Lane, about 10 miles west of Roseburg.

Information: 541-673-3709 and www.hillcrestvineyard.com.

MARSHANNE LANDING

Greg and Fran Cramer’s MarshAnne Landing expanded into its current Oakland site in 2006. For the previous five years, the Cramers had conducted winemaking and wine tasting in their basement cellar.

The new winery has an insulated cellar below ground, an art gallery-style tasting room with a fireplace sitting area and a deck overlooking the vineyard, which is available for picnics. The gallery displays the work of more than 20 artists.

MarshAnne Landing produces wine from a variety of grapes, including cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, syrah, viognier and grenache.

The winery is off Interstate 5 at the Metz Hill exit. Its address is 175 Hogan Road. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday from May through October and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends in March, April, November and December.

Information: 541-459-7998 or www.marshannelanding.com.

MELROSE VINEYARDS

Owners Wayne and Deedy Parker arrived at the site of an early French settlement in 1996; Wayne was on a mission to plant a sizable vineyard. The Parkers were delayed by the 1996-97 floods, but they carried on with their goal to have a small boutique winery and the first wines were in the barrels by 2000.

In addition to a gift boutique, the winery offers catering services, an event and picnic area, space for RVs and a balcony with a panoramic view of the estate grounds and vineyards. Although best known for its pinot noir and pinot gris, Melrose Vineyards produce a variety of wines from its 250 acres of grapes. Cody Parker is the winemaker.

Special events include an all-you-can-eat crab feed July 7 and a harvest festival and grape stomp Sept. 21.

The winery is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Melrose Vineyards is located at 885 Melqua Road, off Melrose Road west of Roseburg.

Information: 541-672-6080 or www.melrosevineyards.com.

MISTY OAKS VINEYARD

Steve and Christy Simmons moved from Alaska to Douglas County after friends from Anchorage found them land in Oakland to develop a vineyard. Their property is named for the mists that shroud the Tyee Range, often leaving visible only the tops of oak trees.

The couple have planted 15 acres of grapes in a vineyard ranging from 700 to 1,000 feet in elevation. They grow six varietals: Pinot noir, pinot blanc, cabernet franc, gewürztraminer, malbec and pinot gris.

Misty Oaks is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday from March through December. It’s open other times by appointment. It is at 1310 Misty Oaks Lane, Oakland.

Information: 541-459-3558 or www.mistyoaksvineyard.com.

PALOTAI VINEYARD AND WINERY

Gabor Palotai planted the small vineyard along side the Umpqua River in 2003. The Hungarian native follows sustainable/European farming techniques — 100 percent dry land farming and no use of pesticides on the four-acre vineyard. The winery produces a limited amount of Bull’s Blood, meritage, chardonnay, pinot noir, dolcetto, syrah, malbec, rose and Riesling.

The vineyard and tasting room are located at 272 Capital Lane, Roseburg, near River Forks Park. The tasting room is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Information: 541-391-4816 or palotaiwines.com.

PYRENEES VINEYARD & CELLARS

Robert Stryk is the new owner of Pyrenees Vineyard and Cellars at 15332 Old Highway 99 South, Myrtle Creek. That’s just off Interstate 5 at Exit 112.

Stryk purchased the business from the Apodaca family of Los Angeles. The Apodacas have roots in the Basque region of Spain near the Pyrenees Mountains, thus the name of the winery.

Pyrenees Vineyard & Cellars sits on 30 acres overlooking the South Umpqua River. Grapes are planted on 17 acres. The winery’s 400 square foot tasting room is a converted dairy barn.

Winemaker Thomas Shook makes about 10 wines.

The tasting room is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily year round.

Information: 541-863-7797 or www.pyreneesvineyard.com.

REUSTLE-PRAYER ROCK VINEYARD

Gloria and Stephen Reustle moved with their two children to Oregon to establish their vineyards in 2001. Winemaking began in 2004 using fruit grown from the estate’s Prayer Rock Vineyards.

Reustle-Prayer Rock offers various wines including pinot noir, syrah, Riesling, tempranillo and grüner veltliner. The business was selected 2010 Small Winery of the Year at the Riverside International Wine Competition.

Visitors to the winery can enjoy the picnic areas and views at Prayer Rock or Romancing Rock, or go inside to the Wine Cave and Tasting Room.

The winery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The address is 960 Cal Henry Road, Roseburg.

Information: 541-459-6060 or www.reustlevineyards.com.

RIVER’S EDGE WINERY

Vonnie and Mike Landt use two estate vineyards in the northernmost part of the Umpqua Valley for their wines. Elkton Vineyard and Black Oak vineyards were planted in 1972, making them among Oregon’s oldest.

The vineyards were planted by Ken and Mary Thomason, who sold them to the Landts in 1996.

River’s Edge specializes in pinot noir and also produces gewürztraminer and pinot gris.

The tasting room is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily throughout the summer. It opens from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday the rest of the year.

River’s Edge Winery is at 1395 River Drive, Elkton, three miles from the vineyards.

Information: 541-584-2357 or www.riversedgewinery.com.

SIENNA RIDGE ESTATE

This Oakland area winery joined the Umpqua Valley ranks in 2006. All the grapes at Sienna Ridge Estate come from the establishment’s 300-plus acre vineyard.

The winery offers pinot noir, pinot gris, pinot blanc, cabernet sauvignon, gewürztraminer, along with a late harvest Riesling and late harvest gewürztraminer.

Sienna Ridge Estate’s tasting room is at 1876 John Long Road, off Interstate 5’s Exit 148 or 150. It is open from noon to 6 p.m. daily.

Information: 541-849-3300 or www.siennaridgeestate.com.

SPANGLER VINEYARDS

Patrick and Loree Spangler moved to the Umpqua Valley in 2004, purchasing an established winery and vineyards.

The couple found the location allowed them to pursue their passion for Bordeaux-varietal wines and raise their daughter, Sydney, in what they describe as a warm, close-knit community.

The winery is probably best known for its cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon. It also offers a full range of wines, including petite syrah, claret, merlot, chardonnay and viognier.

Spangler Vineyards is at 491 Winery Lane, off Highway 42 in Green, a half-mile west of Interstate 5. The tasting room is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Information: 541-679-9654 or www.spanglervineyards.com.

TESOARIA VINEYARD AND WINERY

John and Joy Olson purchased an existing vineyard in April 2011 and then added to it and are now the owners and operators of a 15-acre vineyard and winery.

Their business is at 512 N. Curry Road.

The winery produces pinot noir, merlot, zinfandel, syrah and several other blends of wine.

The Tesoaria tasting room is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Information: 541-671-7956 or tesoaria.com.

TRIPLE OAK VINEYARD

Paul and Betty Tamm planted their small vineyard in 2000 and began producing wine commercially with their 2005 vintage.

The small operation produces six wines: Pinot noir, tempranillo, dry pinot noir rose, pinot gris, dry gewürztraminer and red oak, a blend of pinot noir and tempranillo.

The vineyard opened a new tasting room — Triple Oak Wine Vault — this spring. It’s located in the historic bank building next to Tolly’s restaurant. The tasting bar uses most of the old teller cages, including slate counters from the very original bank.

The tasting room is open 3 to 6 p.m. Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Information: 541-643-0993 or www.tripleoakvineyard.com.

WILD ROSE VINEYARD

Denise and Carlos Figueroa started their Winston-area vineyard in 1995. They planted vines 3 feet apart in rows and augured individual planting holes without disturbing the original soil structure. Average yields were a ton per acre.

Wild Rose grows pinot gris and merlot grapes. It also produces cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir, as well as a pinot gris called Tears of the Rose.

The winery is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. It is at 375 Porter Creek Road, about two miles up Rice Creek Road near Dillard.

Information: 541-580-5488 or wildrosevineyard.com.


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