2005 federal authorization of the Southern Oregon AVA
(American Viticultural Area) was distinct from other recently designated
AVAs in that it
defined a kind of macro appellation that completely encompasses
previously authorized appellations in Southern Oregon... the
and Red Hill Douglas County
AVAs, the Rogue Valley AVA
and the Applegate Valley AVA (2001), all
of which now lie within the boundaries of the newer two-million-acre
Southern Oregon AVA in the southwest portion of Oregon State. (Elkton
Oregon AVA - completely within the Umpqua Valley AVA - was added
to the mix in 2013.) A vast assortment of micro climates can be
found throughout these regions.
If you are new to the subject of Southern Oregon wine country, be sure
to leave behind any preconceived general notions you may have of
Oregon's climate or the grape varietals grown there. When the
Southern Oregon AVA was proposed, it was the differentiation of its
climate (as compared with the cool Willamette Valley to the north) that
built the case for federal authorization. The Mediterranean-like
climes of Southern Oregon are generally much warmer than Oregon's
Willamette Valley AVA.
You don't have to
be a geologist to notice the significant change of the world outside
your vehicle's window as you leave Eugene, Oregon and head south.
The countryside begins to roll gently, as the flatland of the
3.3-million-acrea Willamette Valley AVA ends and the Southern Oregon
appellation begins. State highways leave Interstate 5 and meander
west along valley floors and hillsides, next to rivers and creeks, all
combining to support a fascinating assortment of micro climates
throughout Southern Oregon.
Generally hot, dry summers and cool evenings bring ideal conditions for
numerous grape varietals
including Cabernet sauvignon, Cabernet franc, Tempranillo, Merlot,
Malbec, Dolcetto, Grenache, Petit verdot, Zinfandel and Syrah in the
warmer, more arid regions, and Pinot noir, Pinot gris, Riesling,
Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer
and others in the cooler areas. Southern Oregon's warm-weather
varietals are often grown with blending in mind, and more recently
planted grapes such as Roussanne and Marsanne are making an already
colorful palate even more interesting.
The overarching Southern Oregon appellation includes the cities of
Sutherlin, Roseburg, Jacksonville, Grants Pass, Medford, and Ashland,
all of which evoke thoughts of vacations and lots of outdoor experiences
in the hearts of those who have visited this beautiful region.
Travelers will find a wide choice of amenities... historic
inns and lodges, riverside hotels and RV parks, and plenty of B&Bs; you
can also find long-established local diners as well as gourmet and
bistro dining in small, historic towns like Jacksonville and Oakland.
You may want to use
these cities as your home base during your wine-country venturing.
More than 3,000 vineyard acres and assortment of
await your exploration here in the Southern Oregon appellation, and
plenty more are on the way.
Southern Oregon AVA
Wine Country Facts
Primary Grape Varietals