Applegate Wine Trail 3-Day Itinerary
Sunset magazine recently referred to Southern Oregon as the “undiscovered wine region of your dreams”.
With 18 wineries there are many options in planning a wine tasting itinerary and the Applegate Wine Trail can easily take several days to cover just the wineries with regular tasting room hours. Breaking it down by clusters is a fun way of do maximize drive-time and not go into sensory overload.
Day One: Start with the Applegate Road vineyards. First you want to head out on a lovely drive to be Cowhorn Vineyards – a bio-dynamic and certified organic vineyard and winery with superb blends. This is one you will be telling your friends about. On the way back in there is Valley View Winery – the grandfather of the local wineries.
Next you will come back through the little town of Ruch and head north on Highway 238. Devitt Winery is an
interesting stop. When you follow the signs onto the property you will feel that you’ve made a mistake and pulled into someone’s back yard. But keep looking and you will see the tasting rooms signs. The welcome may be slow in coming but the wine is well worth your time.
Then mosey on down the road to Red Lily where they have refined the whole tasting room/winery grounds experience. With several recent awards for their port and tempranillo this will make an excellent end to your first day. They also offer food options and in the warmer months you can enjoy your wine at the beach along the Applegate River.
Day Two: First thing, you are going to head out to the most distant wineries. But don’t worry, its only a 35 minutes drive. Plus there is a cluster of incredible wineries in close proximity.
You will start at Serra, a relative new-comer with some fantastic bold reds. Then it is on to Schmidt Family Vineyards (Craftsman style tasting room and beautiful gardens, love their Riesling and viognier) followed by Troon Vineyards. Known for their Vemantino and Zinfandel they also have wonderful gardens where you can linger or enjoy a game of bocce.
Your last stop is Wooldridge Creek where you can unwind while enjoying one of the most stunning views (and that is saying a lot for this area!). Most of these wineries also offer food options, so you can plan your day around which appeals most for lunch or nibbles.
Day Three: There is a winery that takes a concerted effort to get to, but where you will be well rewarded.
Plaisance Ranch is a former dairy farm which owners Suzy and Joe have made into a haven. The shade of the former milking sheds creates shade gallery with cooling breezes that are appreciated in our Southern Oregon summers. Joe brings a French sensibility to his wine making.
Break up the return drive with a stop at Pennington Farms – famous for the molasses cookies, berry tarts and pot pies. You might take in one of the lavender farms along your route. And if your are up to it, you might even want to check out the Applegate Lodge – featured on Gordon Ramsey’s Hotel Hell tv show.
On the way back into Jacksonville stop at Long Sword Winery just before the town of Ruch. (That is pronounced “roosh”, so you can sound more like a local.) This is a primary landing field for para-gliders coming off of Woodrat Mountain. Watching these dare devils can be surprisingly calming. It is also family owned and operated, just like nearly every winery in the valley.
In Ruch you will find the a surprising place to eat in the Honeysuckle Cafe. It’s nice to find a place that is vegetarian friendly and has such great all-around food. Better still is you get a true small-town experience with their super friendly service.
There are 18 (and growing) wineries in the valley, so for more information go to Applegate Trail Wineries. Twice a year, Applegate Wine Trail features an Uncorked event which give you a behind the scenes look and taste of what is up and coming! The Spring Uncorked is usually the Sunday before Mother’s Day and the Fall Uncorked is the Sunday before Thanksgiving.