As I write this it is the second day of my trip and I am in my hotel room in Eugene Oregon. I am already writing my first reviews and editing the pictures and videos but I won’t begin posting them until I return home to the San Francisco Bay Area next week.
My first exploration of the Oregon wine country was in December, 2011. It was my first time to the state and I as I drove through Southern Oregon I was immediately in awe of the beauty of the forest covered mountains and the flowing streams. I was equally impressed with the wines of Southern Oregon. I knew then I wanted to return in 2012. Having been to every American Viticulture Area (AVA) in California and every wine country I was eager for a return up north.
However, it rains 8 months out of the year in this green state. Throughout the year I looked for an opportunity to come up for a three-day weekend (Memorial Day for example) only to be foiled by another forecast of rain. So I had to wait until the first week of July for a week of clear blue skies and warm weather. With Independence Day in the middle of the week and my birthday at the end it was the perfect time to return to Oregon.
Southern Oregon is a 6 ½ hour drive from my home in the San Francisco Bay Area. But just before exiting California I pass by and around Mt. Shasta which remains covered in snow year round. Exploring the wine country isn’t just about tasting great wines, it is about enjoying the view along the way.
Southern Oregon stems from Eugene to the California border. There are four sub-AVAs in Southern Oregon (Umpqua, Rogue Valley, Applegate and Illinois AVAs). The Willamette Valley stems from Eugene up to Portland Oregon and it contains 6 sub-AVAs including Chehelem Mountains AVA, Dundee Hills AVA, Ribbon Ridge AVA, Eola-Amity Hills AVA, McMinnville AVA, Ribbon Ridge AVA, and the Yamhill-Carlton District AVA.
Having been to the Umpqua and the Rogue Valley during my first trip I planned to visit the Applegate AVA on my first day, then the Southern Willamette Valley surrounding Eugene for two days and then head further north to the Northern Willamette Valley the for final two days of my trip.
I visited three wineries in the Applegate AVA on Tuesday and only one during my first day in Eugene. Being the 4th of July and a national holiday (Independence Day) some wineries were closed and others closed early. So I only visited King Estate Winery, but it was absolutely spectacular. I’ll post the review, video and pictures next week so stay tuned!