Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wooldridge Creek Vineyards and Winery - Grants Pass, Oregon

My third and final stop of the first day of my tour of the Applegate Wine Trail was at Wooldridge Creek Winery. While the previous wineries were located on the valley floor, Wooldridge is located on a rolling hillside overlooking the Applegate River Valley at an elevation of about 1,800 feet. 

The winery and vineyard was founded by Ted and Mary Warrick in 1978. They named it after the creek that runs through the valley, which is named after the Wooldridge family who first settled the property in the 1850s. Since then the vineyard has been expanded to 56 acres planted in twelve varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Viognier, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Tempranillo. The vines are densely planted at 1200 vines per acre, running north to south to allow for maximum exposure to the sun. All the vineyards are planted on Josephine soil, a soil type known for its excellent drainage.

In 2002, Ted and Mary met winemakers Greg Paneitz and Kara Olmo, who were in the area looking for an ideal place to put their winemaking skills to good use. Until then, grapes from Wooldridge Creek Vineyard had been sold almost entirely to wineries around the state, with only a small amount being made into custom wine under the Wooldridge Creek label. Once they met together they saw an opportunity to combine the Warricks’ fruit with Greg and Kara’s winemaking skills and they partnered to create Wooldridge Creek Winery.

Wooldridge Creek Winery is committed to practicing sustainable winemaking. This includes the grapes from the 200-acre vineyard which are organically grown and their wines carry the seal of LIVE (Low Input Viticulture and Enology), TerraVow, Salmon-Safe and Oregon Certified Sustainable Wine. Wooldridge Creek produces about 2,500 cases a year of wine, both varietals and blends, many of which are available only at the winery.

At the winery visitors can view the wine production area, view the barrel room in the man-made wine cave and taste the wines in the tasting room. They can also sit out on the patio or lawn that overlooks a beautiful flower garden, the vineyards and the valley below.

While visiting I sampled the following wines:

My first wine was the 2011 Viognier. This wine has very floral aromas followed by pronounced orange peels and tropical pineapple notes. On the palate it is off dry and yet maintains balanced acidity followed by a medium (+) length finish. $24

The second wine was the 2011 Rosé of Tempranillo, Applegate Valley. This wine has subtle aromas of strawberries, dried cranberries, and a hint of spice. On the palate it is fresh and vibrant with a medium (+) length finish. A really nice summer wine for $18 a bottle.

The third wine was the 2009 Syrah, which is blended with 2% Viognier. On the nose it has fresh red and black berry notes with subtle underlying floral notes. On the palate the wine is dry with intense blackberries, blueberries, medium tannins, medium acidity, and medium (+) length. This wine sells for $36 a bottle.

The final wine was the 2008 Reserve Pinot Noir. This wine has aromas of black cherries, ripe red plums, black tea and a hint of oak and spice. On the palate it is dry, with medium acidity, medium (+) length finish. This wine sells for $36 a bottle.

To visit or for more information:

Woodlrige Creek Vineyards and Winery
818 Slagle Creek Rd
Grants Pass, Oregon 97527
Phone: 1-541-846-6364

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