White Water and 70-Plus Wine Varietals Await in These Beautiful River Valleys

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by DANIELLE CENTONI

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Wines from A to Z thrive in southern Oregon

In southern oregon, it’s entirely possible to sip your wine-tasting flight with your feet in a river. It’s also possible to go both antiquing and jet-boating before you’re even hungry for lunch. And it’s also possible to sum up this ruggedly beautiful wine-growing region in just one word: diverse.

While the Willamette Valley excels at cool-weather varietals like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling, the Southern Oregon AVA is the state’s vinous overachiever, growing all that and just about everything else. More than 70 varietals thrive here in the southwest corner of the state, from Albariño to Zinfandel, thanks to the diverse range of geography, topology and climate zones in the Umpqua and Rogue river valleys, where most of the grapes are grown. In fact, there are about as many wineries as there are microclimates—55 to be exact—and this wide range of wine styles is matched by the area’s many attractions.

To get a taste of it all in one loop, steer yourself over to the Applegate Valley Wine Trail, a scenic 35-mile drive along Oregon Route 238. Start at the charming Old West town of Jacksonville and tuck into a belly-filling breakfast at the friendly Mustard Seed Cafe. Afterward, walk it off by shopping in the boutiques along the main drag. At the far end of that street, which is just a few blocks long, you’ll find stairs leading up to Britt Gardens, home to the lauded Britt Music & Arts Festival outdoor concert series held each summer, as well as a jumping-off point for the Jacksonville Woodlands Association’s network of hiking and biking trails. 

Read the full story in Seattle Magazine >