Discovering adventure in and around Medford
By Rebecca Scott
A wonderland of wine, artisan food and outdoor recreation awaits travelers who visit Medford. Affectionately known as the “Heart of the Rogue,” the city remains a viticultural oasis and a launch pad into extraordinary adventure.
Wine Country for Miles
A wine lover’s dream, Rogue Valley Wine Country is recognized around the world for its boutique, award-winning wines. In addition, Medford was recently named one of two wine capitals in Oregon by Northwest Travel & Life Magazine.
Some 70 miles wide by 60 miles long, the state’s southernmost appellation contains three river valleys: Bear Creek, Applegate and Illinois. For wine tourists, four distinct tasting trails — Upper Rogue, Bear Creek, Jacksonville and Applegate — make for easy navigation.
Like looking through a kaleidoscope, each route showcases a different facet of the area’s beauty and character. Featuring 53 tasting rooms and 88 vineyards — planted to 5,800 acres of vines — Medford and the Rogue Valley guarantee a unique, carefree wine country experience, with something for everyone.
There’s seemingly no limit to the Valley’s wine possibilities, owing to the great diversity of some 70 varieties in Southern Oregon. Wild and courageous reds, sophisticated whites and sparkly rosés reveal the “rogue” in Rogue Valley. Every wine has its own personality, each capturing time and place in the bottle.
Artisan Food to Pair
Nothing pairs better with Rogue Valley wine than local, farm-to-table food, including cheese. The most classic of wine pairings, cheese is serious business down here and a great source of pride, too.
In 2019, Rogue Creamery’s Rogue River Blue was named “World’s Best Cheese” at the World Cheese Awards in Bergamo, Italy. Judges from around the globe tasted 3,800 of the planet’s most distinguished cheeses and chose Rogue River Blue as the world champion, the first time an American-made cheese received this top honor. A cornerstone of the Rogue Valley for more than 85 years, The Rogue Creamery draws from the natural resources of Southern Oregon to create its award-winning flavor.
Beyond cheese, the Rogue Valley boasts many fine restaurants and hosts numerous farmers markets. With local fruits, vegetables, jams, breads and sweets, it is no surprise the Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market was included in the “Top 10 Farmers Markets in the Nation” by CNN. Rogue Valley farmers have provided locals with the bounty of the land for decades, and visitors can share in that abundance during their wine vacations.
Adventure on the Side
Besides experiencing Rogue Valley’s award-winning wines, tourists can dive into a wild outdoor adventure. With 200 days of sunshine a year, the region is bright with heart-pumping possibilities.
The jewel of Southern Oregon and one of Oregon’s greatest wonders, Crater Lake stands about 60 miles north of Medford. A simple day trip or overnight getaway, the National Park can enhance any wine country experience with awe-inspiring natural wonder. Enjoy the scenic drive up Highway 62, stopping at waterfall pullouts, Union Creek and the Rogue River’s Natural Bridge.
Rafting the Rogue River is another must-do. A protected scenic treasure, the Rogue River has an interesting past, exciting present and promises an untamed, wild time.
Warm and welcoming, Rogue Valley Wine Country invites tourists to relax with a bottle of their favorite wine, while making plans to experience the region’s treasures: food, outdoor fun and much more.
For more details on visiting Medford and the Rogue Valley, go to www.travelmedford.org, and for details about wine tasting in the Rogue Valley, visit www.roguevalleywinecountry.com.