EXPLORE THE BEAR CREEK WINE TRAIL

January 30, 2020

Imagine soaking in a hot tub, glass of wine in hand, with views of a pinot noir vineyard just steps away. That’s entirely possible at the newly renovated Vineyard Cottage — a quaint but luxuriously cozy and peaceful place to stay while wine touring along the Bear Creek Wine Trail in Southern Oregon.

The cottage is part of Weisinger Family Winery, the oldest and southernmost of 13 wineries on the trail, which spans 21 miles from Central Point at the north to Ashland at the south. The trail follows the path of Bear Creek, the 29-mile stream that drains the Rogue River into the fertile valley below.

You can experience the Bear Creek Wine Trail in a comfortable span of a few days, or pop into just a few tasting rooms on your next road trip to Southern Oregon. It’s part of Oregon’s southernmost — and also warmest and driest — winegrowing region, the Rogue Valley AVA, known to produce award-winning wines from pinot noir to gewurztraminer, tempranillo, malbec, viognier and more.

“I was a kid when my dad planted the grapes in 1978; I remember then wondering if my future would have anything to do with them,” says Eric Weisinger, owner and winemaker of Weisinger Family Winery. Fast-forward to 1988, when the winery did its first crush, then became the first tasting room to open in Ashland a year later, in 1989. After his father retired, Weisinger took over the business and works on-site every day.

It’s typical to see owners and winemakers involved in daily operations in Southern Oregon tasting rooms, Weisinger says: “You have wonderful Southern hospitality. When we have guests, they get to know who we are.” Here’s how to tour the Bear Creek Wine Trail, starting from the southernmost point.

 

2019 Year In Review

I wanted to take a moment and thank our board and subcommittee members for their dedication and hard work this past year. I also want to thank our members and our partners for supporting RVV. As you might notice, we have a brandable logo now and the marketing committee is busy working with Holly developing marketing tools so as we progress into 2020 RVV can proudly and confidently roll out its first marketing plan.

The list of accomplishments and tasks completed for 2019 is to long to list here but a couple of highlights to mention are that Asante has completed their move to their new offices. Because of our partnership with the Asante Foundation this means that RVV now has a permanent meeting space and access to office space, telephone, and intern assistance. What all this means in the big picture is we now can begin to move forward with the process of hiring an Executive Director.

The Solidarity project is the other 2019 highlight that I want to update everyone on. All the Solidarity wines are sold out except for the Pinot Noir which is expected to sell out by year end. Once this happens RVV will receive the proceeds and while I don’t have a firm number to announce I can tell you that it will be a substantial sum. These funds will be a catalyst for grant funding and other opportunities for RVV allowing it to continue to expand its marketing and promotion of the Rogue Valley AVA bringing more benefit and opportunity to its members.

I wish you all a joyous holiday season,

Ross Allen

President, Rogue Valley Vintners

Mail Tribune Article: Time to Toast our Wines

Rogue Valley wine lovers have a lot to celebrate every time they pop open a local vintage.

Locally produced wines may compare in quality with some of the better known regions of the world, but they’re still largely unknown outside of Oregon.

That may be about to change with help from a $50,000 Travel Oregon grant to create a brand for this region.

“We’ve had this organic brand that has shaped around us,” said Ashley Cates, vice president of Rogue Valley Vintners, which formed last year. “We want to take it to the next level and show the world our world-class wine region.”

Read the article.

2018 Accomplishments

We are excited to share with you the huge milestones the Rogue Valley Vintners achieved in 2018. The establishment of the Rogue Valley Vintners (RVV) represents a transformational development for the wine industry in Southern Oregon. It is a tangible and substantial effort to align with the goals of our regional destination management organization, Travel Medford, Travel Southern Oregon, and the statewide agency, Travel Oregon.

While you may not have “seen” many of the actions of this new, non-profit organization, the group has been working feverishly behind the scenes, since its start in March of 2018, to organize, craft and implement a strategic plan that will be revealed later this year.

A few of our 2018 Accomplishments

  • March: Organization and board of directors established with exclusive focus on Rogue Valley AVA wine tourism promotion
  • June: Funding sources established.
    • Asante—20K, partial in kind as office space and office intern
    • Expected first year membership 40-60 growers and wineries at $1000 each
    • Travel Southern Oregon—20K, long term partner
    • Travel Medford—10K, long term partner
    • Travel Ashland—10K, long term partner
    • Travel Grants Pass—5K, long term partner
    • Chambers from Grants Pass, Medford and Ashland—all long term partners
  • July: Presented organizational marketing goals with Holly Macfee at the Inn at the Commons to the local community. Hired Expert Strategist Deborah Steinthal from Scion Advisors to complete strategic planning process -$18,000
  • Sept-Oct: Helped facilitate a state-wide survey with researchers from University of Oregon (UO) Institute for Policy Research and Engagement to measure characteristics and behavior of wine-region tourism in the Rogue Valley. This project, supported by the Oregon Wine Board and Travel Oregon, is generating a consumer survey to profile past and prospective visitors to the Rogue Valley. It will provide marketing strategies for targeted growth within wine-related tourism as well as consumer impressions of our region. Results will be shared in Spring of 2019.
  • November-December: In depth analysis of UofO, RVV and OWB survey conducted by Full Glass Research. Completed extensive strategic planning sessions with board, wineries and industry partners. RVV Strategic Planning member Barbara Steele added to the Oregon Wine Board Strategic Planning Committee. Draft strategic plan completed and programs to support the plan are under development.

2019 Goals

  • Gain regional and national exposure through a coordinated brand identity and marketing plan crafted by one of Oregon’s top tourism marketing agencies – Holly Macfee from Lookout
  • Finalize the strategic plan with input from our membership to determine the specific programs that RVV will launch in 2019
  • Increase visitors to the area tasting rooms and supporting businesses
  • Have a voice in the direction and future of the industry statewide
  • Strive for 100% participation among wineries. Unity among the Rogue Valley AVA wineries creates strength
  • Implement a 2019 RVV launch guided by a finalized strategic plan and an official call for membership to the community at large
  • Recruitment of talent to support strategic initiatives and programs
  • Identify the organizational needs and set goals for a world class executive director
  • Identify and apply for available Grants to support the RVV 2019-20 budget.
  • Presentation by the team at UofO of an in-depth look at the results of the statement tourism survey to RVV membership