Contrary to what you may have heard and to its nickname (Grass Pants), not all rural areas surrounding Grants Pass are secret weed-growing enclaves. Take for instance, the Applegate Valley, a beautiful stretch of vistas and vines that runs from GP to quaint Jacksonville (Oregon, NOT Florida), forming a lesser-known but world class wine region populated by nearly 20 vineyards. Here are a few of the best spots for sipping away a Saturday afternoon.
One of the oldest wineries in Oregon, this pleasant light-filled tasting room is open daily and you can sip the lineup for just $5. Lots of Bordeaux varieties, lovely people, beautiful views.
This posh winery is a great place to take out-of-towners and Applegate Valley Wine Trail newbies, and it's open daily year-round. Love the fire pit complete with S'mores ingredients in the winter. A few bottles of Holiday Cheer is a must for the, well, holidays.
Taste big reds in a big red barn at this charming stop along the Applegate Wine Trail. The owners also run an affordable B&B, you can see details on the website.
Simple, no frills setting, superb wines, gorgeous scenery, and an interesting lesson in the nuances of biodynamic wine making. Open Tu-Sunday, tasting is $5.
Located on a beautiful piece of property tucked way back into the Applegate Valley, this winery lets you taste a couple pours for free, and the whole lineup for $10. The tasting room is small but cozy in the winter, and the peaceful patio is perfect for outdoor sipping in the summer.
Anything but, Fiasco Winery is a good tasting time, with dirt floors and staff dressed like Italian gondola drivers, so plan on hanging out for a while. Live music and dinner served Fridays in the summer.
One of our regular wine tour stops, this beautiful winery has a great $6 tasting, a spot to play checkers in front of the warm hearth, stunning grounds that are ideal for summer picnics, and they serve pizzas and antipasti on the weekends. Love the Cal's Folly blend!
There's always something interesting going on at this tasting room, be it sheep blocking the front door or hand gliders landing in the back yard. Get a bottle of the Pilot's Syrah, sit out on the patio overlooking the valley, kick back, and wait for something to happen.
Open by appointment and for special events like spring and fall's Uncorked, this humble winery, with its wonderfully eccentric owners and rich reds, are a must stop on your tour de Applegate.
Exclusively producing "Right Bank Bordeaux," this modest Applegate Valley winery is open for tasting on weekends in late spring/summer, and by appointment. Great Cabernet Franc!
Make this scenic winery a stop on your tour de Applegate, because they've got a lot going on--a big beautiful tasting room ($5 fee), expansive grounds for picnicking or stumbling around, and since they're right on the Applegate River, they've got a little beach with tables set up, where you're welcome to take your bottle and sip away the afternoon.
It's a bit of a drive to get to this winery and working cattle ranch, but it's well worth it for owner Joe Ginet's full tour and tasting. Ask about the signature Rouge Prestige wine's unique history, and don't leave without something meaty from the freezer--last time we visited, we picked up an amazing trip tip. The monthly Wine Downs are great fun, too.