Southern Oregon AVA

While over time the focus has been on smaller and smaller wine regions, in 2004 the TTB went completely the other way, creating a super-AVA in the form of the Southern Oregon AVA. This region consists of the Umpqua, Rogue and Applegate Valleys and Red Hill Douglas County, Oregon AVAs as well as additional territory linking the regions together. The idea for the super-sized AVA was that of H. Earl Jones of Abacela and his son, associate professor of geography, Gregory V. Jones of Southern Oregon University. (editor’s note: See? I am not the only person with a degree in geography!) They evidence cited to justify the designation includes historical, cultural, climatic, geologic and geographical justifications for the creation of the viticultural area.

Historically, the region has been a wine producing area since the 1850s with modern viticulture restarting in the 1950s. From a cultural perspective, they cite the “physical and cultural” divisions of the state of which Southern Oregon is an example. The region is located south of Eugene to the California border largely within the Umpqua, Rogue, Applegate, Illinois and Bear Creek Valleys. The petition indicates that the soils in the area, while varied are older than those in the Willamette to the north or the coastal zones to the west and contain fewer silts from ancient oceans and lakes. The temperatures in the area are on average the warmest in the state which allows for the cultivation of warmer climate grapes as well as allowing for select microclimates that are perfect for colder acclimated varietals. Additionally, the elevations in the region are higher than the surrounds areas and it receives less rainfall.

The appellations is home to over fifty (50) wineries and produces wines from varietals including:

  • Albarino
  • Bastardo
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Chardonnay
  • Dolcetto
  • Gewurztraminer
  • Grenache
  • Malbec
  • Merlot
  • Muscat Canelli
  • Petit Verdot
  • Petite Sirah
  • Pinot Blanc
  • Pinot gris
  • Pinot Noir
  • Riesling
  • Sangiovese
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Semillon
  • Syrah
  • Tempranillo
  • Viognier
  • Zinfandel





















Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

Rogue Valley AVA

The Rogue Valley viticultural area is located within Southern Oregon and is nestled among the foothills of the Siskiyou Mountain surrounding the Rogue river and its tributaries. Comprised of the river valleys of the Rogue River and its tributaries (the Illinois, Bear Creek and the Applegate) and at the convergence of three mountain ranges (the Klamath, the Coast Ranges and the Cascades) the soils are more variable than in some of the other Oregon appellations but are amongst the warmest and driest in the state.  This allows for the production of a wider variety of grapes including: Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Dolcetto, Gerwurztraminer, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion, Syrah, Tempranillo and Viognier.

Viticulture has a longer history in the Rogue Valley than in other parts of Oregon.  The earliest settlers into the are in the 1840s planted the first vineyards and by 1852 Peter Britt planted vines that became the state’s first winery in 1873.  The rebirth of the industry began in the late 1960s.
















Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor