My View – May 2013
It’s hard to imagine pioneer-vintner Peter Britt dreamed that Jacksonville would be considered the “heart of Southern Oregon wine country” 150 after he planted the first grapes here. In the early 1850’s, Britt did just that and test-planted five acres around his hillside home to 200 grape varietals, some sold as table grapes, others to produce wine. Forty years later, more than 100 acres in Jacksonville had been planted by more than a dozen growers. Had it not been for Prohibition destroying the wine industry in 1916, it is likely the region would have become world-famous for its wines rather than its pears!
Today, modern-day Jacksonville rests in the middle of 150 vineyards and tasting rooms that stretch from Roxy Ann peak in the East Medford hills to the Applegate Valley Wine Trail to the west. There are dozens more dotting the hillsides and slopes from Gold Hill to Ashland with more to come.
To help celebrate what Britt started, a host of wine-related headliner events await, including the Applegate UnCorked Barrel Tour on May 19 and Roam the Rogue on May 25. This month kicks-off high-season for our wine industry, now an economic driver for Southern Oregon that is changing the local landscape, both socially and economically. On that note, please read about a new winery consortium on page ____ – JOWA – the Jacksonville Oregon Winery Association, formed to promote six in-town tasting rooms.
Speaking of tasting rooms…the Review has moved its office to 220 E. California Street – the former home of the Umpqua Tasting Room, next door to the McCully House. Shortly after the owners of the UTR purchased the Gelateria building up the street and relocated the tasting room, we moved in and got to work bringing you all the news and happenings in Our Small Town with Big Atmoshere!