Eden Valley Orchards, located on Voorhies Road just off of South Stage Road near Highway 99, is home to the Rogue Valley’s original commercial orchard. The historic property is best known as the home of the stately Voorhies Mansion as well as EdenVale Winery and Tasting Room.
Today, the winery is highly regarded for producing exceptional wines, thanks to the efforts of winemaker Ashley Campanella, who’s racked up numerous prestigious awards in recent years. Last year, Campanella also began producing hard pear ciders, using estate-grown fruit from trees first planted on the grounds in 1885.
Along with EdenVale Winery co-owner Anne Root, Ashley watched as national interest in hard pear ciders picked-up, a trend that led to the creation of their modern-day “perry,” also called a “pear cider.” Like Campanella’s award-winning wines, her ciders also reflect the unique terroir of Eden Valley Orchards’ property.
Speaking about utilizing pears from trees that were planted more than 130 years ago, Ashley says, “Harvesting fruit from these trees for cider is pretty exciting…and as a winemaker, pears can be a challenge, but I have really come to enjoy the creative process.” Like the fine wines she crafts from vine to bottle, she adds, “Preserving the delicacy of pears from aroma and taste is a lot like to perfecting the fermentation of our white wines, such as Viognier.”
Ashley notes that one of the reasons Rogue Valley pears have been in such high demand for generations is the unique soil conditions found in the Rogue Valley that produce sweeter fruit. Again, like the grapes she uses for wine production, pears take on and reflect the distinct characteristics of the soil that are again reflected in the glass.
That reflection in the glass recently paid dividends at a prestigious competition, the Portland International Cider Cup, held this June. Here, Ashley took home a gold medal for her “Eden Valley Orchard Pear House Cider,” one of only eight gold medals awarded from over 165 entrants from the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia.
What makes the award even more remarkable is that this was her first vintage! Speaking like the seasoned winemaker she is, Ashley describes her award-winning perry as “crisp, dry and 100% organic. The fresh-pressed pears came straight from our historic orchards…I added no additional fruit juices or concentrates, just original estate fruit.” In addition to the Portland victory, her pear cider also received a Silver medal at the Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition, where more than 1200 ciders were submitted from around the world.