Where promise meets experience.
By Annelise Kelly
The Umpqua Valley’s patchwork of forested mountains, cool rivers and peaceful valleys makes it a dynamic place for winemaking — and wine tasting. From the Pinot noirs of the cool maritime north end to the Merlots and Tempranillos of the southern region, this area makes a wine for every palate. Sip your favorite varietal at a family-owned winery after a scenic riverside drive, fly-fishing the Umpqua or antiquing in small towns.
Nestled into the foothills of the Coast Range, the riverside hamlet of Elkton in the small-but-mighty Elkton AVA has three tasting rooms, all walkable in 15 minutes. River’s Edge Winery and Brandborg Vineyard and Winery put the town on the wine-lovers’ map with their svelte Pinot noirs. At Lexème, enjoy the outdoor patio with a glass of Pinot or Gamay made with Old World flair by its Swiss-trained winemaker.
Pop off Interstate 5 to explore Oakland, one of Oregon’s antiquing havens. On the National Register of Historic Places, its attractive downtown is graced with 19th-century brick buildings. Visit Triple Oak Vineyard’s Wine Vault tasting room, or browse over 200 bottles of local and global wines at The Secret Wine Society, where you can enjoy a glass in a charming former saloon built in 1895, graced with butter-scotch exposed-brick walls.
In the heart of Roseburg, find lush reds at two tasting rooms: Paul O’Brien Winery, housed in a repurposed car dealership, and Italian and Spanish varietals at Trella Vineyards. Check out the bottle selection at The Wine Destination, also offering small plates along with wine, beer and cider. Along the North Umpqua River, Cooper Ridge Vineyard’s tasting room offers views of the Umpqua Valley. Make your pilgrimage to HillCrest Vineyard, Oregon’s oldest estate winery and the birthplace of Oregon Pinot noir.
Nominate a designated driver and head south from Roseburg to visit more than two dozen wineries en route to Canyonville. Enjoy the region’s famed bottles made of warm-climate grapes like Tempranillo, Syrah, Albariño and Viognier.
Any visit to Elkton requires a stop at Tomaselli’s Pastry Mill and Cafe for handcrafted pastries and all-day dining (try the pizza), or Arlene’s Cafe and General Store for classic diner fare. In Roseburg, save room after gyros for a baklava cheesecake at Alexander’s Greek Cuisine. Other international spots include Ami Japanese Restaurant, El Dorado Mexican seafood and Dino’s Ristorante Italiano. The Parrott House, a converted Victorian mansion, offers fine dining, pizza and a bourbon bar, with an outdoor wooden pavilion hand-crafted of wood reclaimed from the Rainier Brewery. Other options include Backside Brewing Co. for pizza, pub fare and libations, as well as True Kitchen + Bar, Brix Grill and Blac-N-Bleu.
Counterbalance all the sips and eats with quality time outdoors. Hiking options abound, and the Umpqua River offers abundant rafting, kayaking and world-class fishing. Enjoy trails and rock climbing in the Callahan Mountains just west of Roseburg. Hit some balls at one of many courses such as the Roseburg Municipal Golf Course, or play a round of disc golf in Myrtle Creek or Oakland.
Rather relax? Enjoy river views on the Umpqua River Scenic Byway, a winding 66-mile drive from the valley to the sea through the Coast Range. Along the way, stop by the butterfly pavilion at the Elkton Community Education Center. The 30-acre site also has a re-created historic fort, extensive flower gardens, a native-plant park and nursery, and a summer-only cafe.
In Roseburg, stroll the Saturday Umpqua Valley Farmers’ Market or book a facial at La Bella Medique Spa. At Wildlife Safari, guests drive among free-roaming animals including giraffes, hippopotamuses, lions, yaks and more.
Where better for a wine enthusiast to stay than at a winery? Several host guests, including the Girardet Vineyards & Winery, Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards and Cooper Ridge Vineyard.
Enjoy a rural retreat at The Big K Guest Ranch in Elkton, where you can hunt, fish, hike and swim. Gamblers might try their luck while staying at Seven Feathers Casino Resort in Canyonville, owned by the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians. Headed to Crater Lake or just need a fishing getaway? The historic Steamboat Inn in the Umpqua National Forest provides luxe riverside rooms and farm-to-table dinners.
WINE TRAILS Umpqua Valley Wine Trail
With nearly 30 family-owned wineries just off Interstate 5, it’s easy to find your own secret hideaway for wine tasting in the Umpqua Valley. Discover unique experiences at the Knostman Family Winery in Roseburg, which overlooks the North Umpqua River, or at Freed Estate Winery in Winston, with influences inspired by the owners’ Hawaiian roots. Download the wine-trail map to see routes from Crater Lake National Park or the rugged Oregon coastline.
This article appears in the 2023-24 Oregon Wine Touring Guide. Order your free copy today.