The website into White wine Country Lane, at Travel Medford’s Heart of the Rogue Celebration, was a tall white archway beckoning, like a secret garden, to see what was beyond.
The blocked-off street was “open” for walking– tickets bought, stemless glasses in hand– among 17 wineries, a brewer, kombucha maker and chocolatier, all set to display samples of their best. On Friday evening, strings of lights lit the way.
At one point, a person with dreadlocks danced soulfully in the street. Groups of people lounged in locations developed by Rogue Picnics, sporting vibrant umbrellas and comfortable furniture nested beside the tall turfs. Excellent, live, regional music filled the air from the Pear Bloom Phase. People enjoyed.
Since it’s an alcohol venue, White wine Nation Lane was different from the main event, but still within a stone’s toss of all going on. Tucked behind a tall picket fence, it was an uncrowded place for relaxing, finding brand-new white wines or sampling favorites, along with purchasing a glass when you found something you wanted to taste once again. Bottles and extra tasting bands could be bought.
The occasion was produced by Rogue Valley Vintners/Rogue Valley Red Wine Country. Gina Bianco, executive director for the nonprofit, was thrilled when she informed me, “Being the first year, it was a tremendous success, specifically the Friday evening. With the twinkling lights, live music, it was comfortable, elite, inviting, and individuals liked hanging out.
“It’s what we had intended– special, not crowded– so individuals were able to try red wines, talk with the vintners, in addition to offer wineries more direct exposure. It was a separate location, but people might come and go to the food trucks, delight in the music and receive the elevated experience we wished to use.”
You’ve seen those Wine Nation license plates– they assisted fund the beginning of this organization, and it’s ongoing. Rogue Valley Vintners (RVV) is a not-for-profit rooted in red wine producers and growers, assisting in community partnership to promote tourism, local organizations and our excellent red wine region as a worldwide location. This group is all about putting Rogue Valley red wine lands on the global map, and they have been successful.
Red wine Country Lane also was a charity event. “We offered bottles of wine,” Bianco says, “Wineries brought in the white wine they were pouring, they were purchased wholesale by RVV and we then retailed it. So it ended up being a fundraiser for us, both through the ticket sales and the bottle sales.”
From a local point of view, they are concentrated on educating, supporting and promoting Rogue Valley white wines. Rogue Valley White Wine Nation is the consumer side of RVV. They use the Discovery White wine Club, which is a club showcasing the abundance and diversity of only Rogue Valley white wines.
Bianco describes, “Our white wine club is an excellent method to sample the valley’s white wines without needing to drive to all the wineries. A number of the red wines we put in the club are not available outside the wineries. It’s an extension of the idea to expose more individuals to our small-lot production wine and wineries and the variety of the 70-plus varietals grown here. There’s opportunity here to taste malbec from 5 various places because our microclimates are so extremely various, and after that each wine maker puts their own style on it.”
Put a reminder on your October 2023 calendar for next year’s celebrations. “For the very first year, we did actually well,” Bianco says, “We learned a lot, and next year we’ll make it even larger and much better!”
Reach Paula Bandy at [email protected] and get in touch with her on Instagram at @pbthroughthegrapevine